Biennais specialized in the production of nécessaires-de-voyage from the outset of his career. By 1789 when he was 25, he had set up his shop at the "Singe Violet" in the rue Saint-Honoré in Paris as a tabletier, or maker and seller of small luxury objects. According to the mid-19th century French silversmith François-Desiré Froment-Meurice, Biennais allowed several of the young officers in the Egyptian and Italian campaigns, including possibly Napoleon himself, to take their nécessaires on credit. He was amply rewarded when they returned victorious, paid him in full, and eventually became some of his leading patrons. In 1804, Biennais became the Imperial goldsmith.
Armand Laity received this gift from Prince Louis Napoleon, later Napoleon III. Laity conspired with the Prince in the attempted capture of Strasbourg, publishing an account of the affair in a pamphlet titled Relation historique des événements du 30 octobre 1836. Le Prince Napoléon à Strasbourg. Although Laity was tried, sentenced to five years in prison, and fined 10,000 francs for publishing the pamphlet, it also made him a hero and a martyr to the re-emerging Bonapartist cause. After Prince Louis Napoleon became President in 1848 and Emperor from 1852-1870, Laity became a leading member of the Court.