A very cushy life. We are always inspired by people who make beautiful things and the story behind the dream that led them to have the vision and strength to see it through. Meet Stephanie Housley, founder of Coral and Tusk and creator of so many beautiful things.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE CORAL & TUSK?
Insomnia while traveling in India and seeing what some of my most beloved childhood games have become in their latest incarnations! That led to a general thought process about what kids (and adults!!!) have available to them. We are in a time where there is such an oversaturation of products to choose from but so few good, or carefully, and thoughtfully made. I am of the school of thought of if you are going to make something, try to make it as good as possible.
WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND THE NAME?
I really wanted a name with beautiful imagery and something auspicious! Both coral and tusk are lucky materials. Plus I like that coral is a living thing, without being an animal. And while I chose the narwhal to represent the tusk, I also have such a love for elephants. Someday they will show up together in a design!
WE LOVE YOUR ENTIRE COLLECTION, BUT WE HAVE A SOFT SPOT FOR THE CUSHIONS. DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE PIECE FROM THE COLLECTION?
Thank you first of all! I really love the pocket pillows because I was so excited when I came up with them as a whole concept. I have always loved pockets, in any and everything, small handheld objects and multi-function...so the pocket pillows encompass that whole trifecta!
WHAT SHOULD OUR READERS KNOW ABOUT CORAL & TUSK THAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
Well, what is special about it to me is how incredibly happy it makes me to have this business. It feels like a blessing everyday. But in particular, the thread of storytelling through the characters and that even though the overall approach to design is relatively straightforward there are many subtle details that continue to be discovered over time.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE?
Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.
IF WE WERE VISITING YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, WHAT WOULD BE ON YOUR LIST FOR US TO SEE/DO/EAT/SHOP?
See: Luckily we are located in 5 minute walking distance of some of Brooklyn's finest places, the museum, library, Botanical Gardens, and my face, Prospect Park.
Do: Take a long walk in the 583 acre Prospect Park. Be totally surrounded by trees and nature and spot some wildlife.
Eat: We have some truly stellar eating joints in my 'hood. Coffee at The Glass Shop on Classon Avenue. And not just because this is in my 'hood, the best mexican in NY, Chavella's on Classon Avenue. Take out pizza at Amorina, phenomenal slices and an unbelievable deal, excellent ingredients, and the crew that works there are a major bonus to get to hang with while you wait for your slices. Sit down at Franny's on Flatbush Avenue, order any appetizer and you will not be disappointed, except for that when you roll around to your pizza or pasta selection you'll be disappointed you did not eat a lighter lunch! Ice cream, dueling for top place, Blue Marble on Underhill Avenue and newcomer Ample Hills on Vanderbilt Avenue. Drinks at Weather Up on Vanderbilt Avenue, excellent everything, environment and very carefully crafted beverages.
Shop: The only lacking area in our immediate vicinity! We are within easy walking distance to Park Slope though which has a zillion shops. Some of my faves in the Slope are Cog and Pearl on 5th Avenue, excellent gift store, guaranteed to get whatever present you need, plus you will not walk out without something for yourself. Acorn on Atlantic Avenue, a magic wonderland of all things kids. And Swallow on Smith Street, a stunning shop of eclectic objects and materials, super inspiring.
WHAT IS THE BEST BUSINESS ADVICE YOU RECEIVED?
Do what you believe in and love.
WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE YOU STARTED CORAL & TUSK?
I still do as a matter of fact! I am a textile designer of woven fabrics for interiors and I work for an Indian silk mill, hence all these amazing trips to India. And the bags under my eyes from having a terrific serious full-time job and a very wonderfully growing side business!
WHO/WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SOURCE OF INSPIRATION?
Gosh, so hard to say one. I am so lucky to feel constantly inspired!! If I had to pick one though, I would say animals. And nature. And weather. And stories. And people.
FIVE THINGS YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT.
1. Is it corny to say my husband? If not, then my husband, he is really grand.
2. A dog. Right now, his name is Paco, a rescued cane corso mastiff that graced our lives 3 months ago. He makes me crazy happy.
3. Family, in every sense, equal parts blood family and friend family and community.
5. Great food (including coffee!).
6. Alija, who works at Coral & Tusk, who is a complete joy and blessing and I could 100% not function without.
Three Kisses Chelsea, Rachel and Diana
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