Naja and #WomenNotObjects Founder Launch Diverse Nude Lingerie Line

Lingerie Brand Is First Company to Approach Badger & Winters About Its Women Empowerment Initiative

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Subway poster for Naja's #NudeForAll campaign
Subway poster for Naja's #NudeForAll campaign Credit: Scott Nathan
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Naja.co, which launched in 2014 as an alternative to Victoria's Secret, has teamed up with Badger & Winters, the agency behind the #WomenNotObjects initiative, to introduce an inclusive line of nude lingerie for women of all races and ethnicities.

The Nude For All collection by Naja includes seven shades of nude and the ads feature real women rather than models, many whom are leaders of women's initiatives within entrepreneur-focused organization Summit Series.

Catalina Girald, CEO and founder of Naja, said she reached out to Badger & Winters because she read about the #WomenNotObjects effort and "had been looking for a firm who shares the same values as we do." Ms. Girald said she created Naja because she wanted to "change the way lingerie was marketed to women" by emphasizing that the products are meant to make women feel good, not men. Naja even includes little inspirational quotes on the inside of the underwear to make women laugh or smile, she added.

Badger & Winters, which has helped advise Naja on its creative and social strategy as well as the takeover of the Bedford L subway stop in Brooklyn, was "very generous" in terms of payment for the campaign, said Ms. Girald. She said when she initially told her team that she was going to reach out to the shop, they told her "there's no way we can afford them," but she set up the meeting anyway.

"This wasn't about the money," said Chief Creative Officer Madonna Badger. "This was about her company and my company coming together and sharing a common belief system and wanting to get that out into the world."

Ms. Badger added that she was excited that Naja was the first company to come to the agency about #WomenNotObjects because "it really felt like the perfect partnership about diversity and empowerment of women."

For the Bedford station takeover, the agency worked with Naja to put up campaign posters, pole wraps of each nude shade and turnstile art. This specific subway stop was a great choice for the initiative, Ms. Badger said, because it's "a melting pot station of New York between Brooklyn and Manhattan where a lot of people transfer."

Naja started out with 23 shades of nude and narrowed it down to seven after testing the colors on women of all different ethnicities and backgrounds. Ms. Girald said the brand started seeing that women with the same skin tone don't necessarily have the same ethnic backgrounds. For example, a Danish and El Salvadoran woman wound up wearing the same color, as did an Asian and Hispanic woman and a black and Indian woman.

To help illustrate this concept and show how much women from all backgrounds have in common, Naja included a social media "call to action" in the subway station, asking women to post a selfie online of them next to the pole that best fits their skin. If they use the #NudeForAll, participants get entered into a contest for a chance to win a $250 Naja giftcard.

"The idea is to see how many different races and ethnicities fit into the different colors," said Ms. Girald.

Naja is also thinking about creating a video for the campaign this summer with Badger & Winters to help keep up buzz around the #NudeForAll discussion.

Another reason the agency is eager to work with Naja going forward, according to Ms. Badger, is because it's a purpose-driven company "down to the factory." Two percent of all purchases goes to Naja's Underwear for Hope program, which helps employ single mothers with sewing careers in the slums of Colombia. Every bra is delivered with a washbag that was handmade by the women employed through the program, as well as a handwritten card thanking the purchaser for her support.

As consumers tire of traditional brands and search for newness, seeking out undergarments that are both comfortable and cool, the $15 billion underwear industry is ripe for innovation. Many fledgling brands have stepped up to the plate, eager for their share of the pie in attracting consumers, who typically only shop for new underwear every six months or so, according to industry experts. Analysts estimate that it typically costs about $200,000 to launch an underwear brand, and then an additional $250,000 for advertising costs to market the brand against industry giants such as Victoria's Secret. The L Brands-owned label spent $75 million on measured media in the U.S. last year, according to Kantar Media.

Like Naja, New York-based Nudz is also focusing on offering a more diverse range of skin tones for its bras and underwear. Backed by a Kickstarter campaign last year, the brand will debut its 10-hue collection this week. It's boosting the effort through a social marketing campaign using #BanishBeige. Similarly, London-based Nubian Skin, a two-year-old brand, sells undergarments to darker skin tones.

Other brands are more technological-minded, patenting various material combinations in order to make wearers more comfortable. Dear Kate and Thinx, which are both based in New York, have produced moisture-absorbing underwear suitable for both the gym and menstruation.

Contributing: Adrianne Pasquarelli