Job Title: Candy Maker
Type of Company: We sell unique gifts and candy, create gift baskets, fill special orders for weddings and showers, etc.
Education: BS, Biology, St. Norbert College (De Pere, WI)
Previous Experience: After college, I got married and raised four children. It wasn't until my youngest went to college that I began a career working at a candy and gift store. I started working there as a part-time sales clerk. Over time, I was asked to help make candy. Today, I'm a full-time candy maker at a candy store.
Job Tasks: Mostly, I make candy. On a typical day, I make truffles, special candy mixes, or cookies. The treats that we sell are unique and high quality, so I might spend an entire day hand-dipping pretzels in chocolate drizzle or making perfectly shaped cookie cutouts. Sometimes the work is tedious, but our customers expect our candy to be as beautiful as it is delicious. Holidays like Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, and Halloween are huge for us. However, even more stressful than these holidays are weddings and showers, when we are asked to make 100 or more of a particular type of candy. One woman wanted our beautiful candy apples for her wedding guests. I had to make 200 of these the morning of the wedding. My wrists ached for two days after that project! I especially enjoy discovering new ideas. If I find something online or in a magazine, I might try it out and bring a sample to the store's owner. She's very receptive to new ideas and is happy to let me try new things. This is my favorite part of the job - the creative part - and keeps me interested.
Around the holidays, I help the store's owner with fairs and shows. These are a lot of work, as we make hundreds of samples for people who visit our booth and have a lot of stock on hand for those who wish to purchase something.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is its flexibility. Working for a small business owner allows for a flexible schedule and lots of creativity. The toughest part is the stress that comes with deadlines around the holidays and big events, like weddings or craft fairs. Overall, I really enjoy what I do.
1. Take classes. If I had to do it again, I would have gone to a culinary school. Of course, I had no idea that I'd go into this field when I was a student 35 years ago.
2. Be prepared for long hours around the holidays. The holidays are crunch time for retailers.
3. Don't be afraid to be creative. In fact, you've got to be creative to stay in business. People want to see new things when they come into the store, but don't forget about all of the old favorites that keep people returning.
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