Wearwell's co-founder Emily Kenney chats with Joi McNeill, Founder + Maker of Nooked, about her passion for handcrafting products, how she finds inspiration for new scents, and the role of comfort in her brand.
Emily: Hi Joi! I’m so excited to be chatting with you today. To start things off, what motivated you to start Nooked?
Joi: I was motivated to start Nooked for two deeply meaningful reasons: healing and legacy. I am a staunch advocate for the therapeutic benefits of handcrafting, which is why I decided to make it my life's work. I had always struggled to find true comfort and a sense of connection in various aspects of my life. It was not until I embarked on a personal journey of journaling, artistic vulnerability, and deep reflection that I was able to uncover a path toward healing through handcrafting. Creating with my hands has now become a sacred practice in my healing and has provided me with peace and a platform to connect with others. Handcrafting has empowered me to care for myself while simultaneously nurturing a supportive community that explores the deeper concepts of comfort and its role in our lives.
Furthermore, I choose to begin building a positive legacy that would break the negative cycles that had plagued my family for generations. After losing both of my parents, I decided that I would honor them both and create something of my own. I believe that Nooked will be a watershed moment in the history of my family - a moment in which we heal and establish a new culture of restfulness and self-exploration that will be passed on for generations to come.
To me, Nooked represents the pursuit of a fulfilling life that is characterized by healing, creativity, and comfort. I aspire to share this vision with others and hope that Nooked can serve as a tool for everyone to discover inner comfort and peace.\
Emily: Wow, that’s such a beautiful sentiment about the power of handcrafting. So how did you become interested specifically in body care + candles?
Joi: My passion for crafting handmade body care products and candles started when I was a struggling Americorp volunteer fresh out of college. After four years of studying for my bachelor's degree, I wanted to invest more in my health and well-being, but I couldn't afford the body butter and candles from Whole Foods and Bath & Body Works that I desired. So, I made the decision to learn how to make them myself. In doing so, I realized that the self-care wasn't in the products I was creating, but in the process of creating them. This realization led me to create more and more handmade goods, which I started gifting to others, and despite years of doubt and imposter syndrome, I eventually took the leap and officially launched Nooked, fully embracing my passion for handcrafting.
Emily: Oh I can relate to that! I love how certain moments in our life can create an opportunity to discover a passion. The scents in your collection are just gorgeous, where do you draw inspiration from for your products and scents?
Joi: I draw inspiration from what my hands are leading me to create and how that creation can contribute to a more well-rounded and holistic Nooked experience for someone. I aim to organically guide my customers from using one product to the next. I want to set an atmosphere of comfort that is easily accessible and not overwhelming. I want the Nooked community to feel like their life doesn’t have to be pristine or the model self-care Pinterest board to enjoy my products. All you have to have is a desire to connect more deeply with your comfy side and hopefully, my handmade goods can help you do that!
But on a deeper level - the gentle warmth of the sun on my skin is an even greater source of inspiration for me. I find it to be incredibly comforting and reassuring. My creative intention is to infuse every product I create with this feeling. I have a profound admiration for sunlight - its nourishing qualities, unwavering strength, and effortless ability to perform so many tasks. It is a dependable and consistent force, yet also possesses an air of mystery and adventure. Sunlight is not only beautiful and calming but familiar and safe. It has a deep impact on my creativity and the approach I take toward my work at Nooked every day. I want my products to feel comfortable - to feel like the sunlight.
Emily: If you had to choose, what are your 3 favorite scents from Nooked’s collection?
Joi: My 3 favorite scents are Willow + Ivy, Black Amber + Lavender, and Turmeric Honey Lemon.
I love the Willow + Ivy candle for its confident scent that evokes a sense of comfort in one's own skin. This scent is one of my more opulent choices, and I believe that's precisely what epitomizes luxury - a steadfast belief in oneself.
I have a deep appreciation for the Black Amber + Lavender candle. Its buttery texture and warm, comforting scent create a feeling of tenderness and affection. I even joke that when I become a mom someday, I want my kids to associate this scent with me!
Finally, my favorite soap scent is Turmeric Honey Lemon because it gives me a medicinal and healing sensation. It makes me feel well taken care of whenever I use it.
Emily: Those are all so good! I personally cannot get enough of the Wanderlust Artisan Soap Set and the Biggie Knot Candle in Mineral Springs. What’s one piece of advice you would give someone who is just beginning to shop more consciously?
Joi: I would advise them to start small and be kind to themselves. Approach sustainability practices on a spectrum and take it one step at a time. By consistently making conscious decisions, you can gradually replace your everyday products with eco-friendly alternatives. Imagine the positive impact we could have if everyone adopted this approach. The earth is everything - and we owe it everything.
Emily: Totally agree with that advice! What’s next for Nooked – any exciting initiatives or growth that you’re looking forward to?
Joi: I am thrilled about some upcoming projects for Nooked. Recently, I launched The Comfort Blog, which is doing exceptionally well. I am eager to create more interactive content and find new ways to engage the Nooked community on the blog. Additionally, Nooked will soon introduce a "good citizenship" program known as The Legacy Project. In honor of my parents, Nooked will be organizing toiletry drives and community activities to support homeless women in Philadelphia and victims of domestic violence. From a young age, my parents instilled in me a passion for human services work, and I am excited to bring this to Nooked to spread comfort to as many people as possible in a variety of ways.
Emily: I’m loving The Comfort Blog and can’t wait to support your community projects here in Philly. Anything else you want to share with wearwell’s community?
Joi: I feel incredibly honored to be included in wearwell's thoughtfully curated list of brands. My heart is filled with gratitude, and I can't wait to connect with the amazing community that wearwell has created. Thank you for welcoming me.
Emily: We are thrilled to have you part of wearwell! It’s such a delight adding a new Philly-based brand to our community and getting to know you!