Young Millionaire: This 13-Year-Old Is Set To Make $6M In Candy Sales By 2019 This Teenpreneur Is Set To Make $6M In Candy Sales By 2019 Just weeks away from starting the eighth grade, 13-year-old Alina Morse isn’t worried about her summer reading assignment; she’s focused on making decisions for her million-dollar candy company, Zollipops. Zollipops is a pioneer in the good-for-you candy market. By utilizing Zylitol and Erythritol as natural sugar alternatives, they are pushing traditional candy brands out the door, and the proof is there. They recently outsold Dum Dums and Blow Pops on Amazon, and are on track to triple their 2M in sales by the end of 2018. Alina Morse, ZolliPops founder and CEO “These brands have been around since before I was born,” says Morse. “It’s kind of crazy, being sold side by side with these brands, but to top them in sales is insane and beyond my wildest dreams. I’ve found that parents pay more to get something that their kids will benefit from. That’s something that we’re doing that nobody else has really caught on to yet.” Morse recently landed the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine, and is the publication’s youngest cover star to date. She was in class and missed the call from her public relations manager. “I called him back, and he told me I got the cover. It was so crazy, one of the best feelings ever,” she says. Growing Up CEO By now Morse has gotten used to the amalgam of media appearances and interviews. Being the face of a company isn’t stressful for her, it’s one of her strong suits. Her first television appearance was on Good Morning America when she was 9. “It was so exciting, I really wasn’t nervous because I had my pitch down and had practiced,” says Morse. “I’m a person who’s really natural on camera. I really love acting and singing and dancing. It’s always been very natural to me.” But as the public face of Zollipops, Morse has faced her fair share of doubters and disbelievers. Like many female CEOs, she’s become used to the plight of people not taking her seriously as CEO and founder, and mistaking her for just a spokesperson of the brand. “I feel like as I progress and grow the company I’ve proven people wrong, and shown people that I do work really hard for Zollipops. I try to block out any negativity or any people that don’t believe that it really is my company.” And while being on TV and the cover of magazines is impressive for anyone, let alone a 13-year-old, Morse says her friends don’t talk about it much. “I’m just a normal kid and that’s how I like to be treated,” she says. Cavity-Free Candy Craze The idea for Zollipops came to Morse in 2014, when she was only 7. She was at the bank with her dad, and the bank teller offered her a lollipop. “My dad always told me that I shouldn’t have candy – because it’s terrible for your teeth. So, I asked him, “why can’t we make a healthy lollipop that’s good for my teeth so I can have candy and it wouldn’t be bad for me?” After two years of research, plant trials, and consulting dental hygienists, these natural, gluten-free, nut-free, vegan and non-GMO lollipops landed on the shelves of Whole Foods. “My first meeting ever was with Whole Foods. I was 9 years old; I was pretty nervous of completely getting rejected by the executives,” recalls Morse. “I went in there, I did the pitch that I practiced, and it really went very smoothly. They loved the product, they loved the way it tasted and the story behind it.” That’s pretty much the case with every channel Morse has pitched to. Now sold in Whole Foods, Amazon, Kroger, Walmart, and breaking into international markets in Korea, China, the Philippines and France, she’s a success story for young entrepreneurs everywhere, with a solid mission to boot. “Tooth decay is the single greatest epidemic kids face in America today, according to the U.S. surgeon general. I found that during my research, and I thought, what if we can do something to change that? That’s why we created a lollipop that’s not only sugar free and good for you, but actually cleans your teeth.” Work, Life and the Future Morse has always been a leader even at school during group projects. She’s always had intrinsic responsibility and self-motivation, she says. “Usually in school, it’s group work and you’re all working together,” says Morse. “It’s similar at Zollipops but with the responsibility of leading the team.” And although this young millionaire isn’t ready to give up on school yet – she plans to go to college after graduating high school (It’s much too soon for her to pick a major, but we’re betting on business) – she says that she’s learned incredibly valuable skills through running her company that she wouldn’t have otherwise. That’s one of the many things Morse is inclined towards: learning more and more about business. “I don’t know everything about business, but I am experiencing things out in the real world. That’s why it’s important for me to learn about what every person on my team does,” she says. “Especially the accounting and logistics, everything like that, I don’t really know how to do because I’m so young. I think it’s important that I learn about all of that so I can be personable when I’m talking to my accounting person or my logistics person, and really understanding every aspect of it.” What she does understand is the momentum of her company, and where it’s headed. At the moment she’s developing several new flavors and perfecting their colors. But like any entrepreneur, Morse has to take time off to achieve the proper work/life balance. Later, when she leaves the office, she’s headed to dance practice. “Last week and this week we have summer intensive. It’s where you go to the studio and get ready for the year because we haven’t danced since the end of the school year for Nationals.” Parents as Partners Turning the whims of a 7-year-old child into a growing empire is not an easy feat. It takes a solid business mind from both parents and child to turn an idea into cash flow. Before becoming the business consultant for Zollipops Tom Morse, Alina’s father, was a business consultant to other companies. “He has really brought me up in such a way that I’m learning a lot every day about business and life skills,” says Morse. Part of that skill set involved finding her own funding for her project. Whatever Morse made, her father agreed to match. Together, they came up with about $7,500. Morse brought her half in with Birthday money, Christmas money, and donations from her grandparents. After the initial investment they hit the ground running. Since then they have invested a sum back into the business and launched Zaffi ® Taffy and Zolli ®Drops. Zollipops now employs six people, not including part-time workers and brokers – people who really help to make Zollipops a success, adds Morse. They have a logistics person, an accountant, a graphic designer, and a public relations manager in addition to Morse’s mother, who works as stylist, and her business consultant father. When asked if she considers her parents her employees, Morse pauses. “I don’t. Because at the end of the day, they can still ground me.” Isabelle Hahn Isabelle Hahn is an editorial associate for SWAAY and a journalism student at Northeastern University. Alongside SWAAY, she contributes to Reverberations Magazine, Society16 and The Avenue.