NAME: Alina Morse
BUSINESS: Zolli Candy, which makes sugar-free candies, including lollipops and taffy, based in Detroit, Michigan
Alina’s Candy Corp.: Zolli Candy
STARTING HER BUSINESS
Alina came up with her idea for teeth-cleaning candy after a trip to the bank with her dad when she was 7 years old. She was offered a free lollipop by a teller, but her dad reminded her that candy was full of sugar and bad for her teeth. “Roughly 7 years ago, there were no healthy candy options on the market, and I loved candy,” explains Alina. “So I decided to make healthy candy so I could eat it all the time and it wouldn’t be bad for me.” In 2012, she began experimenting with sugar-free formulas. She began selling Zollipops at Whole Foods two years later.
ON THE JOB
After she created her candy, Alina had to learn how to run a business. “On the way to school, my dad and I talk business updates,” explains Alina. They may discuss plans for launching a new candy. “After school, depending on if I have any extracurriculars like dance, I’d go straight to the office or work from home depending on what I have to knock out before the end of the day,” says Alina. She talks to retailers to get her products in their stores. Another big part of her job is creating videos for Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter to share the Zolli story. “It’s really important to me that everyone on my team is organized,” she explains. “This involves really laying out how we want the day, the week, or the month to look like.” Alina manages a team of 10 that includes people working on research and development, marketing, and operations.
COOLEST MOMENT: Alina’s business landed her on the cover of Entrepreneur magazine! “It was an honor to represent the young entrepreneurial community in such a big way, shining a light on the fact that kids can do anything,” Alina says. “It was such an amazing experience I never imagined would ever happen to me.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED
Alina’s learned a lot from running her own company—especially since she hasn’t finished high school yet! “Asking questions is really important,” she says. “I feel like once you stop asking questions, you stop being curious, and you stop growing.” Alina constantly asks questions to learn from her team and the retailers she’s partnered with to sell her candy.