After she received the equivalent of an MBA at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, she worked at Anheuser-Busch before moving to Tallahassee to run a beer distributorship.
Eight years ago, she attended a birthday retreat for two good friends from Duke. As part of the festivities, each of the participants spent an hour with a life coach, the Rev. Catherine Paretti. Paretti asked each one what she loves and what makes her happy in her life.
For Busch Transou, the answer was her home, which she calls her "peaceful place," her community, her business, her family and her friends. At the end of the session, Paretti said, "I see a storefront in your future."
At the time, Busch Transou was nearing 50. She had raised three children, co-owned a successful business and was involved in charitable and community work. But she asked her friends at the retreat how they had answered the question about what they loved, and their answers were all the same — their homes, their families, their community.
The similarity of their answers, and the storefront in her future, led her to create Hearth & Soul.
People cherish their homes, so she designed the stores like a comfortable home where shoppers can relax and feel at peace. And they cherish their communities, so she makes the stores a place for community.
That's not just an abstract notion or a marketing slogan.
Every month, the stores partner with a local charity (this month it's Mercy Kids Development and Therapy Center), which chooses a candle that the company sells. Throughout the month, all of the proceeds from that candle's sales goes to the charity; the store also hosts a party for the charity.
In addition, every month the stores bring in a local health and wellness professional (this month it's B3 Yoga) to hold yoga classes or workshops about healthy eating and exercise. The store also holds fireside chats about various topics by the hearth in the family room and occasional wine tastings in the foyer.
Every quarter, the stores feature the artwork of a local artist for sale, too. Jessica Hitchcock's colorful acrylics will be available through September, with the handcrafted wooden furniture of Martin Goebel sold for three months beginning in October.