Head girl founds hijab firm

The "Girl Boss" badge — amid a plethora of achievements on the blazer of Bayfield High School head girl Sofea Haizal— says it all. Sofea (17), who plans to study international business at university next year, already has her own business set up through Young Enterprise New Zealand, which she intends to continue after she leaves school.

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28.8.2022
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Piller is a hijab brand with a focus on sustainability and diversity, produced from end-of-line merino-based fabric which gives a New Zealand twist to the head coverings worn by Muslim girls and women.

Creating the hijabs saves the fabric from going to waste and the use of wool means they are both warm and cooling.

Originally from Malaysia, Sofea has been living in New Zealand for about 10 years and she has always found it difficult to source hijabs.

The name Piller, suggested by her father, was inspired by her pet monarch caterpillar, Sofea said.

Watching it turn into a butterfly, she likened it to a desire to see other hijab wearers feel confidence in themselves.

When she first started wearing a hijab in year 9, she admitted it was a "terrifying prospect".

Being that age, "all you want to do is fit in", she said.

"Over the years, I’ve slowly built up the confidence to be who I am."

Her parents had been "highly supportive" of her endeavour and were her motivation, encouraging her through her business journey.

Her best friend Caitlin Bennett was responsible for communications and marketing, while the hijabs were made by a Syrian seamstress in Dunedin.

Sofea started doing Young Enterprise — which promotes entrepreneurship skills among New Zealand secondary schools — three years ago, launching No Fuss Foods.

The business was not successful but it proved to be a valuable learning experience, she said.

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Head girl founds hijab firm

The "Girl Boss" badge — amid a plethora of achievements on the blazer of Bayfield High School head girl Sofea Haizal— says it all. Sofea (17), who plans to study international business at university next year, already has her own business set up through Young Enterprise New Zealand, which she intends to continue after she leaves school.

Piller is a hijab brand with a focus on sustainability and diversity, produced from end-of-line merino-based fabric which gives a New Zealand twist to the head coverings worn by Muslim girls and women.

Creating the hijabs saves the fabric from going to waste and the use of wool means they are both warm and cooling.

Originally from Malaysia, Sofea has been living in New Zealand for about 10 years and she has always found it difficult to source hijabs.

The name Piller, suggested by her father, was inspired by her pet monarch caterpillar, Sofea said.

Watching it turn into a butterfly, she likened it to a desire to see other hijab wearers feel confidence in themselves.

When she first started wearing a hijab in year 9, she admitted it was a "terrifying prospect".

Being that age, "all you want to do is fit in", she said.

"Over the years, I’ve slowly built up the confidence to be who I am."

Her parents had been "highly supportive" of her endeavour and were her motivation, encouraging her through her business journey.

Her best friend Caitlin Bennett was responsible for communications and marketing, while the hijabs were made by a Syrian seamstress in Dunedin.

Sofea started doing Young Enterprise — which promotes entrepreneurship skills among New Zealand secondary schools — three years ago, launching No Fuss Foods.

The business was not successful but it proved to be a valuable learning experience, she said.

Read More...