Nisa's story

Nisa was founded in 2017 to create employment opportunities to women from refugee and migrant backgrounds. Nisa means 'women' in Arabic, a celebration of the talented people behind our garments.

It started as a small workshop on Kent Terrace in Wellington, with a team of four making women's underwear.
Nisa was founded by Elisha Watson, who quit her job as a lawyer to create a business that could provide employment opportunities. She was inspired to do this while volunteering at the Community Law Centre and Red Cross, where new arrivals to Aotearoa expressed difficulty in finding employment.

Up until July 2023, Nisa had provided employment to 29 women from refugee and migrant backgrounds, and expanded its offering to include men's briefs, swimwear, activewear, loungewear and socks.

In December 2022, Elisha put Nisa up for sale and in June, they announced they were closing.
In the final 5 weeks of business, it became really clear that Nisa's loyal customers valued the products that Nisa's staff made in their Wellington workshop.

This response inspired Production Manager Pam Lowe to make a last-ditch effort to save Nisa; the jobs Nisa provides; and to keep making the clothing you love into the future.

Together with other members of the Nisa team, a new plan emerged, and a hugely successful PledgeMe campaign launched. After funding their campaign goal in the first 24 hours, they ended the campaign with double the original goal. This made it possible for Nisa to re-start, re-stock and begin to create new employment opportunities to women from refugee and migrant backgrounds.

They are passionate about creating planet-conscious, quality garments that empower both the wearer and the maker.
Nisa's milestones

Follow along with some of our special moments over the years.

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