From Brooklyn to Pinedale: An embroiderer’s journey

PINEDALE – It is a rainy morning and staring through a glass door is a giant Neapolitan mastiff named Fuji.

He is not a dog you would expect in Pinedale. But then again, neither is his owner’s business Coral and Tusk – a specialty embroidery shop that originated in Brooklyn, N.Y.

“Some of my favorite designs are the ones I did when I was dreaming about moving here (Wyoming),” said Stephanie Housley, owner and designer of Coral and Tusk.

Housley started her business in 2007 in Brooklyn. Prior, she had 15 years of textile industry experience, with much of it spent in India.

One of the first things she mentioned is she has always hand embroidered – even as a kid sitting in front of the television So this was important to her when starting Coral and Tusk.

Housley wanted to keep her personal touch in her embroideries while also benefiting from the efficiency of technology.

“I needed a machine that could help me go commercial but also capture my personal touch,” Housley said. “Otherwise, it is just an image being scanned, which there’s plenty of embroidery digitizing that’s more normal like you see on beach towels.”

Housley was able to figure it out. She starts by sketching her design on paper and then scans it onto a computer. She proceeds to redraw the design on the computer “stich-by-stich.”

“It’s essentially hand embroidery except in the computer,” Housley said.

Housley creates a prototype of the embroidery for the producers in India.

All the designs are embroidered only on unbleached, natural linen for environmental reasons.

Housley continued with this process in Brooklyn for nine years, receiving praise from Vogue, Martha Stewart Living, Elle Décor and more. But, in 2016 she and her husband decided to move to Wyoming. Both are originally from Ohio and were looking to move out West.

“After living in Brooklyn a lot of people in the city move upstate. We didn’t feel like that would satisfy us,” she said. “We hit a point where we weren’t having a well-rounded life. We love nature and outdoors and both at the same time said, ‘Let’s move to Wyoming.’”

They had only ever been in the Jackson area, but upon searching for houses they discovered Pinedale.

“We both said, ‘What is this place?’ We’d never seen anything like it before,” she said.

They ended up settling down in Hoback Ranches. They originally planned for it to just be a summer house; then they decided to stay for a whole year, but two years later they haven’t left.

“As soon as we came we were like, ‘We’re never going back,’” Housley said.

Just recently Housley decided to open a distribution store for Coral and Tusk in Pinedale. However, she still has her showroom in Brooklyn.

Originally, Housley tried to distribute through a third-party fulfillment center, but it did not meet her quality standards.

“This is much more nuanced,” Housley said. “The products are at a certain price point that people expect a level of service; for example, a handwritten note.”

Her products range from throw pillows to quilts to napkins to cards. Each has a unique animal-themed design, with the most recent being the jungle collection.

“I always drew animals when I was little. I grew up with one dog, one cat and one fish,” Housley said. “We came out to Wyoming with our dog who passed away, and now we have Fuji.”

While Housley works, Fuji underestimates his large size. He is a gentle giant that occasionally takes off with a pillow.

Aside from Fuji, Housley works with a team of two in Pinedale. Although it is not a retail store, as the majority of sales are online, the space looks like it is right out of Brooklyn. It is a crisp white, open room with handmade wooden shelves and dozens of small lights hanging from the ceiling.

Although Coral and Tusk could easily fit into the Jackson culture, Housley said she never considered it.

“Nobody is invested in the community. It is such a transient town that it is hard to find consistent reliable employees,” she said. “I didn’t even really think about doing it in Jackson. It literally didn’t cross my mind.”

Housley’s distribution store in Pinedale is still relatively new, as the first shipment was March 14. Going forward she hopes to integrate her business with local seamstresses, as well as continue to become a part of the Pinedale community.

Housley welcomes anyone to swing by to take a tour of the store, located at 229 Cole Ave., and the products, as well as say “hi” to the Pinedale store’s mascot: Fuji.

Housley’s pillow collection in the Pinedale store. She said much of her inspiration for designs came from her trips out West.

Housley’s dog Fuji lounges around the office during the workday. She recently adopted him after moving to Wyoming.

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