Hello! My name is Stef, and I’m characterised by large glasses and anxious-looking eyebrows – they just happen to grow that way. My older brother and I were born to parents who met in what was Hong Kong’s longest-running live music bar, The Wanch. We were born in Hong Kong and lived there for our first handful of years until SARS arrived in 2003. This prompted Mum to return to New Zealand with us, where we grew up in Auckland with our stepdad. As a family, we’re kind of scattered everywhere: some of us are here in NZ, Dad’s in Hong Kong, and we have five half-siblings who are dotted across the UK and Thailand.
I moved down to Wellington to study at Victoria University in 2017, and following an indecisive string of changes in majors and minors, I ended up happily graduating with a BA in Media Studies. An advertisement on Student Job Search prompted me to apply for a communications role at Nisa - learning about the team’s active inclusivity struck a chord with me, having had a tiny glimpse into the social and cultural difficulties that can arise when settling into a new place. This application led to two remarkably comfortable interviews hosted by Emily and Elisha, and at the end of April, I began working at Nisa part-time while pursuing a BA with Honours.
My role predominantly consists of providing in-store and online customer service as well as keeping our followers up to date on social media. My morning usually begins by responding to emails that have arrived over the course of the previous evening or weekend. For the most part, these are questions about our sizes, styles, and fabric as well as the occasional lovely words of encouragement and affirmation.
Once my inbox is clear, I then wander around the workshop (thankfully less and less aimlessly) on the hunt for content to post on our Instagram story. I’m eternally grateful for our team who are not only super photogenic but incredibly patient with my paparazzi-esque hovering and phone-in-the-face camera work. The aim of our stories is to keep each and every one of our followers up to date with our workshop antics, to maintain transparency that we pride ourselves on. Something that surprised me when I first started this role was the level of engagement that customers have with our values. The curiosity and excitement that I interacted with and continue to interact with on a day-to-day basis, both in-store and online, constantly reminds me of the importance of being able to provide answers, to nurture the trust that we have in one another.
The environment at Nisa is starkly different from other places I’ve worked. There’s a sense of genuine comfortability, and even in times of stress, we’re on the same team. Our workshop has a closeness because our differences are not only accepted but celebrated.
Over the last few months, I’ve been able to dip my toes into the marketing side which has been both exciting and daunting. The trust that our team has demonstrated in my ability wasn’t something that I expected, especially so early on, but this trust has planted a little seed of self-assurance that I want to continue to grow. When I think of my future, there aren’t many direct specificities but a few broad, fundamental hopes - anyone surprised that this is coming from a BA graduate? My hopes are to work with nice people in a good environment, to keep learning, and to contribute to a mission that I find engaging.