||Scientific research has deemed it almost impossible for bees to fly; their wings are far too small and weak to support the giant abdomen and thorax of the airborne bee. However, bees have defied all odds and do in fact fly many places every day, thus proving wrong science and nature.
The same concept is true for owner and lead designer of The French Bee, Michael Hansen.
Unable to afford a workspace or even a table to work off of, Michael started his business on the floor of his garage with only a hundred dollars in his pocket. He would share with friends his business idea, but received doubt and criticism over his potential success. However, similar to bees, Michael and The French Bee defied the odds, quickly reaching unexpected heights since it bloomed in Phoenix’s affluent Biltmore area. The French Bee’s origins are humble ones. The company concept blossomed over ten years ago, when Michael would create and sell his one-of-a-kind silk floral creations at upscale farmers’ markets and exclusive boutiques. His floral arrangements created so much buzz, especially at the farmer’s markets, that Michael realized he needed to start a retail business, and quickly.
So in order to guarantee a successful business launch, Michael spent the next couple years working two jobs to save money, all the while creating and selling arrangements every chance he had, including on his lunch break and before and after work. Michael developed a loyal client base, and when he had enough money saved up he expanded his business. The first French Bee store opened in 2005 and was a mere 600 square feet; currently Phoenix is home to four French Bee retail locations, in addition to a 12,000 square foot wholesale studio, where his renowned, one-of-a-kind floral arrangements are created.
The seeds of success for The French Bee’s wholesale business were planted within their retail stores. The idea began blooming in Michael’s brain when he realized that designers were constantly approaching him, asking for custom arrangements to sell to their clients. It grew even bigger when vacationers stopping by the store became intrigued and fascinated with the artistic arrangements on display, often asking if The French Bee stores were located in their hometowns, or if the products were sold outside of Arizona. Michael quickly recognized that his custom floral arrangements generated a need from East to West, and he knew there was no other option but to start shipping them to clients. Thus, The French Bee’s wholesale business began, emerging almost as swiftly as a flower blooms in nature. Quickly, it grew to include more than 2,000 customers in two short years, with clients all over the world including China, the Middle East, Europe, North America and South America.
Michael operates the wholesale side of his business more like a small, “mom and pop” type shop, rather than the large, international success it’s grown into. He does not allow the excellence of his work to be sacrificed because of price. The quality and authentic appearance of The French Bee’s floral arrangements, combined with the cutting edge designs, help make The French Bee’s wholesale business truly memorable. The staff values their relationship with every client, and since every arrangement is one hundred percent handmade, the skilled staff and designers can customize any wholesale order. At market, people are perpetually in awe of what the designers create, stopping to marvel at the uniqueness of the floral arrangements, often reaching out to touch and smell the flowers, speculating if they are real. The French Bee staff treats every floral masterpiece like it’s their last creation, paying close attention to detail, thus creating a diverse selection for clients and designers.