A recovering perfectionist: Emily's journey

woman on bed wearing a nisa organic cotton lydia print t-shirt

Emily is our latest Print collection model, shooting this year's range from her apartment during lockdown. Normally, she's working on the office side of the workshop in our marketing team.

My journey to Nisa was a bit of a spontaneous one. I’m Dunedin born and bred, and moved to Wellington in 2019 to continue my studies. Health troubles meant that I couldn’t study full time, so I was looking to volunteer in my spare time. As soon as a friend recommended Nisa to me,  I knew it was the place I wanted to be - within 20 minutes I’d found the workshop and pitched to Elisha, within three days I’d become a workshop volunteer, and within six months I was offered a job as Nisa’s first Digital Marketer. At this stage, I barely knew the right way to hold a computer mouse, so learning the back-end of Facebook and Google Ads was a whole new world.

Fast forward to New Zealand’s first COVID-19 lockdown last year. I was supposed to be moving into a new flat later that week but suddenly needed to relocate within the next 24 hours. Elisha didn’t have space for all of our stock at her place, so I was to be in charge of dispatch until the workshop re-opened. We shrieked in dismay as we packed hundreds of pairs of underwear into every bag we could find, working late into the evening while blasting Fiona Apple. 

Since then, my job has changed a lot. I come up with the initial designs for new ranges, plan marketing campaigns and photoshoots, and develop the Nisa brand. This spans from picking wedgies out of models' buttcracks during shoots, to getting to write about the stories of amazing members of the Nisa community (like Mike, one of our models). I want to use the opportunities I have been given to make a positive impact in the lives of others.

woman in the nisa workshop working at a table


In high school, I was obsessed with perfection and being the best at anything I applied myself to. Since I was 13 I would cry with nervousness before every school exam, and look at any grades below 90% that I received with disdain. It wasn’t healthy or sustainable. A few years into university, I lost the drive for it. If your life’s focus is on yourself, then you’ll never really feel satisfied. All you end up with is a piece of paper, be it a degree or a CV. Nisa has become my greatest passion, and I can’t imagine a better way to spend the day than hanging with the team and sharing the beautiful work that they do with the world. 

I still get stressed at work; I put a lot of pressure on myself to deliver perfection, and constantly push myself to my limits to do more. I think that’s always going to be a trait of mine - just like my dad - but having such an amazing team beside me really helps put things into perspective. 

I don’t really have a clear plan for where I want to see myself in five years, but I know what I want for Nisa. I want Nisa to become a huge community that welcomes all with open arms, and I want us to be a household name. I want an entire wall of the workshop to be covered with portraits of the women who have worked here. I want to have a book full of stories about the people here who have done such incredible things, and who have made my life so much more colourful.

You can shop our Print range here. Emily can confirm it's the cosiest stuff out there!

1 comment

  • Julie Grace Clifton on

    Well written Emily; thank you. I love your enthusiasm, and vision for Nisa. You’re right; a life focused only on oneself runs out of steam. All best, rock on with Fiona Apple! Julie Grace

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