EDITOR INTERVIEW

Get to know the woman behind HIVE

If you live in Palm Beach, you likely have visited or at least heard of HIVE. From Home Design & Decor to Fashion Apparel, to a Bakery & Cafe; HIVE is indeed a destination you can’t miss. Coastal Drive Magazine sits down to talk with the woman behind it all, Sara McCann.

Palm Beach County 1916 Historic Courthouse

As I approach the HIVE destination, the Café & Bakery immediately catches my eye and I even see they offer valet parking. I enter one of the many building entrances and I’m greeted by a beautifully decorated interior space that is full of color, vibrancy, and exquisite finishes that I just could not help but smile. Now I am even more eager to meet Sara and hear her story.

CDM: Hi Sara. It is a pleasure meeting you! Tell me, did you always have a passion for fashion and design?

SM: Yes, during my college years at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, I was enrolled in their fashion retailing and merchandising program. From there, I was recruited by Neiman Marcus and was fortunate enough to go through their executive management training program. I became an assistant buyer, learned the retail side and had the experience of assisting with a new store opening. This led to meeting a designer who offered me the opportunity to open up a store on Worth Avenue. So, I moved to Palm Beach and I have been here ever since!

CDM: When did you become interested in interior design?

SM: After I married my husband, we bought our first home and I initially hired an interior designer. During that process, I discovered my passion for interior design. We launched McCann Design Group so we could finish our first home and then build/renovate seven more homes. This allowed me to cut my teeth on my own projects. When our daughter hit third grade, I realized I was getting enough requests from friends and family that I should either pursue this full-time or drop it – but I didn’t want to do it halfway anymore and that’s when I really took a leap of faith.

 

Hobe Sound Social | Hobe Sound, FL

CDM: Is your work predominantly in Palm Beach County, or do you also have interior design projects in other areas?

SM: Yes, mostly in Palm Beach County. However, we have worked with existing clients on their additional homes located in other cities and states. We recently finished the Carmel, CA home of a client who was originally one of our Palm Beach clients.

CDM: Do you have a signature or favorite style of interior design?

SM: Pattern mixing and using clear, vibrant colors that work with our environment of blue skies and greenery. Our philosophy at McCann Design Group is that we don’t have a specific look. My team and I may gravitate towards a certain style but at the end of the day, it’s the client’s home. We guide our clients and pay careful attention to their style so it is a collaborative effort.

Hobe Sound Social | Hobe Sound, FL

CDM: What have you seen as far as changes with interior design trends and has it been challenging keeping current with the changes?

SM: We’ve seen a shift away from a more traditional and British Colonial style that was really popular in South Florida twenty years ago. Now we’re seeing that people want a more streamlined look. For example, mixing old Florida rattan with lucite for a fresher, more modern approach.

“When I first got married, becoming a wife and mother was what I really wanted. However, as time went on, I recognized that there is a side of me who wanted to work and express creativity — I wanted to have something that I was proud of and gave me a sense of
accomplishment.”

Hobe Sound Social | Hobe Sound, FL

CDM: You have done a phenomenal job in making your brand a destination in Palm Beach! What has inspired you over the years to keep expanding the HIVE brand? McCann Design Group – in 2000; Hive Home, Gift & Garden – founded in 2013; Hive for Her, Him & Kids – founded in 2019; Hive Trade Showroom – founded in 2021 and Hive Bakery & Cafe – founded in 2022.

SM: After we bought the building for our home store, we renovated it with finishes so that our design clients could see, touch, and feel everything. We found that clients didn’t want to wait long lead times and this lead us to the decision to sell items off our floor. We always had go-to gifts for women, men and babies and they consistently flew out the door as fast as we got them in. So, that was our “ah-ha” moment that we needed to expand that part of our business which is now Hive for Her, Him & Kids. We’ve had a robust trade business all along and we were given the opportunity to represent about 40 different brands of fabrics and wall coverings—so about a year ago, we opened Hive Trade Showroom.
Our most recent venture is Hive Bakery & Cafe which has actually been in the works for about 6 years. I will circle back around to my original job with Neiman Marcus: if you go to the downtown Dallas store, you must have lunch at the Zodiac Restaurant. If you go to Bergdorf Goodman in New York, you always go up to the restaurant on the 7th floor. At Barney’s New York, you always went to Fred’s. It just became one of those things that every great retailer has a great restaurant.
Also, the number one question we got asked during the day in our stores was “Where can I get a cup of coffee?” or “Where can I go to get lunch?” There really wasn’t anything within a radius of a couple blocks. It has been a passion project and gratefully, I found a really talented husband and wife team: he’s the Executive Chef and she’s the Executive Pastry Chef. We opened earlier this year in March and I am so impressed with my whole team and what they have been able to create. The pastry counter is above and beyond anything I could have ever imagined.

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“Every summer we take a moment, have a breather, take our vacations, and re-group to talk about what we did well, what we can do better, where we are missing opportunities, what holes are in the marketplace – and these
sessions are where the ideas come from.”

CDM: What is your secret to successfully owning/managing multiple businesses?

SM: The key to success is I’ve been blessed and fortunate enough to have a fabulous team. Whenever I interview someone, it’s got to be God first, then family, then work. We promote a healthy, happy work-life balance for our team which has enabled us to attract and retain really talented associates which has been a key factor to our success. We’re collaborators over competitors – so collaboration is key here.

CDM: How do you maintain a healthy balance of personal life and work-life balance?

SM: I’m Christian and my faith is a huge part of the success of the business. Before I make any big decisions, I attend bible study and I pray about it before making them. My husband has been really supportive – having key partners and my faith are really the two biggest things that have helped me and Hive Collective succeed.

CDM: Are there any plans for any additional HIVE expansions – divisions or other locations in other areas?

SM: Of course we do! We do have a few secret projects we are working on right now that probably won’t be announced for at least another year.

CDM: What community organizations are you currently involved with or are passionate about supporting?

SM: The community has been so supportive of us and we try to partner with 8-10 charities every year and support them in some way: whether it’s sponsorships, in-store events, baked goods from Hive Bakery & Cafe, or participating in their programs. We support The Center for Creative Education, The Alliance for Eating Disorder Awareness, The Boys & Girls Club, and many more very worthwhile organizations.

CDM: What advice can you offer to other entrepreneurs either looking to start their own business or looking to expand their existing business?

SM: I think it’s important to have a mentor but most importantly, I keep circling back to my faith. I prayed about it and I felt like I was in God’s will and moving according to what he wanted me to be doing and the path that he wanted me to be taking. There were several obstacles and people who didn’t agree with my vision or didn’t support what I wanted to do. Even if people who are close to you are not necessarily supportive, at the end of the day, you have to go with what you think is right and where you’re being led.

“You have to take those leaps of faith even when you don’t know how it’s going to end up – otherwise, you won’t ever move out of the starting gate.”

CDM: Sara, thank you for taking the time and to allow our local community readers in the Palm Beach and Treasure Coast to get to know YOU and the HIVE Brand!