Valerie Gordon is the owner of Valerie Confections, one of the nation’s most highly acclaimed boutique chocolatiers, founded in 2004 with her partner Stan Weightman Jr. We visited Valerie at her brand-new Glendale, CA headquarters where she shared how she is working to create a welcome environment for customers, employees, friends and family.
What does creating a welcoming space mean to you?
“Allowing space for people to be themselves, and allow as many freedoms as we can to make them happy. In our new office and salon space we really tried to bring in a feeling of home. We are a family-owned company, we have children who are around alot, and the philosophy of the space is we want our staff to feel at home here. We actually used alot of our old furniture from home and had it refinished and upholstered - for us, home and work mesh on a pretty integral level. With customers, we are also enabling that freedom, where they can curate their own box of chocolates and we get to engage with customers the way we like to as well.”
The holidays are all about gathering people around the table, and Valerie has honed her tried and true tips for controlled chaos in a large setting.
“The key is never trying to make it too perfect or too ordered. Create an environment where people can come in and be themselves. Always greet them with a beverage. Always make sure there is food on the table when they walk in the door. Always serve family style and let people serve themselves. Always set up a bar and drink stations where people can grab what they like. Always plan for too much food and too many people!”