Truffles: What’s it like being the General Manager of Sweet Designs?
Carly: “Unpredictable” and a little bit “crazy” are the first two words that come to mind, particularly at this time of year as we gear up for the holidays. I’ve been here 8 years and every day is an adventure. Our customers really love our chocolates and my job is to ensure that we exceed our customers’ expectations with our delicious chocolates and what I hope is outstanding service. We have really loyal customers, many of whom have become friends.
Truffles: Did you grow up dreaming about managing a chocolate shop?
Carly: Not exactly. It’s a funny story of how I got started here...
After studying abroad and eventually earning my degree in French and Fine Art at Hillsdale College in Michigan, I missed the culinary inspiration I had while living in France. So, I continued my education in Pastry Arts at culinary school, and eventually moved to Lakewood to get married. I was already a fan of Sweet Designs, and knew where I would be ordering my wedding favors... while shopping for wedding chocolates, my mom talked up my culinary skills with owner, Ines Rehner, and before I knew it, I had a job!
Truffles: What do you like most about your job?
Carly: The challenge – and the joy - of providing people with something they love. People most often shop at Sweet Designs for gifts for someone they care about. It’s very satisfying to help our customers find exactly what they’re looking for, while at the same time making sure that all the other moving parts of Sweet Designs are working in unison to make it happen. We also have great employees from varied backgrounds who all share the same goal of making and then delivering excellent chocolates to our customers - whether it’s someone who walks up to our store to place their order for curbside pickup or it’s a corporate customer half-way across the country who orders a Box of Dreams times six-hundred. I also love the creative part of developing new recipes, like our summertime Flavor of the Week campaign. I derive inspiration from my own travels, and from our employees who have lived in other parts of the world, to develop flavors like Turkish Coffee with cardamom and brûléed cocoa nibs.
Truffles: Any message you would like to get out to Truffles’ readers?
Carly: Yes, please order early. We are grateful that our business continues to grow nicely despite COVID-19, but because of the pandemic, filling each order takes a bit more time. We really appreciate having so many loyal customers. I should also add, you can order in October even if you don’t want to ship until much closer to the holiday... We literally do a happy dance when our customers help us plan ahead!