It’s my 25th birthday and I’m walking to Treehouse Brooklyn down the street from the WAX BBY studio. I have a box of rose in one hand and my dying phone in another. When I walk in, I’m greeted by a giddy “Hello!” It’s Siri—the owner of Treehouse and partner of Bun Fun Thing.
If you live in the Williamsburg area, you know Siri, or know someone who knows Siri. Her shop is a neighborhood staple. She offers you a glass of bubbles when you walk in as well as help—but only if you want it. She never hovers.
On this day, however, I decide to hover. Treehouse was one of WAX BBY’s first retailers and I want to know its history.
I sit behind the counter and Siri gets us some glasses for the rose. We start to chat and I soon learn Siri found her love for boutiques by doing exactly this—walking into shops and befriending the owners.
“They would beg me not to open a shop and tell me how hard it was, but I’ve always wanted to have a store. I wanted to create my own universe.”
She got her chance in 2000, when the Lower East Side Business Partnership selected Siri for a competition. The area wasn’t nearly as developed as it is today, and the commision aimed to make Delancey a hot spot for local boutiques by providing participants with business classes.
After completing her certificate in Fashion Design at Parsons, Siri was finally ready to take the plunge. She was making her own clothes and decided to partner with a jewelry maker. They looked for a space off Bedford, but eventually landed on 430 Graham Ave where they remain today.
As Siri tells me about finding the space, her landlord Charlie walks in. She asks if he rode his motorcycle over—he didn’t. After some quick chit chat he leaves and we start to talk about the difference between now and when she first opened the shop.
“I would go outside and hang out with the neighborhood ladies on the stoop and gossip. We still do that now!”
I ask Siri why she called her shop Treehouse. She tells me it’s partly after A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which takes place in the neighborhood. But it also has something to do with growing up on the west coast surrounded by Redwoods. She always wanted her own escape.
“To me a treehouse is a utopian place where you can create your own world.”
The world Siri created is one full of local makers, as well as her own line of clothing—Big Fun Thing. Along with her associate Sarah, they make what they officially describe as “basics with an edge” and unofficially as “the thing you can wear to work, then out dancing, then sleep all night in, and wake up and go to brunch in.”
“Pretty much every day someone tells me they like what I make. And I don’t think a lot of people get that. It’s addicting really.”
We’re addicted too. If you are in the Williamsburg area pop into Treehouse! Siri or Sarah will probably be playing jazz, they might offer you some bubbles, and if you’re lucky—they’ll ask you to be a fit model!