Fine jewellery designer Sophie Keegan Baum is one of those effortlessly stylish women with a knack for putting together fabulous outfits. Case in point: today’s chic ensemble. Straw hat, Goyard bag, white flares and a Missoni striped knit polo shirt...
A busy mother of three energetic boys, Baum was born in London and later moved to Sydney with her parents. She now lives in Germany with her husband Tino and their three boys (Max, Casper and Alfie). The family is currently spending a few months in Sydney before they head back to their home in Hamburg later this year.
Baum was always going to be a jewellery designer. She studied as a goldsmith and gemologist and ended up working with Chaumet in the Place Vendôme, Paris. Back in London, Baum opened a boutique in London’s Notting Hill and also designed a special piece for Hermès and collaborated with Asprey on an exclusive line. Her timeless diamond-set ‘Letter Pendants’ are now available to purchase online (each letter arrives in a handmade royal blue leather box).
We spent the morning with the stylish designer to talk raising boys, jewels and spending time by the sea…
What do you do when you wake up?
On weekdays, it’s always an early start to get my three boys ready for school and out the door! Once that’s done I’ll try to do at least half an hour of something for myself. A swim at the beach, yoga or a short run. Then I can start the day with a clear mind.
What is the best advice you’ve been given about motherhood?
Try to appreciate the time you have with your children at all the different stages of their lives, and be adaptable to their changing needs. As time goes so quickly that we need to enjoy the special moments.
What’s your approach to raising three boys?
Bringing up three boys is tough! With my husband included, it’s four boys in the house! Being a boy mum you need a lot of power and energy. I try to have girl time often to recharge, so when I go back to them it’s with a big smile.
What has been the most memorable stage of motherhood for you?
When my first two boys Max and Casper were small they were like twins, only born 15 months apart. It was very busy time, I loved being a full time mum then though and have very happy memories of this time. Alfie came four and a half years later as a surprise. I had returned to my jewellery design, so it felt different. I was so incredibly happy to revisit that beautiful newborn stage. I really indulged in it. Motherhood is the best gift I could have ever been given.
Can you tell us about your childhood?
I was born in London and later moved to Sydney with my parents when I was five. I loved being a child, we travelled often as my father is English and worked a lot overseas. It has given me lots of inspiration in my life. I think seeing different cultures at a young age was wonderful, it left huge impressions on me.
Sophie wearing a Sophie Keegan ‘S’ Letter Pendant
Can you tell us about your career path and how you came to launch Sophie Keegan jewellery?
My love of design started at a very early age with art and design. I went to art classes every weekend and in the school holidays my mother always sent me off to art schools. Later at school, I was able to take up jewellery making and ceramics as a subjects which I really enjoyed. I also helped out making the theatre sets for the school plays, which I really loved too. I have always had a love for decorative objects of any kind. After my jewellery training at Enmore in Sydney, I went to Paris and there my career path became decided. I worked in the oldest Jewellery house in France, Chaumet and saw so many beautiful things, there was no turning back.
If you weren’t a jewellery designer, what would you be?
I would have probably done costume, interior design or furniture design. Anything decorative. I love every aspect of creating something. I am inspired by a lot of mediums of art /design. I have a studio in Hamburg where I actually go just to work on my creative ideas, I paint or do collage. I love to do things with my hands.
Can you tell us about the process behind each piece of jewellery?
A piece of jewellery goes through quite a few stages before it comes to life. First the idea then sketches. Then pinpointing how it will be made, out of what metal, finding the stones (which can take time). Crafting the piece by hand and then setting the stones is the last step. It’s not a fast process.
How would you describe life in Germany? How does it differ to Australia?
Life in Germany is easy as everything is so organised! Australia is so beautiful as a country and the people so friendly and relaxed, I miss that a lot. Life in Europe has other advantages such as being able to travel a lot more easily and spontaneously. In a one hour you can be in another country. Being half English, half Australian, I have the best of both worlds, so I am very lucky. Australia will always be a part of our lives.
What inspired the decision to spend half the year in Australia?
My husband has opened an Australian branch of his yachting insurance company, Pantaenius here in Sydney. Being my hometown, it was a wonderful opportunity for me to spend more time with my family, I left Australia for London and Paris 20 years ago. I love the easygoing life in Sydney, combined with great innovation and creativity. And of course the weather!
Do you think you’re born creative or it’s something you learn?
I think you’re born creative, it’s not really something you can learn. All creative people know that it is something which comes from within. I think though you can become more creative all the time and there is always time to learn and see new things. I’m being constantly inspired by things going on around me.
What’s your favourite social media platform?
Instagram. My son is trying to teach me to use Snapchat but I think it’s just not going to happen.
What is your approach to health and wellbeing?
Well I love to exercise outdoors the most… swimming, hiking, walking. I have never really been a gym type. I do yoga at home in the mornings, just a 20 minute routine. I try to listen to what my body needs and when.
What was the last meal you ate?
Scrambled eggs and thin extra toasted bread with avocado on the side.
How to you treat yourself?
I love to treat myself by having a facial, relaxing treatments for my body. However I love to shop for relaxation as well!
What is your definition of success?
Being happy with my choices and finding people to appreciate what I am creating is the biggest pleasure for me. I want to make people happy.
What did your own mother teach you about life and motherhood?
My mother taught me in life, to be yourself, and to be kind to one another. A lot of my practical motherhood experiences I had to discover on my own as my mum has always been on the other side of the world from me. Whenever she is around though she has always been very hands on.