Photo Credit: Courtesy of Heartbox Photography
Andrea Lacy's Struggles With Dyslexia Led To Her Successful Dessert Business
Sometimes, mistakes can be blessings in disguise.
Andrea Lacy, owner of California-based Luv’s Brownies can attest to that. During her freshman year at San Jose State University, Lacy was baking a batch of brownies for a friend when she realized that the batter was unusually thick. She went ahead with the recipe, which produced what is now her signature brownie. It was only later that she noticed the quantities had been transposed incorrectly as a result of her then undiagnosed dyslexia.
“I never intended on being a baker,” she said.
In 1996, while working at Hewlett Packard, Lacy used her recipe and SEO skills to open the first internet-only bakery. Luv’s is named after her childhood doll, which also inspired her heart-shaped brownies.
Recently, she ventured into a more physical set up with her first dessert truck as her company celebrates 25 years in business.
“We’re able to travel about the county and get permits to go to other counties,” she shared with Travel Noire. “So I feel like I have my own little mobile storefront if you will.”
Lacy admits that she always wanted a food truck but wasn’t sure how she would go about making it memorable.
“I always thought a brownie truck would be really boring if it’s just brownies and milk or brownies and coffee. I didn’t really feel a connection to having just brownies on a truck. So I thought and prayed about it. A few of my friends were just telling me, ‘You make really good coffee.’ And I thought that’s kind of cool.”
The San Francisco native thought of some other treats which might complement her existing products and set out on the road with her new menu.
“I thought brownies, coffee, and ice cream. I’m part Cuban and I decided I’m going to make Cuban coffee, house-made waffle bowls and cones, so people feel like they really have an experience when they come as opposed to just going to a regular ice cream shop.”
As another nod to her heritage, Lacy decided to integrate the music of legendary Cuban singer Celia Cruz, who died in 2003.
“I dance salsa, and I’ve always adored her music,” she said. “I reached out to her people regarding one of her songs that I really like, and they provided me the rights to use her song on the truck. The song that I chose is “Life is a Carnival” (La Vida Es Un Carnaval). It talks about how life knocks you down, but you have to get back up.”
Lacy on giving back
Lacy knows a thing or two about rising above adversity and wants to lend a hand to the next generation experiencing the same struggles she did early on. She has established a foundation and scholarship for high school students who are going to a four-year university, a vocational school, or a junior college.
“My scholarship foundation is called the Grit Award and what it’s intended to do is award high school students who have shown grit and tenacity throughout their high school years. I struggled in math and didn’t know I had dyslexia. I’m looking for someone that’s just like me. Someone who is tenacious, but really wanting to get to college. I failed the same math class five times, so I’ve shown tenacity in so many ways. I want to pay it forward to the next person who has potential learning disability issues they’re not aware of.”
Lacy has accomplished a lot over the past few decades and still hopes to do more. She loves the aesthetic of her new truck and would love to see it placed in movies. Luv’s Brownies have also been sold at the San Jose Giants baseball stadium for over a decade. But when asked about her proudest achievement, her 15-year-old son is top of mind.
“He used to help me bake. And now what he does is phenomenal. He will load up and organize things in the truck for me. He may come to some of my events in the beginning to help me set up, and then he’ll go back home, or he’ll go to karate, and then he’ll come back to help me break down.”
For more information, visit LuvsBrownies.com or call (408) 757-8009.