14YearOld Makes 22 Million Running Her Own Candy Empire


Inside Edition


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(wrappers crinkling) (piano plays) My name's Alina Morse. I'm 14 years old. I'm the CEO Creator of Zolli candy, and this is a day in my life. (energetic music) We are in Zolli world headquarters. (energetic music) I'm a girl who just wanted to help people smile. Because I'm a kid running a company, people tend to be pretty skeptical about that. (energetic music) I decided right then and there that I was going to be the one to make it happen. Give me 10 minutes, I'll talk (audience applauds) and you'll realize I know my stuff. (wrappers crinkling) (energetic music) (food sizzling) It's seven a.m. We are making breakfast. Well, not really doing anything much to help make breakfast. I'm encouraging my mom who's making breakfast for us. I'm the CEO of Zolli candy, and that means I work in product development, sales and marketing, I travel to trade shows, and I talk to buyers. Like most kids, I love candy. I figured you did too. Zolli candy is different from other candy because it actually cleans your teeth. (energetic music) They taste like, literally, normal candy. I would say my favorite flavor is orange. I'm not really sure why. When I first came up with the idea, I had no idea it was going to turn into such a large company. (energetic music) Please welcome the creator of Zollipops, (crowd cheers) Alina! We have about 25,000 retailers, and then also, we sell internationally now. Mom, I mean, did you go to culinary school? Alina came up with a lot of ideas as a kid. She wanted to create robot daddies. She wanted to create peanut butter and jelly in tubes. So, it was her decision to pursue this over all the other ideas that she had already created. We just didn't think it was going to be this big. We just thought, okay, sure we'll support it. You've got 98.7 comin' up, pom practice, the sales meetings, staff lunch. I was only seven when I came up with the idea. I've always kind of had this entrepreneurial mindset, and when I was probably five years old, my dad read me the book "Rich Dad Poor Dad". And so, I kind of looked at that and I said, "I could create a company, "but I could create it with a mission. "I could actually help people through business." All right, we'll see you guys later. Bye. It's nine a.m., and we're on our way to the 98.7 The Breeze radio interview. I'm super excited. I'm here with Klint, my publicist. See you there! (energetic music) Alina is certainly our youngest client. It's usually the same questions that I usually get. I started with Alina when she was nine. Certainly was a little surprised when her dad called and said he had this candy company that this nine year old was running. Scrolling through Instagram. Sometimes I maybe feel like a soccer dad, driving her to different things since she obviously can't drive yet. I'm just looking at memes. And I'm just waiting for my window to jump in and talk business again whenever she's done. Obviously, you can talk about your new product lines that you just launched. (energetic music) (Klint mumbles) (Alina laughs) Welcome everybody. Hi. Hi, how are you? Good, how are you? Pleasure, nice to meet you. Alina. Good to meet you. Alina Morse, nice to meet you. Pleasure to meet you. I am so honored to have you, Alina, in the studio to talk about your story. (acoustic music) I originally came up with the idea when I was on a trip to the bank with my dad. The bank teller offered me a lollipop. Alina looked up at me and said, "Dad, can I have one?" And I said, "You know, it's up to you. "It's filled with sugar," but you know, I left it up to her to make the decision. And she declined, and we walked out of the bank, and she said, "Dad--" "Why can't we make a healthy lollipop "that's good for my teeth so that I could have candy, "and it wouldn't be bad for me?" And so, he couldn't say no. His reaction was kinda, a little surprised. He was like, "Oh, well, I mean that's a good idea." I talked to my dentist and my dental hygienist. They helped me brainstorm some ingredients that I could use to have that teeth cleaning aspect which was very crucial to the process, of course. She stuck with it, and today, there's Zollipops. Lookin' good, okay, we got it. Perfect! How do you think it went? It went good, yeah. He's great. He's super high energy. That was a fun radio interview. It's 10 a.m., and I'm headed to pom practice. Gotta change out of this, and I'm ready to dance it up. (dance music) I love pom. It's very similar to dance, but it's something that I can do in school so I'm starting high school, and I already kind of have my own group of friends. Her day's like every kid in America. You know, she gets up. She goes to school. She works hard on her classes. A lot of people think that I'm just exceptionally smart, and that's why I'm able to start a company, but I'm really not different from a normal kid. I'm in all ninth grade classes