14YearOld Makes 22 Million Running Her Own Candy Empire


Inside Edition


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my name is Alena Morris I'm 14 years old I'm the CEO creator of Zahle candy and this is a day in my life we are in jolly world headquarters I'm a girl who just wanted to help people smile because I'm a kid running a company and people tend to be pretty skeptical about that I decided right then and there that I was going to be the one to make it happen give me ten minutes I'll talk and you'll realize I know my stuff [Music] it's 7:00 a.m. we are making breakfast well not really doing it lunch to help make breakfast I'm encouraging my mom who's making breakfast for us I'm the CEO of Zahle candy and that means I work in product development sales and marketing I travel to trade shows I talk to buyers like most kids I love candy I figured you did too zolly candy is different from other candy because it actually cleans your teeth 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 please welcome the creator of lollipops we have about 25 thousand retailers and then also we sell internationally now mom I mean did you go to culinary school Elina came up with a lot of ideas for the kid she wanted to create robot daddy's you 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 gonna be this big we just thought okay sure we'll support it you've got 90.7 coming up comm practice the sales meetings at 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 brought 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 it's 9:00 a.m. and we're on our way to the 98.7 the breeze radio interview I'm super excited I'm here with Clint my publicist see you there Lena is certainly our youngest client it's usually the same question but I usually i started with elena when she was 9 certainly was a little surprised when her dad called and you know said he had this this candy company that the nine-year-old was was running scrolling through Instagram some I maybe feel like a soccer dad you know driving heard it two different things 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 whatever she's done you can talk about product lines that you just launched good to meet you nice to meet you I am so honored to have you Elena in the studio to talk about your story [Music] I originally came up with the idea and I was on a trip to the bank with my dad the bank teller offered me a lollipop only they looked up 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 you make a healthy lollipop that's good for my teeth so like I have candy and it wouldn't be bad for me and so you couldn't say no his reaction was kinda a little surprised he was like oh well I mean that 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 Ollie pops looking good okay we got it how did you think it went it went good yeah he's he's great like he's super high-energy like that's that's what that was a fun radio it's 10:00 a.m. and I'm headed to palm practice got a change out of this and I'm ready to dance it up I love palm 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 days like every kid in America you know she gets up to 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 our normal kid I'm in all 9th grade classes except for marketing they bumped me up a year for hats one of her extracurriculars is business and she loves it she's passionate about it she does it because she wants to do it I definitely have some challenges balancing school and valley 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 I with my team about once a week just to catch up in an environment outside of the office let's go [Music] traffic delta less you're safe that's awesome that's something that's really really exciting you know thank you guys all for for coming here to celebrate it's been a great year so far I'm looking forward to how the rest the year turns out [Music] I'm posting an Instagram story basically saying that I'm re on out therefore okay 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 like I forget we just came back from lunch and now we're here at Valley world headquarters my yoga skills show you around oh they're just kind of fun like we had some air shows you know like I'm not hanging on the wall we have our star system this is also like our idea board slash order board this is mine in 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 and warehouses and manufacturing the 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 then she still does a school but she's a CEO of the company she is much better at time management than I would ever be at that age or just always smiling and we all have gorgeous smiles because we have solid glass it sometimes because you don't have time to play with me and then other times it's cool / like you get to see your sister on like the newspaper and it foreign and magazine this is my fluffy chair we of course can't forget my fluffy chair like 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 valley candy what's new with the EC RM in August what's the plan for that I would say the most challenging aspect of 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 cushy 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 ten minutes I'll talk and you'll realize I know my stuff it's four o'clock I'm an outfit five and we're right here at Walgreens we're gonna go check out zolly candy in the set let's go that's a spicy display five every second one this is normally where we're sold in the sugar free and organic area in the candy aisle thank you so much this is the home cooking at bus eat healthy healthy mind healthy body so we're back from the office and with my mom we're here making dinner and this is outfit number six by the way all right if you want to say grace oh when I created lollipops and zahle candy we made it cause based so we give 10% of our profits to poor oral health education in schools across America I just kind of liked the idea of selling something to help people amen [Music] we've nearly tripled in sales last year and we're on such triple this year so if that 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 Sally Pops 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 zahle candy it was really really cool we often do yeah it was really fun my team and my family are really great about reminding me hey Lina you're still a kid you have time to do this like you don't need to be super glued 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 trying to find efficiencies for her and with her she's a really hard-working kid as for personal goals I'd like to drive in in a couple years but I want to 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 [Music]