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Home Is Where Hearth & Soul Is

Susie Busch-Transou, Daughter Of August Busch III Chooses St. Louis Location For Her Third Hearth & Soul Shop

Article by Robin Seaton Jefferson

Photography by Carol Green The Graceful Lens

Originally published in Clayton City Lifestyle

Ever been in a store and imagined a shimmering set of glassware sitting on your own dining room table or a particularly fabulous outfit you see hanging in your own closet? It’s kind of like that, only with the feeling you're actually home already, when walking through the double doors of Hearth & Soul at 9640 Clayton Road in Ladue. Shoppers enjoy entering the inviting, grand foyer of the delightful, home-like shop that founder and CEO Susie Busch-Transou created.

A gathering place and shopping experience, Hearth & Soul is a place where one can have a cup of coffee and wander, discovering beautiful things for yourself, your home or someone special in your life, while meandering rooms of the warm and wonderful home-away-from-home Susie has fashioned in an actual shopping space.

Hearth & Soul is filled with a curated collection of simple, modern and classic items, including top brands, as well as artisan goods and familiar pieces. Its floor plan was carefully designed to feature each room of the most precious of shoppers' spaces — their homes.

Standing in the grand foyer, one can look left to see a pets’ corner and mud room and everything from crinkle toys to collars. To the right are women's and men's closets, a hearth room, dining room, kitchen and bar, a library containing books for all ages and an actual patio whose furniture, pottery and accessories also are all for sale. There is a bed and bath area with fragrances, skincare and bubble baths.

The kitchen, family and dining rooms are arranged with virtually everything that would be in one's own home. There is table and barware, olive oil and an assortment of pepper jellies along with peach preserves and cocktail cherries. There is furniture, lighting, accessories and pillows, lots of pillows. There are candles, diffusers and self-watering planters, games and toys and puzzles.

The product placement was intentional, Susie shares. “You see everything in the setting you would see them in a home."

And the furniture throughout the store can go home with purchasers the same day. “We believe in immediate gratification, so this furniture can go home with you today,” Susie says. "In fact, it can go home on approval and visit your space. If it doesn’t work, you can bring it back.”

A businesswoman, mom, volunteer and friend, Susie’s career has spanned advertising, beer distribution, brand management and creative services at Anheuser-Busch and its subsidiaries, including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Busch Creative Services. (Her father is August Busch III). She and her husband moved to Tallahassee, Florida, in 1996 to purchase Tri-Eagle Sales, a beer and specialty beverage distributorship.

She says due to growing up in St. Louis, she's always taken to heart the Anheuser-Busch philosophy: “Making Friends Is Our Business.” After all, she saw firsthand the positive impact of Anheuser-Busch’s community involvement, and that led her to a life and career of bringing people together. “I saw the difference it made. St. Louis has one of the top 10 zoos in the country, and it’s still free. That’s because of businesses giving back to the community."

She says her father is one of the best mentors and role models in her life.

It was on a retreat with friends eight years ago that Susie came up with the idea for Hearth & Soul. “It was a crazy idea born out of a life-coaching, soul-searching and fulfillment retreat,” she says. “I asked the 15 women there: ‘What feeds your soul? Not only things, but experiences that feed your soul.’ Many of the women said their home is a gathering place. It’s a part of who we are. We feel happiest and at peace in my home,” Susie says, adding that all of the answers for the store she would create came from those questions — answers that led her to create “a unique concept in retail that is a haven within this fast-paced world where friends can connect and an inviting place to acquire carefully curated items from near and far.”

Ten months later, she opened her first Hearth & Home in 2015, in Tallahassee, Florida. The second store opened in Austin, Texas, in 2018. The Ladue store is her third.

Hearth & Soul also hosts community events, provides design services and offers a modern wedding registry.

The shop showcases a variety of partners from local communities each month including fitness, artists and nonprofits. The Hearth & Soul Summer Artist Series promotes a variety of artists in a month-long partnership each summer, offering an in-store gallery experience of their work, called a “Sip & See.”

Hearth & Soul also features established, as well as emerging, fashion designers in its closets, promoting their work and bringing awareness to them and their apparel lines.

Library partners are celebrated with in-store literary events, including book signings, clubs, sales and readings.

All of these events are promoted through Hearth & Soul’s weekly emails, website postings, social media posts and online event promotions.

Throughout the year, Hearth & Soul also partners with a number of area charities. Susie sells a candle each month honoring the organization and donating the funds from the candle to the shop’s nonprofit partner of the month.

The Hearth & Soul Wellness Partner Program runs from March through October, with a different partner each month highlighting the business or individual’s workouts, wellness routines, or mindfulness practices. This program provides an opportunity for the community and friends of the store to take part in a complimentary wellness experience both virtually and in person, Susie says.

Susie wears a bracelet with the letters “MTD” on it. She says it stands for Hearth & Soul’s motto. “You can’t bring joy to others, if you’re not positive yourself. It’s all about connecting with friends to make their day.”

"Home is a gathering place. It’s a part of who we are. We feel happiest and at peace in our homes,” - Susie Busch-Transou, Hearth & Soul founder and CEO.

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