Shanghai-based lifestyle shop The Beast has set up its fourth Beijing shop in Sanlitun’s Taikoo Li, bringing a dash of youthful Marie Antoinette elegance to the corporate neighbourhood.
The Beast has quickly grown from a small, curated e-flower business on social microsite Weibo to an e-boutique and finally, to bricks-and-mortar shops across China, offering a slice of what life could be if you were a teen queen like Marie.
The story behind The Beast is unique in itself. A few years back former television producer Amber Xiang began offering story-telling bouquets on Weibo – with a catch. ‘The customers couldn’t see what the flowers looked like before the bouquet was sent,’ says Isabelle Zhuang, The Beast’s chief operating officer, explaining how customers could only give details of what they wanted to say with the flowers and to whom, and the story would be translated into a bouquet.
Six months later, the flower shop had earned 100,000 followers. Riding the wave of her Weibo fans, Xiang opened a full e-boutique, The Beast Shop, which later expanded offline to shops across China.
The core of The Beast’s business is still surrounded by flowers, as is obvious as soon as you enter the two-storey Sanlitun shop with its large range of imported fresh flowers from South Africa and The Netherlands. But the flowers don’t come cheap, with prices starting at 600RMB for a simple bouquet.
‘Our shop is not just about flowers, it’s about “a rosy life”,’ says Zhuang. Inside, 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-print silk scarves, pillows and shoes. Upstairs, there’s a decadent café where shoppers nibble on pastries and sip Mariage Frère brews during the afternoon high tea service (488RMB).