Nisa is Arabic for woman. It's fitting for the newly-conceived underwear brand. Nisa creates beautiful Wellington-made organic cotton underwear, sewn with heart by three women from refugee backgrounds in the Nisa studio on Kent Terrace. Nisa makes the feeling of buying new underwear that much better — by creating them with love and ethical consideration. It's women supporting women.
The brand has just launched a PledgeMe campaign — it needs to buy two more industrial sewing machines to ramp up production and launch its online store in early 2018. As of Monday afternoon, two days after the launch, the campaign had raised a mindblowing $10,800 0f its $10K goal. You can keep donating to the Nisa Pledge Me campaign until December 4.
Elisha Watson created Nisa — she's an ex-litigation lawyer and keen sewer, turned small business owner. She came upon the idea to start a social enterprise during two years of volunteering with refugee resettlement programs in Wellington. Elisha quit her job at Bell Gully to create more jobs for the women she helped resettle. Often these women were held back by language and cultural barriers when it came to looking for jobs in their new home country. They were keen to work, using skills learnt in their home countries, but with limited job availability for them, she was motivated to do something herself. She says that she's going to put the extra money from Nisa's Pledge Me campaign toward more staff training, research and development for new lines and bralette development.
The undies are made from soft, organic cotton and locally-woven elastics. Four styles of briefs and matching bralettes suit all women — no matter their shape, size or lifestyle.
"Kiwis need to do the best to help refugees not just to resettle, but to thrive," she says. It's the mission of Nisa. Changing these women's lives, one derriere at a time.
Elisha currently employs three women from refugee backgrounds: Boshra from Syria, Rana from Baghdad and Fowziya from Somalia. The women are currently paid slightly below the living wage but Elisha hopes to change this soon. Once Nisha is established, she wants to hand the company over to the women who work there — supporting them as they learn to thrive in their new community.