Co-founders Gina Rodriguez and Catalina Girald. (photo: Naje)
“So many lingerie companies show that you must be sexually appealing to men and I don’t think that’s a positive message,” says Catalina Girald.
In response to this, she and Golden Globe winning actress Gina Rodriguez partnered to form Naja, a lingerie brand by women for women.
“Empowering women is the future of our world and our country. Without strong women you’re missing 50% of this country’s potential leaders.”
Taking a quick scroll through the website, Naje lingerie doesn’t look too different from other lingerie brands out there. There are colourful bras with interesting straps and pops of lace, an array of underwear options – some with some really cool graphic prints – and a pretty good price point – no $300 bras here! But what really sets the company apart is it’s ethos.
“Naja focuses on delivering high-quality product at mass-market pricing while giving women a product she can be proud to wear,” Girald tells Yahoo Canada. “When you buy Naja, you know that you’re helping another woman in need.”
All Naja undergarments are made in Colombia and directly aim to help the very women who wear them.
“Since our factory primarily employs single mothers or female heads of household, we offer flexible work hours that allow them to take care of their children and work at the same time. For most women, they are forced to choose, which ultimately has a negative effect on children and they are made to work themselves. So by giving them an opportunity for them to take off when their child is sick without losing their income benefits them all.”
In addition, Naja pays employees 20 per cent more than the market wage, as well as providing insurance and assistance for their families.
“We pay for their children’s educational needs, all books, school supplies, uniforms, and school meals.”
Zulli, a mother of four from Barrio Caicedo who is learning to sew with Underwear for Hope. (photo: Naja)
For those who may not yet have the skills to create high quality undergarments, Naja has created the Underwear For Hope program, which employs women in Colombia’s slums to create the pretty lingerie bags that come with each purchase.
“Every Naja bra comes with a wash bag made through our Underwear For Hope Program that trains and employs at-risk single mothers to sew.”
Not only does this program help women develop their skills but it also allows them to work from home and be “micro-entrepreneurs.”
While the empowerment of women is a top priority, Naja is also focused on keeping their environmental footprint as small as possible.
“We use digital and sublimation printing technologies to print our garments because they are the most environmentally friendly processes for creating printed fabric.”
Unlike dyed fabrics, digital printing wastes far less water. Naja also tries to utilize new technology and fabrics that are earth-friendly.
“Our super soft fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles and digitally printed to save our planet,” says the listing for the Anais Bra featuring monarch butterflies.