The Beast started out as a flower micro-shop on Weibo – with a catch. The concept blossomed and The Beast is now a national chain with multiple branches (stems?) in Beijing alone.
That catch was that customers didn’t have a say in what was made nor could they see the bouquet before it was sent. They could only give the details of what they wanted to say with the flowers and to whom, and the story would be translated into a bouquet by Amber Xiang, former Shanghai television producer, turned art collector (turned accidental florist).
This tactic took root on Weibo, and the curated online flower shop earned 100,000 followers in six months. Riding the wave of their Weibo fans, Xiang opened a full e-boutique (The Beast Shop), which later expanded offline to their bricks-and-mortar shops across China.
The Sanlitun location, opened last October, is the shop’s fourth location in Beijing and has already made enough impact to make it on to our list of Beijing's 50 best shops. They have others in Chengdu, Nanjing, and their headquarters, in Shanghai.
‘Our shop is not just about flowers, it’s about "a rosy life",’ Isabelle Zhuang, chief operating officer of The Beast says at their new Sanlitun shop.
The lifestyle shop certainly lives up to that description as you walk in: the confusion of flowers and luxurious products immediately brought to mind Marie Antoinette, Alice in Wonderland and The Secret Garden.
‘We tailor make everything based on the
stories people would tell us,’ Zhuang says of their flower boutique, which is
still the focus of their business. At the shop you’ll find roses from South Africa and tulips from the Netherlands. But
they don’t come cheap, bouquets start at 600RMB.
Every shop is different. At
Sanlitun, the feeling is light, girly and young. You’ll find design-focused
homewares from British designer Tom Dixon, musky candles from French label Mad
et Len, charm bracelets by Italian brand Dodo, and house-branded floral printed
silk scarves, pillows and shoes.
Upstairs, the shop opened a café serving a high tea set (488RMB) to refresh the Alices and Marie Antoinettes of Beijing.
Patrons could be seen sipping on
warm cups of Mariage Frere tea while nibbling on decadent layered cream cakes garnished
with a big, red rose on top.
The store will also launch a health-focused dinner menu in March, according to Zhuang.
The Beast S3-11, S3-21 Taikoo Li 19 Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang district See full address details