He's your guy when you're looking for anything from a stylish dish brush to a sofa, or a memorable gift for a friend.
Vesa, tell something about this photo!
Obviously, I can't remember when this photo was taken but my ex-nanny brought it to me a couple of years ago from her archives. I'm proudly there in my favourite attire: in a dress of my big sisters.
What's your background?
I guess my sister's dress kept haunting me because life threw me to study fashion design at the Aalto University. Designing as such was actually not The Thing for me personally but I found my place quite naturally on the commercial side of the business. I worked for quite a while as a Country Visual Merchandizer for Diesel and had the opportunity to observe in the front row how fashion industry runs its machinery from the drafting table to the customer's shopping bag.
After Diesel I moved on to be a Concept Visual Merchandizer for the Swedish jeans retail chain JC, to create a new shop concept. A couple of years ago the French interior decoration chain Habitat started to plan beaching to Finland and that was a great chance to change profession in a smallish scale. I could join in the building of the chain from scratch. On my table there were not only the shop fittings but all the purchases from furniture to home accessories. And now this newest page of my life was turned when Tanja called me and told that she's got This Great Idea :)
How would you describe the lifestyle TRE is offering? What's the spirit of TRE?
I want the customers to experience the whole scale of emotions when they are browsing in the store: it may be a scream of pure joy when they meet some almost forgotten memory from their childhood – e.g. the Kerhopullo plastic juice bottle or Airam's red thermos flask which every Finn knows. We also want to present a certain spectrum of design epochs; old classics combined with new modern items. Plastic piggy banks are displayed with handmade clay tableware, creating interesting combinations. The end result is a homely hodgepodge of beautiful things and products with a story.
The most important thing, absolutely, is that both we and the supplier can truly stand behind the products: we know who has made them, where and how. I personally am totally overwhelmed by how incredibly many fine items are designed and produced in Finland.
There are also plants and flowers in TRE's range of products, why?
Plants are such an essential part of home and decoration that it felt really natural to have plants in our selections. Our aim is to offer as varied a selection of plants as possible, which you would not necessarily see in every flower shop. I choose them like a brave amateur: what looks beautiful or otherwise interesting. Old traditional houseplants are also interesting: asparaguses lovingly cherished by Great-Granny look now again so fresh with all those lovely nostalgic memories. We intend to add also cut flowers to the selection: we would be offering ready-made and fun bouquets, which would be so simple to grab with you.
Your favourite things at home?
My collection of badly taxidermied animals and the garden. My home is styled with vintage objects and I roam through every possible junk yard and estate sale.
Vesa Kemppainen is the Director of Lifestyle & Flowers at TRE