To prepare for our month-long installation at David Jones’s Sydney flagship this month, we sent brand manager Emily Partridge across the ditch to do some elbow bumping and undie-smoothing before launch. Here’s her account of how the launch event went:
If I were to describe my state of being on Thursday 6 July in a sentence, it would be ‘fish out of water’. Born and raised in Dunedin, the Sydney CBD felt pretty overwhelming, especially considering that the city's population was greater than that of our entire country’s. After months of planning and packaging, we would finally launch in David Jones’s largest Sydney location amongst some incredible Kiwi brands (BLUNT, Yu Mei, Swandrii and Standard Issue to name a few). While most of the brands were already available in David Jones’ stores and online, it was our first time. This meant a lot of spreadsheeting and barcoding behind the scenes, as well as the delivery of 274 pieces of underwear by hand/suitcase to the doorstep of the David Jones office; at Nisa, we like to keep things personal and practical.
The agenda for the day was meetings, the launch event, and a dinner with the New Zealand trade delegation at Sydney’s museum of Contemporary Arts. I caught up with Emily from Duffle&Co (does this make us Emily²?) in the morning where we chatted business and the most important matter at hand: what to wear. We didn’t know which of the brands were going to have representatives in attendance, but we knew that some designers would be pulling out all the stops. I ended up settling on my favourite dress with a ‘casual’ skivvy for day and a ‘formal’ skivvy underneath for night.
We arrived at David Jones and it was very different to what I saw last week. They had set up four giant window displays featuring the design edit, which we gleefully took photos in front of:
Emily Long and Danny Pritchard, COO and Founder of Duffle&Co respectively.
We headed up to the 8th floor for the launch, and it was packed with representatives from the trade delegation and the brands that were part of the activation. We got herded into the main area and I saw a glimpse of a lady in pink surrounded by approximately four TV cameras - I guessed Jacinda and was correct! We heard some fantastic speeches from the CFO of David Jones, Jacinda, an acknowledgement of aboriginal country, and some incredible kapa haka and waiata:
The whole exhibition was decorated to resemble a New Zealand landscape, with moss structures growing up the walls and an earthy colour palette. The Nisa installation was next to a fantastic Kiwi maternity brand, Hotmilk.
We mixed and mingled, and I eventually plucked up the courage to ask the Prime Minister for a photo. After I told her I was from Nisa, she had so many wonderful things to say: she remembered that we sent her a Jacinda nursing bra just before she gave birth, and that she was so excited for the Luxe range to come out (she’s on our mailing list!). Totally starstruck, I put on my best impression of a chipmunk and grinned ear to ear for our picture.
After the event, we had a bit of downtime before the trade delegation dinner - perfect for me to slip into my more formal knitwear. As anyone from Dunedin would, I vastly underestimated the volume of traffic in the Sydney CBD so was 15 minutes late when I arrived at the museum. Unfortunately, fate was not on my side, and I arrived at a locked entrance. I banded together with a reporter from Vogue and a straggling member from the delegation, and we scuttled to two more entrances in the rain before we finally found the right door.
Once there, we were treated to a three course meal from incredible Māori New Zealand chef, Amber Doig. We also got to watch a fashion show featuring many brands from the David Jones activation, and we heard from Jacinda again. By the time everything was wrapped up and I had taken the 40 minute train ride back to my accommodation, it was past midnight. What a day! I’m really hopeful that Aussies love the Nisa mission just as much as we do over here, and that we can take the Nisa name across borders!