Morbidly Beautiful

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The Wickedly Talented Ladies of Macabre Merch: Six Questions for the Beauty and Brains Behind the Killer Shop, Living Dead Girl Nicole

We first met the incredibly talented Living Dead Girl Nicole following a contest we held over on our Instagram page asking our followers to tag their favorite small business horror shop. We were flooded with so much love and support for this shop, helping it win in a landslide. It wasn’t just the quality of the many unique handmade products Nicole offers in her shop, or her obvious extraordinary talent, that impressed us so much. It was more how loyal and rabid her fan base was — telling us this is a seller who truly loves her craft and genuinely cares about her customers. It reinforced to us just how much small business matters. So, if you’re in the market for some unique and to die for art, horror decor or accessories, we cannot recommend this shop highly enough.

1. What was the inspiration for starting your own business and how did you get started?

I have been doing art since I was a young batling. I have always done commission stuff and offered my artistic services, but it wasn’t until 2008 that I discovered Etsy. I was planning my Halloween Masquerade Wedding and was an active member of Off Beat Bride. People were mentioning things they found on Etsy. I knew I would go crazy making everything myself, so I hired a few artisans on Etsy to contribute to my vision. It gave me a general idea on how the site and system worked. Shortly after that, I set up my own shop and have been selling on there ever since. Just this past October, I took the plunge and accepted an invite from Handmade on Amazon and have started selling on there as well.

Living Dead Girl Nicole vending at the annual Hearse show

2. When and how did you fall in love with horror?

I have been watching horror since I was young. That was a the beauty of the 80s. My Mom passed away when I was younger, and some of my fondest memories is sitting on the couch with her and laughing when we would get scared and jump. Especially at the scenes where they set you up to jump at the wrong times. I always thought it was funny that she would cover my eyes during the sex scenes but would let me watch all the gore ha ha. I guess you can’t really tell your kid “what they’re doing there is make believe” ha ha.

Living Dead Girl Nicole gifting her portrait work to Sid Haig

3. Where does inspiration for your products come from? What is your creative process like?

I honestly just make what I love. In turn, there is a little bit of me in everything I create. If something is odd or macabre, I am drawn to it (pun intended) and usually inspired. I tend to find beauty in things that are dark, spooky and mythical. The unknown. Aspects of that always come through in my artwork as an extension of myself.

Living Dead Girl Nicole gifting her portrait work to Robert Englund

My creative process is all over the place, as I work in various mediums. But the one thing all my creations have in common is that everything is handmade. I like getting my hands dirty (on top of drawing pencil calluses and glue gun burns). The only exception is my t-shirts that feature my art on them. Those I outsource from a printer that I work with, but all images on those shirts are hand drawn and not digitally created.

4. What’s the best part about running your own business, and what’s the hardest part?

I love the clients that I have gotten to interact with. It means everything to me when I fill an order, get asked to do a commission piece or get feedback on my work. Filling orders to me is just as rewarding as making the art. It allows me to share my talent with the world. Knowing that people admire what you create enough to spend their hard earned money on it, is one of the greatest compliment you could give an artist.

Another thing I love about what I do is all the sincere and grateful horror and rock icons I have had the privilege to meet and give my work to. These have been some of the most memorable moments in my art career.

Living Dead Girl Nicole gifting her Zombie George to George Romero

Unfortunately, I am not able to support myself strictly on my art (yet!) so I work full time and do my art as a side business. Due to this, I can not create as much I wish I could. If I had the time, I would have so much more to inventory to offer.