STEPHANIE HOUSLEY

STEPHANIE HOUSLEY

“I never wanted a business.

In 2007, I went to buy the board game MEMORY for my friends as a baby gift, but the graphics were so horrible that I decided to make my own hand embroidered version. When I realized I was never going to finish it by hand, I bought a very expensive embroidery machine. To pay it off, I started making onesies and pillows to sell at the BROOKLYN FLEA.

That’s what started Coral & Tusk, which now makes embroidered products of all sorts: pillows, artwork, dolls, and other home accessories.

We moved into this office in October 2012. This is my inspiration wall. It changes depending on the projects we’re working on, or the season. I really like the mixture of patterns and hues, and how the different images and items live together.

Currently, there’s a lot of western-themed stuff, but colors are always my biggest source of inspiration.”

“The alpaca is our mascot. I got him when I was visiting my mom in Ohio, at a store where they only sell alpaca goods.

He doesn’t have a name because I like to keep things open.”

“The mask was inspired by the Costa Concordia crash that happened off the coast of Italy [in 2012]. The design is meant to recall a shipwreck, and it’s embroidered with coral and different sea life.

I’m not sure why, but I was super obsessed with the incident.”

“The stuffed couple was a gift from the owner of Makié, a high-end children’s shop on Thompson Street [in New York City].

My husband, Chris, has blond hair, and when she gave them to me, she pointed her tiny finger at the man’s privates and said, ‘This is Chris.’ I nearly died.”

“The woven baskets are full of feathers — a mixture of hawks, owls, and others — that were gifts from my mom. She collected most of them in the backwoods of Ohio, where I grew up.

“One of our employees made this doll version of my dog, a Cane Corso Mastiff rescue named Paco. He’s in a fox costume and has others: a fur seal, a lumberjack, a ballerina, all kinds.”

“The three pouches are from Istanbul, Turkey.
They’re antique Anatolian coin purses.”

“We’re working on a new product called a MEMORY MAP, which is a map of the United States we’ll sell with a set of felt charms that one can pin to remember special places, like your birthplace or favorite vacation spot.”

“I took the photo of the old cabin [at top] while traveling out West this past spring. That trip inspired a series of three pocket pillows in our Fall 2015 collection. The designs feature animals that make things and the spaces they dwell in, like the Apothecary Bear [at bottom] who lives in a walled tent full of the healing concoctions he creates.”

“This is the embroidery machine that started it all. Nowadays, I use it to prototype products here before sending them to our team in India for production.”

CREDITS

Photography byBramble Trionfo

As told toMichelle Rizzi

Stephanie Housley is the New York City-based founder of Coral & Tusk.

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