Truffles: How did you happen to come to work at Sweet Designs?
Holly: It’s kind of funny. I moved into our apartment right across the street and every day I walked past Sweet Designs with its lovely chocolate aroma calling to me. It looked like a great environment with lots of smiling people. Then I saw an ad on Indeed, the online job site, that you were hiring for the Christmas season and thought that would be ideal seasonal work. And the commute wasn’t too bad! I love working here and it has turned into this full-time job.
Truffles: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Holly: I just finished my master’s program at Kent State and received my degree in mental health counseling and I’m starting to look for a position as a counselor. I really like the environment here as I like staying busy and being hands-on and there’s always something to do.
Truffles: How has your education helped you at Sweet Designs?
Holly: My undergrad degree is in psychology and I was looking into doing research labs, but realized I really wanted to work in a field where I could ‘hands-on’ help people and interact with them instead of just working behind the scenes in research. I’ve discovered I really like helping customers and working with people. It’s funny because my first major was business.
Truffles: What have you learned about business from Ines?
Holly: I’ve learned a lot from her, including - to not be wasteful. There’s always a use for everything. The other day at my house we were getting low on the Dawn dish soap and my boyfriend went to throw it away and I grabbed it from him and said ‘No, that’s precious’ and I squeezed the last drops out of it.
Truffles: Other things you’ve learned?
Holly: You don’t think about how much work goes into making each product. How many people it takes to make one truffle or how many people it takes to create a favor order. How many people are involved in creating our products, including cutting the ribbons. You don’t want to cut too much ribbon so that you end up throwing it away. I’ve also learned the importance of communicating so that everyone knows what they need to know to get the job done right.
The other thing I’ve learned is how much people love Sweet Designs’ chocolate. They’ll line up outside in 10-degree weather to get their chocolate. And we have customers from all over the country. We’ve had people come to the store who say ‘my family has sent this chocolate to me for years and now I’m finally here’. It’s kind of like we’re famous.
Truffles: Hardest part of your job?
Holly: Just having knowledge of the all products and knowing where everything is and being able to help the customer and to meet their expectations, particularly our customers who have been shopping here for years.
Truffles: Where did you develop your people and customer service skills?
Holly: I’ve worked with people since I was 16 when I started training people how to ice skate. I taught 5-year-olds through adults how to skate. It was a great way to develop my skills and to learn about people. And then, I got to work at a small amusement park. I like to have fun and to work with customers to brighten their day.
Truffles: Tough question - your favorite chocolate?
Holly: I have so many favorites. It depends on what mood I’m in, but you can’t beat the butter crunch toffee. It’s the perfect size, a little bit of crunch.
Truffles: When you’re not working, what would be a fun day for you?
Holly: I love to walk in the Metroparks and to be outside. I love living in Lakewood and being able to walk everywhere.
Truffles: Any message for our customers?
Holly: Thanks for all the support. I’m hoping that Sweet Designs makes a little piece of their life special by providing chocolate and bringing a little bit of joy to everyone during these challenging times.