Profile: Bohemian Rhapsody

Artist finds her groove selling hippie threads.

by staff writer
- Nov 27, 2009
Elisa Vegliante, Bohemian Groove Bazaar

As an artist, Elisa Vegliante is inspired by what she calls the "symbolic splattering" of small children. That same sort of uninhibited expression figures prominently in both her vibrant paintings and the gypsy-like garments she wears and sells at Bohemian Groove Bazaar.

Vegliante—who besides being a professional artist also teaches art in public schools—first began selling her avant-garde paintings on eBay in 2002, calling their raw social commentary "Mondoexpressionism."

Meanwhile, at work and gallery openings, she was noticed as much for her flamboyant, retro style of dress as for her provocative art.

"As an artist, I wanted to dress in a unique style, and I always liked the comfort and ease of the clothing I remembered from the '70s," she says.

Basically everything I sell in my store is something I would wear myself—and apparently many others feel the same way

Time and time again, she says, women would ask her where they could get threads like hers. With interest in her funky garb increasing, she decided to try selling the clothing alongside the paintings in her eBay Store. Demand grew so great that the clothing business took on a life of its own and Vegliante chose to spin it out into its own store. In February, she opened Bohemian Groove Bazaar on Auctiva Commerce.

Vegliante is now an official distributor for her favorite clothing artisans, Sacred Threads, DAIRI, Retro Plus Miss and GEETA, which she says design clothing "for women with real women's bodies."

Feeling groovy

Vegliante describes her store as a one-stop "retro hippie shop," full of colorful and unique fashions that call to mind the flower children of the 1960s and 1970s.

"If you want to dress like an artist, this is the place to shop," says a page on her Web site.

"I began by researching wholesale companies of the clothing I was looking for, and I developed a relationship with those companies," Vegliante explains. "All of the clothing manufacturers I work with are great. I will not do business with companies that utilize sweatshop labor. Most of my suppliers contribute a portion of their sales to help workers in their own countries. In fact, many of these wonderful handmade items are made by women's craft cooperatives.

"Basically everything I sell in my store is something I would wear myself—and apparently many others feel the same way, because I get many customers writing to say they love my selection," she says. "Some can't believe they can find all their favorite styles from 'back in the day,' here in one store."

If it weren't for Auctiva Commerce, I wouldn't have an off-eBay store—plain and simple

Free expression

When she first branched out into the clothing business in 2005, Vegliante began using Auctiva's eBay listing software for her auctions. She found the tools were a great way to add flair to her listings.

To this day, she uses the Scrolling Gallery to cross-promote her paintings and direct customers to her free Auctiva Store, which showcases all of her eBay listings.

For the clothing business, however, she preferred to have a dedicated site that was both cost-effective and easy to use.

"I have little Web site experience," she states. "I cannot build a fancy website, and really wouldn't know how to market one, either. If it weren't for Auctiva Commerce, I wouldn't have an off-eBay store—plain and simple. I do not have the time or money to do this work myself. Auctiva Commerce is the easiest, most cost-effective way for me to sell online.

"There are free sites, but I never had any real luck on them," she adds. "On Auctiva Commerce, I make more than enough money to cover all of my expenses, with some left over on a good month."

Vegliante has gradually expanded her inventory to include handmade designs inspired by Indian, Asian, Moroccan, Indonesian and Mexican cultures, and strives to stir the creative spirit in women of all ages.

"Customers come to my store for unique fashions that can't be found in regular retail stores," Vegliante notes. "I have many repeat customers, as they know they can get the styles they love at affordable prices."

Visit Bohemian Groove Bazaar, or browse Vegliante's artwork at House of Mondo.

About the Author

Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.

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