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About Us

The long story short…actually, it’s kind of long.
Read below for everything you ever wanted to know about us and more.

Who?
Heart is owned by Brittany Smith, Carly Barrett, Kait Gilcher, and Amanda Hensler. It was opened by Brittany Smith in October of 2015, and Carly Barrett, Kait Gilcher, and Amanda Hensler officially became co-owners in October 2017.
The team at Heart believes in the spirit of our community and giving back wherever we can. 

What is Heart?
Heart is a boutique located in the Historic Oregon District in Dayton, Ohio. Heart offers a variety of gifts, handmade goods and one of a kind items made both local and abroad.

Why the name Heart?
The answer is fairly simple but loaded with personal sentiment, history, and multiple meanings.

Fourish years ago, Brittany had a dream that she owned and operated a shop in the Historic Oregon District of Dayton, Ohio with her friends. An anatomical heart logo adorned the front door. The name of the shop?
Heart.

You may be wondering: why would one dream about a heart?
The short, easy answer: it was on her mind.
In her household the human heart is a constant topic of conversation. Brittany’s first born son, Mason, was born with congenital heart defects (CHD). This was unknown to her throughout my pregnancy and discovered when he was one week old. At the suggestion of the pediatrician, they went to a cardiology appointment at Dayton Children’s, where multiple problems were uncovered. Mason was born with a coarctation (narrowing) of his aorta. He is a bicuspid: two leaflets versus the standard three that most people have. His leaflets are deformed and tend to stick; a nurse once compared them to Nemo’s fin. Mason was also born with a deformed, leaking aortic valve. He was only getting 25% of the oxygen he needed to the lower half of his body. If this had not been caught when it was, they would have lost him within the next day or so.

Mason was immediately transported via ambulance to Cincinnati Children’s, where he was prepped for emergency surgery.

Since the initial surgery of coarctation repair, Mason has had a failed balloon cath, and an open heart surgery (Ross procedure) to replace his valve with a cadaver valve, and a stint surgery. He will need additional surgery, and is monitored at Dayton Children’s regularly to determine when. When she began working to make this back burner wish a reality, she decided to stick with the initial name and anatomical heart from my dream, as no other name had the same sentiment.

The heart stands for much more than just a throwback to the original dream.

Elizabeth Stone, an author who is probably much wiser than us once said:
“Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

The heart is a representation of my love for my children.

You can’t live without your heart, and my boys are my heart. Life without them would be impossible, like trying to live without my own physical heart. As all mothers do: we hope, we laugh, we worry, and we kiss ouchies and boo boos constantly, all the while trying to do the best for them, and shape them into awesome, good-natured people, all the while they’re actually teaching us, and making us better. As all children tend to do, my boys manage to make me smile, laugh, cry, and debate running away from home and joining the circus-sometimes all in a five minute span of time. They make my heart so full, and bring me so much purpose. They motivate me to try harder at everything, and always strive to be the best that I can be. Plus, they’ve taught me how to multitask like a mother f*cker. They’re my reason for everything-sometimes the reason I’m losing my mind, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I definitely feel like my heart is running around outside of my body, and that is unquestionably the best, and at times, the most terrifying feeling in the world. Their snuggles and wild curiosity are the source of endless entertainment, and a love I never could have imagined. Plus, I probably wouldn’t be cut out for circus work, so I stick around.

The heart also symbolizes our love for our community, and our desire to give back. We are Dayton natives-born and raised. It is the birthplace of inventions like the airplane, the pop top on your beer can, the cash register, and so much more.
Dayton has an incredible amount of talent, be it musicians, artists, and professionals. It has history, diversity, and grit. We love our city, especially our fellow Daytonians.

The last reason for the anatomical heart? It is an affirmation to ourselves that dreams really do come true…if you believe in them enough, are patient yet ready to seize an opportunity, and of course, work your ass off.