Featured, News, Profiles

Alumnus finds sweet success

Lucy Calamari, 35, channeled her late-night cravings for fudge into her own business, Lucky Lucy Chocolates.

The business has a stand at UM’s weekly Well Canes Market.

Now, Calamari can add to her resume – she is the winner of the 2014 UM Business Plan Competition. She took home the $10,000 grand prize in the alumni category.

Hosted by the School of Business, the competition took place April 3 and featured business plans from three categories: undergraduate students, graduate students and alumni.

“I was happy, I was proud,” Calamari said. “There’s something very rewarding about people appreciating your work and that they believe in my brand and they believe in my product.”

With the cash prize, Calamari plans on buying more supplies and another tent to expand her business to another farmer’s market. Her goal is to be self-sufficient in the next two years where she can hire others to sell her products so she can work on making new accounts in retail.

“They had high compliments for everything that I presented to them,” she said. “So that’s a good thumbs up for me. The award is just the symbol of them approving that I can do well in business. I really don’t want to let anybody down, and now I have more reasons to be successful.”

Calamari began her business as a hobby, selling chocolate to friends and classmates. Since then, she has been able to become the business owner she has always wanted to be.

“This is really what I want to do,” Calamari said. “I don’t see myself working for anybody else. The only job I enjoy is retail, but the world of retail sucks unless you’re in the top. Making my own product and watching people enjoy what I make, it’s very rewarding.”

Calamari has been selling her handcrafted chocolates at the Well Canes Market since the end of January. She decided to sell at this market because “it’s home,” Calamari said. She graduated from the School of Business in May 2013 with her bachelor’s degree.

Calamari knew that going back to school in her thirties would mean a lot of work. When UM offered a scholarship, though, she could not refuse the opportunity.

While she was attending Miami Dade College to earn her associate’s degree, Calamari always had her sights on UM because “it’s the best.”

She took the time to visit UM and ask what she needed to be accepted. The university provided her with a roadmap of courses she needed to take. She would need three more semesters of math, including earning a “B” in calculus to enter the Business School.

Upon her acceptance to UM, she set her sights on graduation. Her schedule then became busier. Aside from school, she continued to privately sell chocolates and care for her 10-year-old daughter.

Calamari, a single mother, believes graduating would not have been possible if not for support from her mother who took care of her daughter.

“It’s very rewarding to see that my daughter sees that her mother works hard and it pays off and so when I graduated, we all graduated,” Calamari said.

After graduating, Calamari decided she would either get a job that would allow her to spend time with her daughter or she would start her own business, a plan that came to pass with Lucky Lucy Chocolates.

Calamari primarily draws her flavor inspiration from the tropical, Florida environment. When she began making her sweets, she first set about working on the texture and the colors because she did not want boring, brown chocolate, she said.

Her flavors include dulce de leche, mango, chipotle, lemon mango, cafe con leche, Key Lime pie and pistachio.

“Aesthetics for me are a big deal, my chocolates have to be beautiful,” she said. “I mean it has to be South Florida flavors so it has to also be colorful because otherwise there’s no point. That’s my brand. That’s what separates me from other chocolatiers.”

Branding also meant coming up with a name. The idea for “Lucky Lucy” came from her email signature.

Calamari would send out emails, misspelling her name at the end and sending out the word “lucky” instead of “Lucy.” Eventually, the two words became linked in her mind, and she liked the sound of it.

Her next step in creating a business was visiting the Launchpad, an entrepreneurship initiative at UM designed to help students with their business plans and goals. Calamari worked together with William Silverman, director of the Launchpad.

“She had a really different perspective on the type of chocolates and truffles she was creating and comparing them to what’s already out there,” Silverman said. “It was something she found really spoke to a group of people here in South Florida in particular.”

Silverman said he believes her next step is to continue growing, since she knows the core of her business and how to operate it.

“I know where she started and I know where she is now,” he said. “She’s made tremendous progress. Obviously, it’s not due to our work, it’s due to her work. She’s the one who has put in the time and effort. She’s refined her product, she’s refined her brand and she’s refined her sales strategy.”

 

For more information, visit luckylucychocolates.com.

 
April 13, 2014

Reporters

Ashley Martinez

Ashley Martinez is a senior majoring in journalism and psychology, which have sharpened her people-watching skills. She has worked as a staff writer, copy editor, assistant editor and is now the Edge arts and entertainment editor at The Miami Hurricane. She serves as the president of UM's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Her work has been featured in The Hurricane, Distraction Magazine, The Communique, Gables Home Page and The Miami Herald. When she's not working on a story, she loves going to the theatre and singing show tunes.


ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “Alumnus finds sweet success”

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It was midweek when Miami leading receiver Braxton Berrios wistfully spoke of his four years as a Hu ...

Eli Rosier will be back where he belongs Saturday, where he feels most at home. He will be at a foot ...

The 11th-ranked University of Miami men’s basketball team remained undefeated with a 90-59 victory o ...

They remain undefeated — but still untested. The 11th-ranked University of Miami men’s basketball te ...

It has inspired T-shirts and a Migos-style hype song. Soon, fans will have a beer brewed in honor of ...

The Finker-Frenkel Legacy Foundation gift will establish the Business Plan Competition Endowed Fund. ...

C. David Naylor, a UM Presidential Scholar and public health policy expert, provided insight into he ...

A cohort of five religious leaders from Miami, including a rabbi and imam from the University of Mia ...

Hollywood actress and star of the hit BET series Being Mary Jane gets real about gender, race and co ...

The annual development agreement meeting is a time for the city and University to share information ...

Here are three matchups to watch in Saturday's Senior Day game between the No. 3 Canes and Virg ...

The University of Miami volleyball team produced some late-match magic Friday night to outlast an in ...

Miami's seniors will play their final home game at Hard Rock Stadium when the Canes face Virgin ...

Six Hurricanes were in double figures as the Hurricanes improved to 3-0 on the season. ...

The University of Miami rowing team introduced the newest members of the Hurricanes rowing program o ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.