Hello there! My name is McKenna; I’m the owner, designer, and maker of all the things here at Neat and Navy Blue.
I live in rural Marengo, Iowa with my husband Ross, who grows soybeans! We have two kiddos, Jack and Charlie. They can often be found centering wicks and placing warning labels. If you have some time, my entire business history can be found in the next paragraph, including how N&NB got its name. If you’re short on time, just know that I am ridiculously passionate about everything I do, especially the products I create and make for you.
Back in 2014, just after my daughter Charlie’s first birthday, I was with my mom shopping at the local thrift store. We came across a little empire style vanity that was in need of some love. I didn’t necessarily need this little vanity, but it was so adorable and hard to pass up. So my mom purchased it for me to fix up, and with the help of my dad, I did just that. I cleaned it, sanded it, my dad repaired a couple things, and I painted it. It turned out so cute and more importantly, I loved how I felt after it was finished. I went back to that thrift store and found another project piece, then another, and another. I read everything I could on refinishing furniture, I watched YouTube tutorials, and practiced on scrap boards. Pretty soon I had taken over my dad’s workshop. I decided I would try and sell my work, so I signed up for a flea market in May of 2015. The weeks leading up to the market I figured I’d better figure out what to call my business. I wanted something unique, something that could evolve with my brand if I ever decided to pursue something besides furniture. One night I was working late in the shop. My husband, Ross, brought my son, Jack, out to say goodnight. He marched in and exclaimed, “Mommy that’s sooooo neat” in his sweet little toddler voice. The piece I was working on happened to be navy blue. And just like that they stuck together and Neat and Navy Blue was born. That first market was a bust! Although not a total waste, my mom and I have great memories from that weekend, including almost freezing to death the first night as the power went out in our camper. I didn’t let it get me down, I knew I eventually wanted to do another market. I needed to sell smaller things in addition to the furniture and I definitely wanted them to be handmade. After some google searching and brainstorming I decided on candles. Why not, right? So on October 24th, 2015, I poured my first candle and absolutely loved it. For the next year or so I sold all of my furniture via Facebook and consigned in one store, where I also sold my candles. The next market I did was a local one, Nettianne’s Shed Sale in Marengo fall of 2016. It was a blast; I learned so much and met some great people. I ended up coming home with just about as many furniture pieces that I took, but sold every single candle I made. Then, the fine people from Good Makers Market, you may have heard of them, contacted me and asked me to apply to their market. Nbd. I was a nervous wreck. It was the big leagues as far as I was concerned and I needed to bring my A-game. It ended up being nothing short of amazing; the hosts, the venue, the other vendors, the SHOPPERS, all incredible. It definitely got me hooked on markets; the atmosphere, community, and comradery can’t be beat. So for the next couple years we did as many markets as our life and schedule would allow. Market life ain’t easy, guys. It’s a lot of work. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it. Ross loved it. We considered it our date weekends. But, as our kiddos get older, they seem to be getting busier. As Ross gets older, he seems to be getting busier. Ha! That brings us to the end of 2018, when I decided to say goodbye to furniture and markets and focus on perfecting my brand as a candle maker. January 2019 I went full time with candle making and haven’t looked back since.
Turns out, you guys really love my stuff and that is the most satisfying feeling ever. To have the opportunity to work from home, creating beautiful things, creating beautiful smelling things, teaching my kids along the way about candles and business ownership, it is truly priceless. I could not do any of this without your support, so thank you. I realize you can get candles and soap literally anywhere, but here you are, shopping with me. I am so grateful for that.