About Us


I am thrilled to have the chance to offer natural, locally handcrafted home and personal care products in Iowa City.

My interest in natural, non-toxic products started with a community ed class a number of years ago. Following the class I did a lot of reading and started making home cleaners and skin care products for myself. Over the years friends asked me to share recipes, but I noticed that they rarely actually made the products — probably for the same reasons that I rarely seem to get around to making granola or going for a run. I realized that a lot of time-strapped people would like these products if they didn’t have to make them on their own. That thought percolated for about three years before I made the switch from being a full-time public relations practitioner to founding Whoa Nelli in 2013.

The drive behind Whoa Nelli is the desire to help people care for their homes and themselves in ways that are healthy and sustainable. There is a great deal of research linking chemicals in everyday household products to long-term health issues. That hasn’t stopped a lot of companies from continuing to put questionable ingredients in their products. I think you deserve much better.

When I made business cards I gave myself the tongue-in-cheek title of “One Horse Wonder,” but Whoa Nelli is a team effort with my husband Matt Fockler who is an environmental studies and geography professor.

The Name:
When I stepped back to look at the lifecycle of a typical cleaning or skincare product — from the chemicals to the long-distance shipping to the health effects on the user, in addition to the waste created by single-use plastic containers –“Whoa Nelli” was the first thing that came to mind. Whoa Nelli we’ve got to rethink this, and Whoa Nelli there’s a real opportunity to do better.