Q&A with Nox Cadaver of Dead Relics

Abby from CJLO's The Reaktor (Fridays 2-4 pm) chats with Christina Vincelli, also known as Nox Cadaver, owner and founder of Dead Relics vintage clothing.

Dead Relics Soundtrack!


Abby Reaktor: You own an online vintage shop (Dead Relics). What made you decide to start your own business?

Christina Vincelli: A couple of years ago I worked for a high-end fashion company where I met a good friend of mine. We were both Etsy buffs and through her I became interested in selling vintage online. It became an addiction. I love fashion, history, and costume, being creative with old clothes and reinventing styles. Selling vintage on Etsy seemed like an amazing way to have fun rediscovering old styles and making extra cash on the side, and a way to not feel guilty about all the shopping I do at a regular rate. I was also all over the fact that I ran the show, and no one would be telling ME what to do in this business venture.

AR: Is having an online business easy? How much time do you have to put into your site?

CV: Being your own boss and working for yourself is probably the most difficult and time consuming job you will ever have. You have to love what you do, to be self-employed. With Dead Relics, I curate the selection of vintage clothing that is for sale. I organize photo shoots, find models, style the models, photograph the look, and edit the photos. I price, measure, and describe each item, and I package and ship them when they are sold.

AR: You own a sewing machine and are a pretty good seamstress, does that come in handy? Do you ever do alterations on the clothes you sell?

CV: I do some alterations. Sometimes it's inevitable; a split seam, a missing button, an undone hem. However, when I shop vintage, I do my best to select items of quality or that are unique enough to be worth the effort in alterations. Some defects or tears in garments aren't worth the time, and when working for yourself you have to take that into account because in the end you might end up losing money.

AR: Can people ask you to personalize items they are purchasing, for instance the size, style, buttons, and so on?

CV: It's difficult to do alterations in size for clients when they shop online. Usually the most accurate way is in person, and since Dead Relics is an online store, it is less likely that it occurs. I also don't necessarily believe in personalizing a vintage garment to the extent that it is much more valuable in its original state, as it is made precisely in adherence with the style and period it was manufactured in.

AR: What do you suppose attracts people to vintage clothing? What is the fashion market like in regards to second hand pieces; is it popular?

CV: I think the attraction to vintage clothing is ultimately the timeless pieces that are always around and the quirky, unique elements of various periods that keep popping up in the fashion scene every other year or so. I also believe the element of timelessness, rarity, and especially quality, that is found in vintage couture is also inherent to the popularity of vintage shopping.

AR: Where do you find your vintage pieces, and how do you know they will sell?

CV: A vintage seller never tells.

AR: What is the strangest item you’ve sold so far?

CV: The strangest item I currently HAVE for sale is a leather belt with genuine furry mink tails hanging from it. It's pretty bizarre, maybe that's why no one has bought it yet.

AR: Since your shop is online, you must get customers from all over world. Which city or country would you say you get the most clientele?

CV: Definitely the U.S.

AR: How long does it usually take for someone to receive their order?

CV: It really depends where the item is being shipped. With Canada Post, it takes about 4-6 days for a parcel to ship to the U.S and 1-2 weeks to places like Australia.

AR: Where do you find the models for your clothes?

CV: I have a lot of very photogenic friends who like playing dress up. I usually ask them to model in exchange for free snacks, all-you-can-drink Hot Toddies and good music and conversation. The whole process is very relaxed and fun.

AR: Can you tell me a bit about Etsy.com what is it and how does it work?

CV: Etsy is an online marketplace and community of artists, artisans, and other creative business owners. Their mandate is to eliminate the middle man and put an emphasis on creating a relationship between buyer and artist, curator or maker. As a shopper, you can find amazing handmade items ranging from prints to furniture, vintage goods, and supplies for any creative project.

AR: Dead Relics is an interesting name. How did you come up with it?

CV: I wanted my name to reflect the idea of vintage without sounding overdone or kitsch. My penchant for the dark and morbid eventually led me to brainstorm and word-associate my way to Dead Relics.

