Uncommon thread: Introducing Coral & Tusk for Paperless Post

Illustrations of embroidered animals, including a fox, a duckling, a stork, and a lamb.

From stargazing squirrels to buffalo-riding raccoons, the cuddly cast of characters that populate Coral & Tusk’s wares are imaginative, dimensional, and frankly, adorable. Founder Stephanie Housley has been crafting these critters and their backstories, then embroidering them onto a slew of highly giftable (and covetable) home goods, since 2007. Over the years, the Coral & Tusk team has grown—but the brand’s artistry and attention to detail remain as authentic and endearing as ever. 

Made of 100% flax linen and colorful embroidery, Coral & Tusk’s creations are tactile by nature, just begging to be touched. But when the opportunity arose to collaborate with Stephanie and co. on a brand-new collection of online-only invitations and cards, we were more than up for the challenge. And lucky for us, the love turned out to be mutual. Having started an eco-conscious company of her own, Stephanie told us, “We’re thrilled to work with Paperless Post; it’s such a wonderful digital alternative to paper invites that might end up in a landfill.”

Read on for our Q&A with Stephanie, including her favorite party hosting tips, the importance of picking the perfect invitation, and which animal she likes drawing more than all the rest. 


A birthday greeting card featuring a fox in a party hat.Party Portrait” by Coral & Tusk for Paperless Post.


Hi Stephanie! How would you describe the Coral & Tusk signature style?

Coral & Tusk is all about our animal characters and storytelling, botanical motifs and feathers, and of course, things with pockets!

We try to create designs that are timeless, but also surprising and delightful. Heirloom pieces made for daily use, and that are so well-crafted, they’ll be enjoyed for years to come.  


A housewarming invitation featuring an embroidered illustration of a fox waving from inside a house.Come On Inby Coral & Tusk for Paperless Post.


You’ve said that when you create a new design, you create an entire backstory for each character. How does storytelling influence your brand and designs? 

First, I think about a design or general concept I want to explore. Then I figure out which end product will best communicate all of it—the elements, setting, and characters. Over the last year, I’ve recorded a bunch of behind the design videos with narrations of my characters’ backstories in order to really dig into each one—it’s been so fun. Sometimes, I’ll research and incorporate so many tiny details into a design that even I forget about them!


Left: A coral and burlap colored picnic place setting in a lush green field. Right: A pull quote from Stephanie Housley’s interview that reads, “Living in Wyoming, I feel endlessly inspired by its awe-inspiring landscapes and flora and fauna. Every day brings such magic, and I feel so blessed and lucky to be in this rare and amazing place in life.”Photo courtesy Coral & Tusk.


What do you do to stay inspired?

Nature has always been our biggest inspiration, whether it’s animals, their habitats, or botanical themes and other natural objects. Living in Wyoming, I feel endlessly inspired by its awe-inspiring landscapes and flora and fauna. Every day brings such magic, and I feel so blessed and lucky to be in this rare and amazing place in life. That in itself is hugely inspiring!


A party invitation featuring an embroidered illustration of a fox and a monkey lighting sparklers.Two Wishes” by Coral & Tusk for Paperless Post.


Of all the adorable animals woven throughout your work, which is your favorite to draw and why?

If I had to pick just one, I’d say foxes are my favorite. They exude sooooo much personality: they’re charismatic, smart, and sweet with one another, and they move their bodies in such interesting ways. I’ve been drawing them for so many years now—since 2007!—and because they’ve been such a constant character in our designs, my artistic approach has evolved quite a bit. 


Right: Pull quote from Stephanie Housley’s interview that reads “It’s the all-important first impression—and as everyone know,s we only get one chance at that.” Left: Stephanie at work in her studio.Photo courtesy Coral & Tusk.


Let’s talk about the new Paperless Post collection. Why do you think invitations are such an important part of any event?

They set the tone! And expectation! And intention! It’s the all-important first impression—and as everyone knows, we only get one chance at that.


How do you hope party hosts and guests will react when they either choose or receive your Paperless Post designs?

A fairly frequent piece of customer feedback we never get tired of hearing is that our designs make people smile. If we can bring any amount of joy to any experience, that’s a huge success! Our hope is that anyone who receives our Paperless Post invitations and cards feels the same. 




Over the shoulder shot of Stephanie Housley drawing feathers from life.Photo courtesy Coral & Tusk.


What’s your go-to tip for wowing guests without getting stressed out, or compromising your vision for the party?

My advice is to focus on what you’d like your guests to take away from the party. On their way home, how would you want them to describe it? Then work backward, figuring out the things you’ll need to actually create that experience without going completely overboard. Remember—the most important part is for you, the host, to feel good, happy, and not stressed. Your attitude is really what sets the tone for the whole event as you greet and welcome your guests. 


Give us your best piece of advice for someone who’s planning a party right now.  

Remember that it’s about the people, first and foremost. I was just talking with a very dear friend of mine, Michele Quan, about how we both get, like, super-duper excited about the concept of throwing a party—who to invite, what food and drink to have, how to decorate, etc. But then somehow, when it’s actually party time, we get too caught up in the less-than-perfect details, or we feel anxious about whether our guests are having an optimal experience. If you can relate, my advice is to try to recall that excitement you felt when you were first planning the get-together, and the actual reason for the party: to connect with friends, family, or both, and to enjoy each other’s company! 



Feeling ready to rally up your own party animals? Browse the entire Paperless Post x Coral & Tusk collection to find the perfect invitation.


Browse Coral & Tusk