Coral & Tusk
Coral & Tusk was founded in 2007 by designer Stephanie Housley with the idea of translating her hand-drawn illustrations into tactile embroidered textiles. With a unique creative process and production method, Stephanie found a way to scale the feel of handmade, one-of-a-kind embroidery to a wide variety of heirloom-quality home products and fabrics.
A fascination with home and habitat informs every design Coral & Tusk creates, from finding inspiration in how a bowerbird builds his nest to considering what keepsakes and furnishings we surround ourselves with in our own dwellings.
Our extensive line of pillows, fabric, table and gift items began with a single embroidery machine in Stephanie’s Brooklyn apartment. With initial help from her husband Chris Lacinak, Stephanie transformed her passion project into a well-loved business with stockists around the globe. The continued growth of Coral and Tusk has been spurred by press recognition from the likes of Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, Martha Stewart, Vogue and The World of Interiors.
As we’ve expanded our line to include geometric designs and fabric by the yard, Stephanie’s hand-drawn, machine-embroidered illustrations remain our connecting thread. Every Coral & Tusk design begins as an original pencil drawing by Stephanie, summoned from her observations and imagination. She then re-draws each design stitch by stitch using specialized computer software. Once digitized, our production partners in India machine embroider, cut, and sew each product. Our partners abroad embrace our own company standards, maintaining quality working conditions with fair wages and benefits.
Coral & Tusk’s Brooklyn team is comprised of six talented women who provide customer service, develop marketing campaigns, maintain wholesale and trade accounts, and manage our retail site. After nearly two decades in New York City, Stephanie now lives and works in Bondurant, Wyoming, running her business from afar. Surrounded by nature, she’s constructed her home among the landscape and wildlife that inspires her most.
Our interest in homes and habitats extends to the bigger picture of our planet. Mindful of the environment, we primarily use unbleached, natural linen for Coral & Tusk products, avoiding the harsh chemicals found in fabric dyes. We strive to give back to organizations that support the planet and all its creatures, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, The Ocean Conservancy, ASPCA and many more.
The blend of exuberance and refinement now synonymous with a Coral & Tusk embroidery is the natural by-product of the hand-drawn process unique to Coral & Tusk and the attention to detail at every step of production. Fine but not precious, a Coral & Tusk pillow, artwork or accessory is sure to entertain daily and provide enjoyment for generations.
"Drawing is my passion. Embroidering these drawings makes them come to life."
Born and raised in the Ohio Valley, Stephanie comes from a long line of Appalachian women who could make something from nothing. Her great-grandmother made lace while her grandmother made dolls, each instilling Stephanie with a deep appreciation for self-expression through craft.
Stephanie’s natural creative aptitude paired with her intense drive and focus, led her to study textile design at RISD as the first in her family to attend college. After graduating, Stephanie relocated to New York City, pursuing a career as a wovens textile designer. She worked for mills both domestically and abroad, designing for top interior fabric manufacturers. With fifteen years of industry experience under her belt, Stephanie began Coral & Tusk. Her creative process is a special alchemy of storytelling, illustration, and machine embroidery.
At the outset of designing a new Coral & Tusk collection, Stephanie looks to the natural world for inspiration. Growing up, she spent most of her time exploring outdoors, in creeks and forests near her childhood home, and on family trips to the Eastern seaboard. Wyoming became a favorite destination of Stephanie’s, visiting first as a child, and then in recent years with her husband Chris Lacinak. The two felt a strong connection to the landscape and way of life found out West. In 2016 they moved from Brooklyn to Bondurant, WY with their dog Paco.
Stephanie’s genuine love for animals is apparent to anyone who spends time with her. At her home in Wyoming, you may find her on the porch, stopping to appreciate the sight of a passing deer or on a rarer occasion, quietly observing a perched owl. On her daily hikes, she rattles off the names of wildflowers or points to the exact spot she saw a sandhill crane or small fox just days before, casually mentioning an unknown fact about the animal’s habitat and range.
Stephanie first creates her irreverent characters and bold pattern designs by putting pencil to paper. Each design stems from her original hand-drawn illustrations.
Every collection begins with abundant research, Stephanie gathers inspiration and information from a wide variety of reference materials. Drawing resources from books and shelter magazines, along with her own personal photographs and watercolor studies.
As Stephanie plans each seasonal collection, she refers to her archive of embroidery threads to create a consistent color palette. Every individual design within the collection will utilize the selected colors.
Stephanie then scans her original drawing, creating a digital file. She redraws the design, stitch by stitch, using specialized software. Each stitch is dictated by Stephanie: the length, direction and color. This process captures the quality of Stephanie's hand and retains the spirit of her design.
Stephanie prototypes the piece on her embroidery machine in her Wyoming studio.
The machine stitches one color at a time and requires manual thread changes. Paying close attention to design and color details, Stephanie finalizes each piece.
Most Coral & Tusk products are embroidered on unbleached, natural linen. Mindful of the environment, we do our best to avoid the harsh chemicals found in fabric dyes.
After the prototype is finalized and all colors are selected, the completed design is machine embroidered by our partners in India. The large scale embroidery machines make it possible for us to scale Stephanie’s creative process with the flexibility of small production runs.
The embroidery process can take anywhere from one to twelve hours for a single design. Once completed, our production partners cut each design per product type.
Sewing is the final step of our production process. Our partners in India embrace our own company standards, maintaining quality working conditions with fair wages and benefits.
Coral & Tusk’s office is based in Brooklyn in Industry City.
We spend a great deal of our time here providing customer service and maintaining wholesale and trade accounts. Additionally, all of our social media and marketing campaigns are planned in house in communication with Stephanie in Wyoming. Our team members stay closely connected with our fulfillment center, ensuring every order is packed and shipped with the utmost care.
The entire Coral & Tusk line is also available to view in our showroom located in our Brooklyn office. Please feel free to schedule an appointment to view our product line and place an order with us.
We look forward to meeting you!