Truffles: How did you come to work at Sweet Designs?
Maeve: My older sister was working here for two years before I started. She introduced me to Sweet Designs. I interviewed with the manager at the time and my first job was in the kitchen when I was barely 16.
Truffles: What were those early days like?
Maeve: It was much different then; I feel that I didn’t understand responsibility then. Ines really took me in and kind of mothered me and trained me a lot. Even as busy as she was, she always took the time to make sure that I was comfortable and that I knew what I was doing. I started in the kitchen, but as I became more confident in myself and my abilities, I actually asked Ines to do retail as well. She always wanted me to, but I initially told her ‘I can’t talk to people and that I don’t have the social skills'. Over time and with lots of help from Ines and the rest of the team, I’ve learned those skills and a bunch more. I’ve also learned how to help our phone customers and how to ship products as that’s a very important part of our business. We have many corporate customers from across the country.
Truffles: Any surprises on the retail customer side?
Maeve: Yes, it’s been a pleasant surprise to see just how friendly and patient so many of our customers can be even if they do have to wait during our busy season. It’s also been nice to see how willing our customers are to let us help them with their selections as they’re trying to find just the right gift. They’ll tell us the occasion and are very comfortable with taking our counsel.
Truffles: Any other things that have surprised you?
Maeve: Yes, the interaction between Ines and our customers is something to see. It’s amazing to see how many Sweet Designs customers have a personal link with Ines. And some of those links stretch back for decades. It often feels like a true mutual admiration society. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen it to that degree with other small business owners.
Truffles: The biggest thing you’ve learned from Ines?
Maeve: Confidence and responsibility. She’s taught me a lot about her business but also about life in general. Through her many motivational talks with me, she’s taught me so much and how to look out for other people. The other really important thing Ines has taught me is the importance of paying attention to the details.
Truffles: As a recent Ohio University grad with an impressive 3.82 grade point, what are your longer-term career plans?
Maeve: I’ve always wanted to be a teacher and early on I saw the difference a great teacher can make in a child’s life. My degree is in Early Childhood Education and I’ve applied for several positions and am actively looking for a teaching position in NE Ohio. In case any Truffles readers are looking for a highly motivated new teacher, please let me know. My hope is that I’ll still be able to help Ines and the team some Saturdays and during the busy holiday seasons.
Truffles: What do you do for fun when you aren’t working?
Maeve: I spend a lot of enjoyable time with my family. I’m in the middle – with two older sisters and two younger brothers, a mom and dad and two dogs. We typically like to play cards and have cookouts. I also like Indians games, going to the zoo and I have a great group of friends I’ve known since pre-school.
Truffles: Your favorite Sweet Designs treat?
Maeve: Marzipan and orange peels are what I like best.