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INTERVIEW: Kate Jennings of Na Nin

Idun Na Nin Candle

We're delighted, honored and humbled to have collaborated on a custom candle with Kate Jennings of Na Nin, who hand blends and pours each candle in Richmond, Virginia.  

The IDUN candle was inspired by Norway's signature natural elements: heavy forestry, salt water and rich earth. It's invigorating and inspiring. 

Here, we asked Kate to tell us what inspires her.

Tell us a little about the original inspiration behind Na Nin and how you keep that alive from season to season.

Na Nin began a few months after I returned from teaching in South Korea in 2009. I was searching for a creative outlet and a way to cycle through my vintage collection. A friend I made in South Korea would teach me Korean by way of phonetics. One of the first things she wrote down and said to me translated to "I am happy because I'm with you." - Na Nin, being 'I am'. I wanted to name my brand Na Nin as it is a reminder of the importance of acts of kindness, no matter how big or small.

I try to keep this mindset at the forefront with each step I take in my business. Some days are of course hectic, stressful, or don't go as planned, but I do always try to reflect on where I can make improvements within myself and the company and allow the intention of kindness to guide the growth and progress of Na Nin. 

"I wanted to name my brand Na Nin as it is a reminder of the importance of acts of kindness, no matter how big or small."

We really appreciate Na Nin’s handmade fragrances and are so excited to collaborate on our new candle. How did you start working with and creating oil perfumes, candles, and incense? Do you have a personal favorite scent you created?

I had a health scare towards the end of 2011-2013. While I was frequenting the hospital for many doctor's appointments I grew interested in scent development by blending perfume oils and wanted to create scents that reminded me of favorite memories with loved ones. I would say that Cripple Creek will forever have my heart since it was the first scent that I created. The candles I burn most frequently at home are Garden Tomato, Somoto Canyon and Virginia Pine.

I'm thrilled to have the opportunity for Na Nin to work with IDUN! I've been a long time admirer of your beautiful store and presence.

Are there any specific materials or colors you personally and/or Na Nin as a brand have felt drawn to lately?

When it comes to clothing I have always had a deep appreciation and attraction to textures. I love a paper thin cotton canvas, a seed stitch and a waffled knit. I'm always inspired to create pieces that are a perfect blend of delicate but durable! Also, I can't get enough of emerald or evergreen colors in my life right now.  I look forward to share how Na Nin will be incorporating these fabrics and colors into our line. 

What are the people, places or things Na Nin consistently go back to for inspiration?

My mother will always be my greatest source of inspiration. When I'm in a creative rut I like to go on a drive, listen to music and think about my favorite memories of her. Or I like to imagine her as different fictional characters and visualize her wardrobe for these roles.

I also enjoy looking through 90's Italian photographs and magazines; the fashion game from that era is so so strong. 

Is there an official Na Nin mantra? (Or an unofficial one?)

To never miss an opportunity to be kind. And to keep up!

"I hope that despite the challenges of social media that we will continue to represent the voice of Na Nin with integrity and connect with people that value our vision and want to participate in the brand."

Finally, tell us how you personally hope Na Nin will adapt or evolve in the coming years? 

I hope Na Nin continues to grow. I hope I connect us with people and resources who can make our company and lives run more smoothly. I hope with new connections and growth we will be able to expand our production further to offer high quality, sustainably made items at a more accessible price point. I hope that our customers will appreciate our conscientiously-minded changes and evolution in the larger context of production in the independent designer industry.

I hope that despite the challenges of social media that we will continue to represent the voice of Na Nin with integrity and connect with people that value our vision and want to participate in the brand.

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Shop the IDUN x Na Nin candle HERE

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