Candy and lollipops have been popular among children and adults alike for as long as anyone can remember. The damage that these sugary snacks can do to our teeth has been a cause for concern among parents and dentists for many years. A great example of kids making change for the better in this world, Alina Morse found an impressive and highly innovative solution to the problem of sugar, turning her idea into a multimillion-dollar business.
When she was just 9 years old, Michigan-born Alina Morse launched her candy company, known as Zolli Candy. Driven by the idea for lollipops that would not damage children’s teeth, Alina had developed a formula for Zollipops, the sugar-free lollipops for which her company is now famous. With support from her father, Alina was able to start selling Zollipops through the supermarket chain Whole Foods in 2014, and the rest is history.
Zolli Candy is renowned for three signature products: the original Zollipops, as well as ZaffiTaffy and ZolliDrops hard candy. All of these are created from sugar-free sweetening ingredients, such as xylitol.
Alina has strived to ensure they are healthy snack options for children and families with a range of dietary needs, so all the candy products are not only natural and sugar-free, but also vegan and gluten-free.
Known by some as the ‘Lollipop Girl’, Alina is the CEO and company spokesperson of Zolli Candy, which she co-owns with her younger sister, Lola. Not many people can claim to have spoken on multiple national media outlets, let alone run a company that sold over $6 million of candy, at the tender age of 13. However, in 2018, Alina did just that.
In the beginning, Alina’s healthy candy products took dozens of failed experiments in her kitchen at home, as well as collaborations with nutrition, dental and food manufacturing experts, before they could become fully realised. These candy treats are now sold in thousands of stores across the United States and internationally, and Zollipops in particular are renowned, becoming Amazon’s best-selling lollipops in 2018.
Alina Morse has been driven, not only by her fascination with entrepreneurship, inventions and business in general, having wanted to lead a company since she was 3 years old, but also by her passion for children’s health, particularly dental health.
Since 2015, Alina has made and expanded what is now called the Million Smiles initiative. This dental health campaign has provided millions of Zollipops to schools and dental health organisations, and donated 10% of the company’s profits to programs intended to improve children’s education on oral health.
The keen and loving support of her family has been a major part of Alina’s monumental achievements. Her parents and younger sister currently all work for her company. Her father is her manager, her mother is her planner and coach, and her sister, who co-owns the company, works in marketing.
However, it was while Alina was building the business that her family’s logistical, financial, personal and emotional support was most evidently important to her success. Alina has noted that without her family, she wouldn’t have had the idea for Zollipops, would not have been able to create them, and wouldn’t have succeeded in founding her company.
Alina’s impressive advancement, as a child entrepreneur and one of a growing number of kids making change, would not have been possible without her passion, hard work, and the loving, invested and supportive family behind her.