except for marketing. They bumped me up a year for that. (laughs) One of her extracurriculars is business, and she loves it. She's passionate about it. She does it 'cause she wants to do it. The ends have to move out. I definitely have some challenges balancing school and Zolli Candy, but I have a lot of help from my team and my family. I changed again, and now, we're here to meet with my staff. I like to meet with my team about once a week just to catch up in an environment outside of the office. Let's go! (rock music) Hi. (laughing) We're on track to double last year's sales. That's awesome. That's so cool. That's really really exciting. (laughing) You know, thank you guys all for comin' here to celebrate. It's been a great year so far. I'm looking forward to how the rest of the year turns out. (glasses clinking) I'm posting an Instagram story basically saying that I'm already on outfit four of the day. (rock music) I really don't post as many stories as I would like to. I definitely should post more, and I'm like working on that, but I just, I get busy, and I forget. (rock music) So, we just came back from lunch, and now, we're here at Zolli world headquarters. My yoga skills. Let me show you around! They're just kind of fun. We had some extras, and we go, "Why not hang 'em on the wall?" We have our star system. This is also our idea board slash order board. This is mine and my dad's office. We have about 10 people that work for our company, and then, we have dozens of people that help us on the day-to-day in warehouses and manufacturing of product. And this is Larry! He works in accounting. He crunches the numbers and occasionally helps me with my math homework. I'm the Operations Manager here. I've worked for the company for two years. This is the warehouse. It's unique that she still goes to school, but she's the CEO of the company. She is much better at time management than I would ever be at that age. We're just always smiling, and we all have gorgeous smiles because we have Zollipops. It's sometimes hard 'cause she doesn't have time to play with me, and then, other times, it's cool 'cause you get to see your sister on the newspaper or in a magazine. This is my fluffy chair. We, of course, can't forget my fluffy chair. Conference call, fluffy chair. Hanging out doing homework, fluffy chair. It's just kind of like the answer to all of life's problems. Our company has grown exponentially since the launch of Zolli Candy. What's new with the ECRM in August? What's the plan for that? I would say the most challenging aspect of running a company is definitely learning as I go. It's kind of difficult occasionally when I walk into a meeting, and people kind of give you the who is she kind of look because you know I'm a kid running a company, and people tend to be pretty skeptical about that. I'm like, "Okay, give me 10 minutes. "I'll talk, and you'll realize I know my stuff." It's four o'clock. I'm in outfit five, and we're right here at Walgreens. We're gonna go check out Zolli Candy in the set. Let's go! (upbeat music) That's a spicy display if I've ever seen one. This is normally where we're sold, in the sugar-free and organic area in the candy aisle. Good job! Thank you so much. (wrappers crinkling) (upbeat music) This is home cookin' at its best. Eat healthy. Healthy mind, healthy body. So, we're back from the office. I'm with my mom, and we're here making dinner. This is outfit number six by the way. All right, if do you wanna say grace, Lola? When I created Zollipops and Zolli Candy, we made it cause-based so we give 10% of our profits to support oral health education in schools across America. I just kind of liked the idea of selling something to help people. Amen. (rock music) Did you have a great day? We've nearly tripled in sales last year, and we're on such triple this year so if that tells you something, we're really growing. And so, that's super exciting for us. You know how they had that little sign out front that's like a digital sign? Well, it actually had Zollipops on that little digital sign rotation, so. Yeah, that was really fun. We got some great pictures with that. Also, in store, they had a big end cap of all Zolli Candy. It was really really cool. That's a pretty awesome day. Yeah, it was really fun. My team and my family are really great about reminding me, "Hey, Alina, you're still a kid. "You have time to do this. "You don't need to be superglued to your office chair." She really has to maximize how she's spending those minutes, and so sometimes that means we take certain things off the plate for her. Just tryin' to find efficiencies for her and with her. She's a really hard workin' kid. As for personal goals, I'd like to drive in a couple years, but I wanna help people, and that's kind of always been the goal. I'm gonna finish up having dinner with my family, but thank you guys so much for spending the day with me. I hope you enjoyed a day in my life, and of course, keep smiling! (rock music)