Southern Charm

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Chris Williard's Blacklick home looks like a Pinterest page-every table set with layers of plates and prettily-ringed napkins, glass bottles of pink lemonade perfectly arranged in an ice bucket, mini cupcakes perched daintily atop a tiered cake stand.

It's no wonder she owns a gift boutique, because the woman certainly has taste.

Williard, 47, spent years traveling often for business (she's a nurse by trade who sold surgical equipment for Johnson & Johnson) and pleasure. But when she looked for gifts back in Columbus, she could never find what she wanted. "I know it's out there," she would say. "I've traveled enough to see it's there."

So she opened her own shop, La Belle Maison, in New Albany.

After about 10 years, with a teen daughter and a busy son she wanted to be able to shuttle to golf practices and the like, she closed the store's doors.

Now, three years later, she's back-this time online.

Williard launched Susabelle, an online boutique, in November, where she sells a variety of American-made housewarming gifts, baby gifts, wedding gifts and more.

"I think it has a southern touch," she said. "I want you to say, 'I can certainly find a gift in here without spending an arm and a leg-and I can find a gift that is adorable."

My two cents? She's accomplished it.

I visited her home to check out her goods in person. (Could that $44 black bee cuff look as good live? Yes-even better!)

Here are a sampling of items I'd recommend:

For hostess: Vintage fork cheese markers, $28

For baby: Monthly milestone stickers (1-12 months-great to stick on Onesies for photo ops!), $14.99

For birthday: Archipelago Botanicals Soy Milk lotion, $25

For you: Black bee cuff, $44

Williard's top gifting tip? Layer it-no matter the gift. For example, if you're gifting a spreader, pair it with honey. If you're gifting a spoon, tie it onto gourmet pesto. Gifting candles? Give a box of pretty matches, too.

You'll find Williard's shop at

--Kristy Eckert, @kristyeckert