Most 13-year-olds are busy assessing their circle of friends, working on school projects or being obsessed with the latest fads. Alina Morse is not like most girls her age.
The young teenager has been in the candy business since she was 7, when a problem she faced sparked a solution that many kids and parents can agree on.
The origin story is straightforward, but the proof is in the business, Zollipops, which was expected to make $2 million in 2018.
“When Alina Morse was seven years old, she went to the bank with her dad and the teller offered her a lollipop,” the Zollipops website explains. “While she really wanted to accept, her parents always told her that candy was terrible for her teeth.”
“So she asked her dad, ‘Why can’t we make a lollipop that’s actually good for your teeth?’ And in that moment the idea for Zollipops® was born!”
“Together, Alina and her dad set off to make delicious lollipop treats that were actually good for teeth. In 2014, the first Zollipops treat hit the shelves: a vegan, natural, smart and yummy candy. Alina became known as the ‘Lollipop Girl,’ a true Kidpreneur!”
“Alina’s little sister, Lola, came up with name Zollipops when she tried to pronounce one of the teeth-friendly ingredients. Alina was looking for a catchy name, Lola said “Zollipops,” and the rest is history!”
Many kids would have pouted at the parental “no candy” ruling, and few have the motivation to turn to practical solutions. But Alina’s father Tom said that her inquiries were incessant.
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For two years, which is a long time when you’re in the single digits, Alina researched, tested and revised. It took about $7,500 in startup money according to MarketWatch, but considering what it’s become, that was a small price to pay.
We all know candy is bad for us, that it rots our teeth and turns energetic children into demonic banshees, but what makes this lollipop-looking creation different? They’re made using stevia, erythritol and xylitol, according to the Chicago Tribune. These ingredients aren’t just sugar substitutes, though, they actually help prevent the conditions necessary for tooth decay.
Alina tested these out, taking into consideration her own sensitivities to artificial coloring and her friends’ allergies to gluten and peanuts. The result was a convincing “zollipop” that is vegan, dairy-free, naturally colored, fruit-flavored, sugar-free and gluten-free.
Success has been sweet, and Alina has also come up with “Zollidrops” and “Zaffi Taffy.” Her products can be found on Amazon and at Walmart, Target, Whole Foods and a whole bunch of other grocery chains.
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