We talk to Elisha Watson, founder of social enterprise Nisa, about Nisa’s growth from online to an established store in Wellington. Nisa’s mission is to employ and empower women from refugee backgrounds.
As the Nisa brand has grown, so has its team. In the beginning, Watson says a group of three worked from a small office building on Kent Terrace, with a generous landlord allowing them to pay a nominal amount of rent. They sold online and did pop-ups from time to time. Now, the team has doubled in size, and in January of this year, Nisa moved into their new workshop and retail space at 99 Willis Street.
In the beginning, Nisa’s pop-ups were crazily successful. Customers loved coming in, chatting to the team, and seeing and feeling the underwear in person. Watson says these pop-ups were a lot of work to set-up when they were only in action for a week or so. This had her thinking, could Nisa manage a permanent store?
The store at 99 Willis showcases both the workshop and store to the public. Watson explains there is value in Nisa customers meeting the makers and seeing the production of garments; there is love and effort that goes into each piece.
Watson says that shoppers first come to Nisa because Nisa’s mission moves them, but they come back time and time again because they love the products. Her advice to other retailers is to focus on the entire customer experience and go beyond the products to offer a service. She notes that by making a memorable experience, more people will want to talk about a store with their friends which helps.
As well as women’s underwear, Nisa now sells socks, swimwear and men’s underwear. Nisa is also planning sleepwear and activewear ranges within the next year - watch this space.