Artist transforms passion into small business

by Madison Ratcliff

While art for many is just a fun pastime, Melissa Ratcliff turned her passion for art into a growing small business.

Ratcliff has been drawing and painting since she was in second grade, but she didn’t formally take art classes until college. At Texas Tech University, she earned a bachelor’s degree in art education and afterward taught at several schools in Alief and Katy, Texas. Ratcliff said that having a strong support system encouraged her to continue pursuing art.

“People saw what I had drawn and were amazed, and they complimented me, and I liked that,” Ratcliff said. “I was a ‘C in conduct’ kind of kid, so at least I was getting positive feedback. I loved art, and I knew I wanted to do art.”

At a workshop in New Mexico, Ratcliff learned how to paint silks, the basis for her business now. Now that she has retired from teaching, and her children are older, Ratcliff has been able to devote her time to selling her art. Melissa Ratcliff Designs produces one-of-a-kind silk scarves, ties, wallets and pocket squares. She has described her business as “creating wearable art that people can hang in their homes or wear and enjoy.”

“I had always wanted to sell my art, not because I wanted to make money off it but because I wanted my art to be out in the world, and that to me is more important than making money,” Ratcliff said.

To learn more about Ratcliff’s business, visit her website at melissaratcliff.com or follow her on Instagram at @melissaratcliffdesigns.

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