Picture trick or treat but with “Clean Teeth Candy” as loot. Too good to be true? Actually, it’s not thanks to Zollipops and its founder, Alina Morse. The young CEO was just 7 years old when she decided to create “a lollipop that’s actually good for your teeth.” With her parents’ support, she set out to do just that back in 2014.
Today, Zollipops has evolved into multi-million-dollar brand, “Zolli Candy.” The line of “delicious, vegan, natural, sugar-free candy” includes lollipops, drops, taffy, and caramel. These are sold by major retailers nationwide and even in other countries. The media has recognized the teenpreneur’s sweet success time and again.
With Halloween coming up, we jumped at the chance to get to know Alina. You will, too, with this exclusive interview. She also decorated an orange Christmas tree with Zolli Candy.
Achieving Work and Life Balance the Zollipops Way
Zollipops CEO Alina Morse just turned 15 this year. Look her up and you’ll see that her work speaks for itself. We discovered that the confident young lady you see in magazines or TV is a hardworking and determined individual. She also juggles her work, studies, and other interests like a pro.
Describe what a day in your life looks like now.
A day in my life entails doing virtual school from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., working or taking a break, and doing virtual dance or poms practice in the late afternoon. Depending on the day, I could be answering emails throughout the day for work or making content in between. Or, I could be doing meetings or Zoom calls with retailers or members of my Zolli team.
How do you balance school and entrepreneurship?
Time management. I focus on what I can do, NOT what I can’t. I also look at the big picture to find what will make the most of my time in the long run. You can’t do everything, so you have to make important choices that are the best for you. As the saying goes, “Sometimes the toughest decisions and the right decisions are the same.”
I focus on what I can do, NOT what I can’t.—Alina Morse, 15, Zollipops CEO
What is running a business during the pandemic like? What are you most proud of in this regard?
It’s definitely different without the travel and in-person meetings. However, we have still found ways to grow like using social media to our advantage and still trying to reach our yearly goals, which we’re still close to! And, I get to connect with my team more during the day than when I’m in my traditional public school environment.
This or That?
Student or Entrepreneur?
Surfing or Dancing?
Tiktok or Instagram?
Halloween or Easter?
Thanksgiving or Christmas?
Your favorite Treetopia Christmas tree color?
PINK… Is it time for Easter yet? 😊
Your favorite Zollipops flavor?
Your favorite Zolli Candy?
Giving Back and Going Places
Another inspirational fact about Alina is how her business goes beyond toothsome treats and profits. She makes it a point to educate kids on dental health, too. She attributes her success to her team, which includes her family members.
Tell us how your company gives back to the community.
My Million Smiles Foundation is a program for schools across the country to sign up and get free Zolli Candy products from my line for their school. This also includes information to share the importance of oral health and taking care of your smile, as well as supporting entrepreneurship in kids! We also give 10% of company profits to support oral health education in schools across America!
You’ve built a multi-million-dollar business, made a positive impact, and met influential people like Michelle Obama. What’s the highlight of your life or your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement is hard to choose. It’s tied between being invited to the White House Easter Egg Roll by the Obamas two years in a row and being the youngest person on the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine! When I think about what my legacy could be, I’d say tackling the single greatest epidemic facing kids in America today—tooth decay. This is a preventable disease and with the right education around oral health and providing access to healthier treats, we are well on our way.
If you had to credit the success of Zollipops to one thing, what would it be?
My parents and family. Without their support, I wouldn’t have even imagined being a CEO at such a young age, especially not with lollipops that clean your teeth!
What’s the most important piece of advice you can give to any young and aspiring entrepreneur?
Never stop asking questions and being curious. No matter what age you are, keep asking questions! Build a team, work hard, try, believe, never give up. AND, of course, keep smiling!
Celebrating with Candy Treats and Halloween Trees
Just like Treetopia, Halloween is one of Zolli Candy’s biggest annual celebrations. So naturally, we couldn’t help but ask Alina about her family’s upcoming plans. And, we also asked her to decorate a Halloween tree with Zolli treats.
What is Halloween looking like in your neighborhood this year? How are you planning to celebrate?
With our Treetopia touchless Halloween tree, we hope to share Zolli Candy with anyone coming trick-or-treating. Hopefully, we will be able to trick or treat ourselves! But, our front porch is definitely decked out with our favorite Zolli Candies for all to take!
Tell us about the Halloween tree you decorated. Any tips for folks who want to decorate one with candy or other edible ornaments?
Our Halloween tree was themed “Mad Science,” and it was so fun to see our vision come to life! I suggest coming up with a theme and obviously getting a Treetopia tree to match (or enter our giveaway to win one), and then pick out all your decorations around this theme. Of course, with Zolli Candy as our Halloween treats, we put them in individual test tubes all over the tree!
You can even pick up my Halloween Zollipops and Halloween Zaffi Taffy in CVS and KROGER nationally. These are limited-edition and exclusive to these retailers!
If Alina’s story inspired you, spread the sweetness and share this post with family and friends. Happy Halloween!
Photos and Halloween tree décor by Alina Morse of Zollipops