Utility Nav Top Nav Content Site Search Site Search
Menu

My future is not determined. I am.

Carpentry grad Denika Coakley

Denika enrolled in university to become a nurse. She soon realized she needed a future creating, leading her to NSCC’s Carpentry program. After graduation, Denika carved her own way as a skilled carpenter and entrepreneur, building her brand and business using Instagram. Denika now creates hand-crafted furniture for customers around the world.

“My happiness came the day I realized I didn’t have to fit into the boxes society built for me.”


Learn more about Denika’s love for woodworking and what inspired her to make a career out of her passion.

Q: When did you realize you had a talent for making things?
I was very young when I started making things. Creating has always been a part of me.

Q: Can you tell us about the projects you and your grandfather used to work on together?
My grandfather would let me build anything I wanted to. I loved the times we would make “boats,” mainly out of scraps, and then set them sail. I also remember, vividly, making stilts with him when I went home to Newfoundland to visit. We’d have to make bigger ones each year because I had grown.

Q: At what point did you realize the Carpentry program was for you?
When I was 22. My brother, also a carpenter, pointed out that I am always watching home shows. And YouTube. I was always asking him about what he was building and trying do-it-yourself projects that I found online.

Q: Was your experience at NSCC what you expected it to be?
It was more, honestly. I didn’t expect to be expecting my second child while in the program. But instead of throwing a wrench into my studies, my teachers were beyond supportive.

Q: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
My kids. At such young ages when I graduated (1 and 3), it was difficult to work full-time. So, I didn’t plan on being an entrepreneur, it just sort of happened.

Q: What would you say to people – especially women – who might be considering a career in a trade?
Do it. Don’t let anyone’s opinions change your own.

Q: What’s your favourite thing to make these days?
New things. I will always do an order twice if it’s requested – and that happens a lot – but I love when people want something I’ve never built before.

Q: Do you have a favourite HGTV program (if so, which one)? And if you hosted your own show, what would the focus of it be?
My favourite show is Good Bones. A mother and daughter duo take on properties for flips. I love it because the women actually do the work in the show; you don’t see that often.

If I had a show, I would probably do flips and focus on realistic project budgets. Like in my YouTube videos, I don’t want people to think you need $50,000 to put into a kitchen. Sure, that would be great. But I would like to show people another approach – for those on a budget.