Nesian was the only Tahitian clothing company on the French Polynesia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services (CCIS) Trade mission to New Zealand recently.
The CCIS Trade Mission was led by Papaeete based International Trade Advisor Florian Le Leclercq and Mike Ah Tchoy, Business Support Department Manager of mission organiser CCIS. Five business owners attended the mission to survey the New Zealand market and make key contacts.
Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand hosted the delegation for a day of organised seminars and guest speakers. The delegates included Nicolas Laugeon of Tahiti Bio, an organic coconut oil company, Jeremy Biau of Monoi Tevi, a coconut oil skincare products range, Matairea and Poevaiva Bessert of Nesian and, Kamakea and Manu’ura Bambridge of Noni Energy.
Pacific Periscope interviewed Nesian’s Matairea and his younger sister Poevaiva Bessert during their visit to the office. It was like meeting long lost cousins from Polynesia. The cool French speaking cousins from Tahiti.
Mr Bessert provide Pacific Periscope with interesting background to the formation of his business.
Mr Bessert is the passionate owner of Nesian – a brand he created three-and-a-half years ago on the island of Raiatea originally called Havai’i.
He described how he had been working in Tahiti in the education field for five years after returning from France where he earned a Master of Clinical Psychology degree.
In 2014, his four-year-old son Arehau asked him to return to where he was born, on the island of Raiatea. A real reconnection with nature happened. It came through simple living, surfing sessions, fishing and hiking into. Mr Bessert said he was reconnecting each day more with the land and the sea. He was also seeing so many overseas tourists with sparkles in their eyes because of the beauty that surrounded them. He realised that he was so blessed to live in such a paradise. He didn’t want to forget again.
From this feeling, he decided to change direction and the word in his mind was ‘Nesian’. Nesian means islander, Mr Bessert said. He drew the logo on the sand and the clothing company was born.
The logo represents a sun in the form of a triangle for the Pacific Triangle. The three rays stand for each summit of the islands of: Hawaii, Aotearoa and Rapa Nui.
The brand draws on the Tahitian legend of the Fe’e or in Māori, Wheke. The head of the animal is represented by Raiatea and through Polynesian migration, the va’a (waka) and celestial navigation its tentacles that reach out to the other island groups of the Pacific.
Mr Bessert wants to do the same through the Nesian clothing line. But for him, Nesian is more than a brand.
“It’s an identity defined by a feeling that all native islanders and even non-native island people can feel,” he said.
Today, Nesian is well known in Tahiti and French Polynesia’s islands. All the products – t-shirts, women’s tops, headwear, jackets, boardshorts, jerseys, sunglasses are designed by four designers. They screen print their t-shirts and tops themselves and sell their products. They can produce up to 5000 tees a month and can churn out up to 1000 a week depending on the design.
In September, Nesian opened its first official store in Papeete, Tahiti. His second company Ohena (screen printing company) started in 2016 allowing them to control production but they also offer their skills and services to other companies.
Their first visit to New Zealand gave them the opportunity to meet people and get an overview of the market. During this trade mission, Mr Bessert met with the representatives of a screen printing factory, undertook site visits to stores and found local garment whole salers and much appreciated the local brands.
Mr Bessert said, “The potential of Nesian is that the brand can adjust itself to the local culture and stories.”
He says he has learnt more about the local landscapes and can adapt them into Nesian’s clothing designs.
For more information please contact Ian Furlong, PTI NZ Trade Development Manager on firstname.lastname@example.org