AR: What are your plans or goals for the shop? Do you wish to expand it in any way?

CV: I started selling this year and I've had really good feedback since. I am in the process of organizing and brainstorming ideas for a vintage editorial shoot which I am really excited about, where I will be collaborating with other Etsy sellers and friends of mine. I really enjoy all the aspects of selling online, although I am looking into applying to the vintage sales in the Montreal area, which happen frequently enough.

AR: What would you say are the advantages of 'curating' an online shop opposed to a physical one?

CV: I would have to say the biggest advantage is that selling online allows a broader clientele. I get orders from around the world, and it's really amazing to see that there are shoppers in Israel, Greece, and the Netherlands interested in vintage and who frequent such an amazing site like Etsy. Curating an online shop also allows me to work at my own pace and allows me the time to pursue other projects I'm working on.

AR: How can we find your shop; what is your website? Do you have a Facebook fan page, Twitter?

CV: My vintage selection is available at www.deadrelics.etsy.com. I also have Facebook and Twitter accounts under Dead Relics. For behind the scenes and inspiration photos visit my website www.deadrelics.com.

AR: Has social networking aided you in any way?

CV: It is surprising how social networking sites do help for promotion. I occasionally get emails from websites or blogs asking if I'd like to run a banner or add for my shop on their page. I also think it is a great way to gain clientele by following other individuals with the same passion for vintage and fashion in general, especially with Twitter. Tweeters are always perusing the followers of their favourites to find more interesting organizations, companies and artists.

AR: Do you sell clothing according to season or does being an online shop exempt you from doing that?

CV: When I am searching for new vintage item, I'm not really thinking about season as much as I am about style, originality, and cut. However, when I organize a shoot, I do try to prioritize items based on what is in season and what styles or trends are emerging at the time.

AR: What is your favorite piece in your shop at this moment?

CV: All the gothic 90s vintage Le Chateau pieces.

AR: How would you describe the style of clothes at Dead Relics?

CV: It's an amalgamation of New York gothic sophistication, California beach style, and elegant edgy formal wear.

AR: Is there any advice or knowledge you wish you knew before starting your shop?

CV: The best advice I got before starting my shop was to just "jump in."

AR: What would you say is the secret of selling clothes via the Internet?

CV: I'm not sure if there really is a secret, but you definitely have to love doing it. An interest and knowledge in fashion helps, and so does patience, perseverance, and great customer service.

AR: What do you love about the clothing/fashion industry?

CV: What I love about fashion is its versatility and how you can reinvent yourself with it. Fashion design and costume design are works of art in themselves. I have a background in costume design, so when I find a piece, I'm drawn to it because it reminds me of something and engages me in a way. I think about the way it can be worn, the characters who would wear it, the environment it could be seen in.

AR: What do you hate about the clothing/fashion industry?

CV: Stuck up bitches.

AR: Do you have regular customers or do they vary all the time?

CV: As an online boutique, my customers vary considerably. The Etsy community is made up of a number of followers from around the world. It makes the job that much more interesting to get orders from countries like the Britain and Norway. It's really awesome that people from around the world come across Dead Relics, and like what they see.

Below is a Proust-inspired questionnaire, please answer the following openly and honestly.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?


If you could have any superpower ability, what would it be?


Choose a movie or a novel to describe your life at this point in time.


If you could only choose three albums to listen to for the rest of your life, what would they be?

The Clash - London Calling, Chuck Berry - St Louis to Liverpool, and Sonic Youth - Goo

When are you at your happiest?

In the woods around a fire with friends.

If you could meet any person living or dead, who would it be?


What is your personal motto?

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. (sic)"

What is your worst quality?


What is your best quality?


What trait do you admire the most in other people?


What trait do you despise the most in other people? Pet peeves.


What is your dream job?

Costume and set designer in film

What job would you hate to do?

Any office job

What invention do you wish you had created?


If you could only describe yourself in one word, what would it be?



AR: Thanks Christina for taking the time to talk with us at CJLO!