As a 7 year old, Alina Morse visited a bank with her father, Tom. The bank teller offered her a lollipop but her dad explained that she should decline because lollipops were not good for her teeth.
“Dad, why can’t we make a lollipop that is good for your teeth?” Morse questioned. That experience inspired Morse to design a healthy lollipop. And with encouragement and support from her family she began researching just how to do that.
“Zollipops” are created
Morse talked to her dentist and dental hygienist to gather information on what ingredients to include to create a lollipop that would be good for your teeth. Morse invested $7,500 she had received from her grandparents in the idea and by 2012 she was selling “Zollipops”, the first natural, non-GMO, sugar-free lollipop. Morse and the Zollipops team created a lollipop that not only tastes good, but the ingredients work naturally to help reduce the acidity and balance the pH in mouths, making the lollipops actually good for your teeth!
By the end of 2015 she had sold her millionth Zollipop. “It was a really long process, but we worked really hard and kept going,” Morse explained. “We started selling Zollipops when I was 9 years old.”
Ann Arbor Family caught up with the now 12-year-old Morse, who lives in Walled Lake, 30 miles north of Ann Arbor:
What advice would you have for teen entrepreneurs with an idea they want to develop?
Well, my first piece of advice is to believe in yourself and write your ideas down. I have always wanted to invent products, since I was 5 years old, and I had a binder that I would write my ideas in. I also think it is important to ask questions; ask an adult or teacher. It is important because that is the way you will learn things. ‘Work hard and never give up,’ that is what my family told me.
What was it like trying to develop an idea when you were so young?
Being a kid, sometimes people do not take you seriously. You have to believe in your ideas and surround yourself with a great team: your family, or friends that believe in you and your idea.
What do you do currently to support the Zollipops company?
I work in product development and come up with new ideas. I go to the sales meetings and trade shows, take sales calls and generally try to help out the team here at Zollipops when I have extra time.
Tell us something that is special about your company.
We are a cause-based organization and 10 percent of all sales go to support oral health education in schools and qualified organizations. We started a 250,000 smiles initiative and support our mission through donating Zollipops to teachers, schools, and other organizations. A smile will have everlasting powers. It is the first thing that people see, so it is important to protect your smile!
Zollipops are sold at Whole Foods and Kroger as well as
online. Check out zollipops.com for more information.