Cat Anderson: '[Style] is a reflection of your personality'

Attribution/author:Article by: Megan Merino
Publish date: 28 July 2022

Article Type:by:

Get to know the founder of Treen, a designer clothing store specialising in to-die-for garments that don’t kill the planet

Since the age of eight, Edinburgh-based entrepreneur and stylist Cat Anderson has dreamed of owning her own shop. ‘I would always draw stores,’ she  recalls. ‘I’d draw the shopfront and windows; I would talk about what the mannequin displays would be; I would even lay out visual merchandising directives . . . and it was always “Treen” above the door.’

Clearly destined for a career in retail, Anderson would go on to spend a number of years in Shanghai and Hong Kong (‘retail is like an Olympic sport over there’), building skills and expertise she would later use to make her childhood dream a reality. Treen (Cat’s family nickname) is now one of the charming independent shops on St Stephen Place in Stockbridge, selling clothing and lifestyle products from specialist brands with squeaky-clean supply chains. It was Anderson’s adoption of veganism that made her re-evaluate the way she shopped for clothing. ‘I started thinking that what I’m eating can translate into what I’m wearing, but then I found it very difficult to find what I was looking for: stylish products, a cool shopping experience that’s fun, and feeling prioritised as a customer but also meeting the new priorities in my life of being vegan, sustainable and ethical. So I thought I’d give it a bash myself.’

Cat Anderson and her dog Nessie

Committed to upholding Treen’s ethos, Anderson ensured every aspect of her shop was selected with utmost care, from the finish on the walls (Clayworks plaster that is naturally purifying and made from abundant materials in Cornwall) to researching and forging relationships with her favourite ethical designers.
‘There’s always talk of “we can restock you within five minutes”. Those things are little teeny red flags for me. I’ll just ask “how is that possible?” We would all be doing it if it was possible to do that sustainably.’

But it was precisely this tenacity which got brands like Angela Roi, Skall Studio and Girlfriend Collective on board (the latter chose Treen as their first UK stockist: ‘it was a big proud moment’). From the online launch in June 2019, Treen opened its Stockbridge store last September, and extended its range to include menswear in May this year. 

Why was the in-person store so important? ‘For me, with what we do, it’s so important that people touch, feel and get to know the fabrics and the fit first-hand,’ Anderson says. ‘It also brings in a lot of other elements that we’re really interested in such as interiors and music and helping people out with styling.’ 

As anyone will realise when visiting Treen (and meeting Anderson), style is an all-important element of the brand. ‘It’s a reflection of your personality and how you’re feeling that day,’ she explains. ‘We do the hard work for people. My biggest goal was that you can walk into Treen and you don’t have to be flipping up labels. You can just trust that every single thing you pick up in one of our stores or on our website will be ticking all of the boxes.’

Treen, 2–4 St Stephen Place, Edinburgh, shoptreen.com

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