Gettin' figgy with it 

As the rumble of an airplane filled the skies above Los Angeles on a January day, Crystal Stanley stepped onto the patio for a moment in the sun. More than 3,000 miles away, Ellie Rothfuss settled into a snug corner of a warm, wood-paneled room at a friend's cottage in Central America. The co-owners of Figgy Studio and Shop were enjoying a well-earned break following the whirlwind of their first holiday season on Park Avenue.

click to enlarge Crystal Stanley, cofounder of Figgy. - RAFAEL RODRIGUEZ.
  • Crystal Stanley, cofounder of Figgy.
The duo’s story began almost a decade ago. Their paths interlaced when Rothfuss, a graduate student at the time, was placed in Stanley’s classroom as a teacher’s assistant. Though they didn’t connect initially, the friendship bloomed rapidly after a serendipitous encounter outside work.

“From there, it became instant, we even started doing things together with our families,” Stanley recalls. “Ellie would be like, ‘Come try this with me, come craft with me,’ and then one day we started making jewelry and never stopped.”

Figgy Studio and Shop offers refined jewelry, stylish accessories, and sassy novelties — a split reflected in the contrasting blend of the owners’ personalities. Pulling from their roots as public servants, they mirror each other, and that’s building them a reputation beyond retail goods.

Alongside curated items from local makers, Figgy is a hub for pop-up Rochester Brainery classes and fundraising events. Last year, the duo raised several thousand dollars for local animal shelters and 13Thirty Cancer Connect.
click to enlarge The retail space on the first floor of Figgy Studio and Shop. - RAFAEL RODRIGUEZ.
  • The retail space on the first floor of Figgy Studio and Shop.

“They really care about the Rochester community and making it better,” said Clare McKenna, program manager at 13Thirty. “Their ability and willingness to help and connect others, especially local organizations and businesses, really sets the tone for how our community should be.”

Long before community collaborations, there were impromptu sales for friends and family in Rothfuss’ backyard turned weekends attending pop-ups and maker fairs. As the operation grew, the pair imagined a full-time future sharing their jewelry alongside local artists in a brick-and-mortar location.

“Working in education isn’t about money,” said Rothfuss. “Most people in roles like ours have a side gig.”

Last year, a tip on the current property from neighboring Statement Boutique owner Courtney Smith catapulted that side gig from a modest Elton Street storefront to an entire house on Park Ave.

click to enlarge Ellie Rothfuss, cofounder of Figgy. - RAFAEL RODRIGUEZ.
  • Ellie Rothfuss, cofounder of Figgy.
Today, on the newly remodeled second floor, the glow of a neon sign reads “Gettin’ Figgy with It.” It’s an expansion that brings endless possibilities, from custom jewelry making classes to “Kitten Yoga” which includes, you guessed it, mindful stretching with adorable (and adoptable!) kittens.

One level below, the boutique is packed with items from over 60 local makers, including Ink and Pine Design, Petite Paper Stories, and Soul Love Candles. From handmade wares by Spirit and Thread Crochet to stylish Buffalo Bills-branded merch, there’s something for everyone.

A fuschia journal pops among the displays. In green metallic lettering it reads, "Be the girl who decided to effing go for it” — a phrase that captures the essence of Rothfuss and Stanley's journey. They are those girls, and they’re not stopping now.

Elise Martinez is a freelance contributor to CITY. Feedback about this article can be directed to [email protected].
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