Where I work: Oh Dina!'s Nicole McInnis | Shoptalk | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Where I work: Oh Dina!'s Nicole McInnis

How an oasis of a home office helps this local artist ship flower crowns and hair accessories around the globe.


Nicole McInnis makes bridal headpieces and DIY flower-crown kits in Dartmouth, then ships them around the world. With a background in fashion design and costuming, her business began with vintage-inspired hats, then fascinators when Will and Kate's royal wedding drove up demand. "It evolved into flowers, because that's what current right now," she says. Last month, McInnis mailed out more than 50 packages ordered through Etsy.  The furthest ones went to Mexico and Switzerland—marked by sticker gems added to her antique globe, one for every faraway shipment.  

"I walk in and it feels magical," says McInnis, whose studio is inside her home.  As a renter hoping to preserve the original wood walls, "not having walls to screw in was really troublesome for me at first," she says. To solve the problem, McInnis hung her silk flowers and vines from a drapery rod, forming a curtain of cream-coloured English roses and burgundy orchids.  A chandelier of flowers cascades from a light fixture in the centre of the room. "To be in a space that's kind of old-timey and vintage and has a history, I just love creating in this space," she says. "It's very romantic."

"When I create, things explode and I've got flowers flying all around me," says McInnis, explaining the only drawback of the space. "I won't even realize my mess has gotten to the level that it has," she says, because a mess made of flowers is "still beautiful." Finding a missing flower can take days before it turns up "underneath a heap of ferns." Decorating the whimsical space with her materials provides both a magical setting and open storage—which she snips from often when inspiration strikes. 

Last fall, McInnis created a flower crown with navy poppies and ivory accents, then mailed it to a bride in Botswana planning to exchange vows in an elephant sanctuary. Canada Post and FedEx employees appear daily at the door, delivering silk flowers from New York and beyond.  She's shipped out nearly 250 packages already this year via Canada Post, and says staff at the drop-off in Dartmouth are like family. "I love them so much," says McInnis, whose partner also works from home. "We see them every day," she adds, laughing about the other reality of creating a dream office, "they're like the only other people we see."

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