Rhody Makers: Amy and Ryan Boutchie of Coral Anchor

The Massachusetts transplants offer both classic and tongue-in-cheek nautical clothing to Rhode Islanders with a good sense of style and humor.
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Photo courtesy of Amy and Ryan Boutchie.

It’s hard to resist the allure of Bristol.

No one knows that better than Amy and Ryan Boutchie, two Massachusetts natives and the owners of Coral Anchor. After one visit to the historic seaside town, the couple was persuaded to trade in their Cape Cod address (the very town in which they first met, mind you) for the Ocean State.

“It charmed us! Bristol is a charming little town, we’re happy to be here.”

Admittedly, the move also made for a shorter commute to Amy’s job in Fall River at the time. The couple have now lived in the seaside community for twelve years, and the setting has not been without its additional perks, serving as an ideal backdrop and conduit for both Amy’s creative side and her favorite aesthetic.

“I love all things nautical, and I like to try different art and creative things,” she says. One day, I was like, ‘I want to try screen printing.’ I researched how to do it and [Ryan and I] just dove in.”

“I always took art classes growing up, but I never pursued it beyond class, doodles, things like that,” Ryan adds. “I had never really taken this path by any stretch, so it was new and exciting.”

What started as making cute and stylish clothing for themselves eventually caught the eyes of family and friends, including the owners of the Market Street Pub in Warren. The bar often hosts Maker Markets on-premises.

“We started selling our blue sweatshirts with the Rhode Island anchor graphic [as seen on Amy in the photo above] there and they became popular, so we just expanded from there,” Amy continues.

Ryan remembers the night in 2017 when they officially launched Coral Anchor — an on-point name derived from the line’s theme and Amy’s likeness for the color coral — in 2017: It was the same night as the much-buzzed about fight between UFC legend Conor McGregor and boxing legend Floyd Mayweather.

“I’m sure you know the date right off the top of your head,” he says with a laugh.

The good-humored couple try not to take themselves too seriously, and neither do their designs. On Coral Anchor’s website, you will find everything from boat neck long-sleeved shirts emblazoned with glittery tongue-in-cheek sayings like “Ship Faced” to light and breezy t-shirts sporting the pun “yeah buoy” (accompanied by adorable buoy illustrations, of course). One of Amy’s personal favorites is the “Mama Needs a Drink” muscle tank.

“Our products are also very simple,” Ryans adds. “I think, if anything, we’re intentionally understated; we like clean, simple designs. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel!”

Yet though the designs may be simple, the Boutchies ensure the clothes are of the highest quality.

“Quality is big for us. “We’re really looking to put quality garments out there that we believe in and that will last for people, and that we think people will enjoy wearing and hopefully tell their friends about.”

Everything, including the design and printing, is done in Bristol, more specifically in the workspace above the couple’s garage. New designs and items are added to the inventory whenever the inspiration strikes.

“I don’t switch it all out each season, but I will add a couple new things each season,” Amy says. “Whenever something pops into my head, I make it and release it.”

One thing they do have planned, though, is a collaboration with Thrive Outside, a nonprofit dedicated to helping youth become engaged students and earth enthusiasts through outdoor learning initiatives. A computer programmer by day, in her free time Amy is also involved with the organization’s committee, helping to develop garden spaces and natural learning environments at school where both students and teachers can, well, thrive.

“We’re going to start working with them to create an outdoorsy-themed line. The profits from that will go towards the non-profit,” Amy explains.

In the meantime, you can find Coral Anchor products online or at Harbor View Artisans in Wickford, or catch up with the couple themselves at markets across the state, including this coming weekend’s Charlestown Seafood Festival and Field of Artisans events.