Nii HAi is one of the brands whose philosophy spoke to us, with a range of clothing designed to inspire confidence and empowerment in those who wear it. We love everything the brand stands for and are super excited to have it both in-store and online at ISLA!
We wanted to delve a little deeper into how the brand was born so recently chatted with it's creator, Rosie, to find out more...
Tell us about the history of the Nii HAi; when did it begin and what made you decide to create your own label….?
Thinking back now, since I was a kid I have been making clothes and trying to sell them so it has definitely always been something I was interested in. Whilst I was studying law at university I realised that I wasn’t very good at being told by others what to do. I knew then that I was going to be my own boss and I told everyone that I was going to build an empire (lol). As soon as I finished university, I moved to London with my friend with the plan of starting a clothing brand. If I have an idea, I don’t wait around and want to get it moving. Nii HAi started on a very small scale. I was waitressing and using the money from this to buy the first few bits we ever released. My friend Jessica, who started the brand with me, and I worked so hard on this project to be able to launch. Everything, from the shoots to the packaging was done with so much love and excitement.
There was never really a day when I had a lightbulb moment when I decided to start Nii HAi - it really evolved as an idea that me and Jess had whilst we were in Paris one year, and gradually I just became more and more set on it being what I wanted to do. For me, it is the perfect combination of creativity and of working and learning about the back end of the business (strategies, finances etc…) which I love; it’s difficult to meet anyone that gets as excited about a spreadsheet as I do.
We love your drive and ambition! You were clearly very focused on what you wanted and stopped at nothing to make it happen which is amazing. What was your main source of inspiration behind Nii HAI? What would you say is the brand philosophy?
The brand philosophy is “stick to your guns” which is basically saying trust your gut, do what YOU want to do and think is best. Nii HAi makes clothes that I want to wear. Both in the clothes we make and as a business, I am inspired by so many different things. I do like the idea of each collection having a concept and a story behind it - like the birthday suit we recently created. I also am really inspired by other female entrepreneurs like Charissa, the owner of ISLA, and brand owners such as Danielle Guizio (creator of GUIZIO) and Natalia Maczek (founder of MISBHV). I have spent a lot of time researching their business models and how they started their brands to help me improve Nii HAi in every way possible.
When it comes to the actual design of the clothes, I usually have a lightbulb moment where I have an idea and then I get super excited and spend hours researching shapes, colours, photos etc….
We love and admire the amazing women you feature both on Nii HAi’s website and over on your Instagram; how do you go about finding and selecting girls to represent your brand and what it stands for? Do you have a particular look or mindset you are searching for when choosing someone to showcase the range?
I am so lucky to be able to call most of these girls that have helped out so much with Nii HAi my friends. It’s something I find really tough because I am a firm believer in paying people (especially creative/models etc..) for their work but as a small brand it is very difficult to manage this within your budget. When I moved to London I met a lot of girls who I had followed on instagram who came to do some shoots with us. The girls that appear on Nii HAi are mostly people who have a similar mindset to me and really understand the amount of hard work and love I put into the brand - they really understand the values of the brand because they know me. It’s about a certain look but more about them understanding Nii HAi and I feel (and I hope they do too) that they are part of Nii HAi. It has a real sense of community for me.
I have SO many big plans for Nii HAi - I definitely dream big and Nii HAi is my baby so there are no limits for it in my eyes. At the moment, I’m working on loads of new collections and bits to bring out this year, both on our website and some exclusive collections for some very exciting collabs. But in terms of the future, I would love to continue to do what we are doing on a bigger scale, continuing to grow and perhaps expanding beyond clothing, to encompass broader aspects of business in the future.
That sounds super exciting and we cannot wait to see what comes next! To shop the Nii HAi range at ISLA click here.
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Hit up their website here: www.niihai.com
Written by Hazel Hedges