My Other Life: Melodie Hand, chocolatier

Melodie Hand, nail tech. In her other life: chocolatier.


“We had our home inspected and approved for commercial confectionary production.”

Melodie Hand’s life as a successful chocolatier officially began several years ago with an order for chocolate-dipped Oreos bearing the logo of a pharmaceutical company on the wrapping. A nail tech of 18 years, Hand temporarily put her beauty career on hold in 2002 to open The Chocolate Works & More!! with her son Anthony, then 12. It was Anthony’s desire to become a professional chef that motivated her.

“We felt that it was our duty as parents to help nurture his talents and give him the best start we could professionally,” says Hand, the mother of four boys. “So we started taking local candy-making classes. I have always loved creating in the kitchen, and working with chocolate was just something that came naturally to me. We started out working from home as a hobby and people were loving our creations, so we decided to open a regular storefront.”

They soon outgrew their small storefront and eventually moved into a 3,400-sq.-ft. retail space that included a dessert café. “Finally, we realized that our specialty was not in retail — it was in catering to larger corporate accounts that want custom labels,” she says. So they moved the business back to their home. “We had our home inspected and approved for commercial confectionary production,” she says.

Right now, The Chocolate Works processes between 2,000–3,000 pounds of chocolate per year, while Hand keeps up a full-time schedule at Nail Designs by Melodie in Raleigh, N.C. The businesses do have one area of overlap: She uses chocolate bars with custom-printed wrappers as nail service gift certificates. Check out the chocolate business at

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