“When you educate a woman, everything changes.”
With her platinum credentials as a former New York lawyer, Stanford School of Business MBA (class of 2006) and successful entrepreneur Catalina Girald doesn’t seem like a 21st century revolutionary. But her latest and second e-commerce company Naja finds the Colombian-born, San Francisco-based Girald championing women in ways that are ground-breaking and impactful, not to mention inspiring.
Launched in December 2013, Naja manufactures and sells beautiful, distinctive lingerie — in their own parlance, “radically different lingerie” — at comparatively reasonable rates. Its average bra price, for instance is $45 U.S., while lacy briefs are $14. A product pitch on the site under the heading “Meticulously Crafted. Fairly Priced” explains things thusly.
“Naja products are characterized by unexpected attention to detail — the kind of detailing found only in luxury brands. From our memory foam cups, to our interior bra prints, to our ultrasonic sealed bra straps — we take pride in our artistry. But we don’t believe you should have to pay $80+ for a high quality bra.”
The thrills don’t stop there. Naja (pronounced “nigh-ya”) lingerie is modeled on its site by women who look like women modeling lingerie for potential female buyers, not supermodels strutting for bug-eyed dudes as with Victoria’s Secret.
Best, Naja’s supports women in Girald’s native Colombia through its two-pronged Underwear for Hope program.
As Girald explains, every bra purchased from Naja comes with a lingerie wash bag that is sewn by a Colombian women identified as needy by the Golondrinas Foundation, “which educates children but they also educate women so the mothers of these kids can have trades which ultimately helps the children,” she says.
“We provide lingerie bags made by women to customers as a free gift with purchase. We pay the women [who sew the bags] directly, at above market wages and make a matching contribution to the Golondrinas Foundation for educating women to be micro-entrepreneurs.
“So we work in a village in Colombia where the factory is inside a convent using women who were trained to sew by the nuns and are single mothers or heads of households. We work with them and all of our panties are made there.”
Girald continues: “The lingerie wash bags are easy to sew and hard to screw up. So if the women can sew and has made it through the sewing program that we sponsor through the Golondrinas Foundation, then we can give them the opportunity to be part of the program though we do set deadlines and quotas.
“With the other program, there is a big skill leap. And we were lucky to stumble upon this cooperative because they produce excellent quality lingerie and have worked with major brands in Latin America; we were able to insert ourselves because one of those brands left. So we’re really excited that all of our panties can be made there now because we are helping more people.”
Source: Samaritan Magazine