Oliver Henry Organics: Locally inspired fabric


Organic, handmade cottons are where it’s at — at least for Island designer Melissa Nicholson.

Ms. Nicholson attended the Parsons School of Design and graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in design. Since then, she has created her own line of fabric designs on the Vineyard called Oliver Henry Organics.

“I felt the need to be creative about a year and a half ago so I just started drawing designs and painting watercolor designs with the possible idea of making fabric designs,” Ms. Nicholson said. She then discovered the digital printing world and began there. “I uploaded my designs and got my first fabrics in and just fell in love with the process.”

Ms. Nicholson creates her designs at home on a computer using Photoshop, and uploads them to a digital printing website. “[The website] sends my design to me and I give it the okay,” she said.

“The fabric that I have right now is organic cotton and is 230 thread count. It’s a beautiful, great quality fabric and is perfect for things like home accessories, duvets, curtains, and it has a nice weight to it, even for clothing,”

Ms. Nicholson began collecting vintage tablecloths in 2003 for her wedding. Her collection gives her inspiration for her own designs. “Instead of renting tablecloths, I started collecting vintage cloths to put over the tables, and that’s what sparked my collection. I am obsessed with vintage designs,” she said.

“The business hasn’t really taken off yet, but I can see how hard it would be to have a full time business along with being a stay-at-home mom with two- and four-year-old sons. But I have great support and great family, so I’m hoping that it will become a nice full time career,” Ms. Nicholson said. She came up with the name of her business by using her sons’ middle names: Oliver and Henry.

“I sell on Etsy which is a good marketplace for handmade designs.” Etsy.com is a website that allows crafters and artists to sell their products. “With that website being available to me, it made it my fantasy of selling fabric designs a possibility. It’s nice because I can stay at home with my kids and still have this on the side.”

Currently Ms. Nicholson is just selling on Etsy but has plans this summer to sell on the Vineyard “I’ll be doing the Chilmark Flea Market this summer, and that will be my first time selling locally,” she said.

“I’m really excited about being a part of this movement. I feel like there’s a push for the handmade-designer market right now, and people are beginning to pull back from places like Walmart and Target because they want to know where they get their items from and who makes it,” Ms. Nicholson said, “It’s the idea that someone else is hand-making it that makes it an original design, and that not a lot of other people have the same item. I’m happy to be a part of that.”