Alina Morse: the teenager who made a million

Fourteen-year-old Alina Morse created Zollipops, her sugar-free confectionery company, out of her desire for treats that wouldn't rot her teeth.

Inside the plain-looking headquarters of multimillion-dollar confectionery company Zollipops there is a corner office decorated with “sparkling pink dance trophies, paintings of smiling suns and construction-paper family trees”, says Lakshmi Varanasi in Entrepreneur. The artwork, and the office, belongs to the company’s founder and CEO, 14-year-old Alina Morse. Zollipops, which sells sugar-free lollies and other sweets, was born out of Morse’s desire for treats that wouldn’t “rot her teeth”, as her father had warned her after she had been offered one on their way out of a bank. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

After two years of online research and home testing, Morse used $3,750 (saved from birthday and holiday presents over the years) to start her company, with a matching investment from her father, says Julia Curley on After travelling to various manufacturing plants to get her product made and packaged, she pitched it to Whole Foods. The chain became her first stockist, and she sold 70,000 Zollipops in the first year of business. 

Zollipops are sweetened with a combination of natural sweeteners such as xylitol and erythritol, which studies have found to reduce plaque and oral bacteria. Today, the Zollipop is the third best-selling lollipop on Amazon, surpassing classic American brands such as Dum Dums and Tootsie Pops, says Jon Miltimore on They are sold in around 25,000 major retailers in the US, including Whole Foods, Walgreens, Walmart and Kroger. Annual sales were $6m in 2018.

Morse’s entrepreneurial spirit was encouraged by her parents. Her father gave her the top-selling book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, which taught her she could “create a company, but with a mission”. While overseeing her company and manufacturing what she calls the world’s first healthy sweets, Morse still tries to live a balanced life. Between pitching Zollipops to national retailers and approving packaging, she goes to school and dance class, and still finds time to see her friends. 




Don’t squeeze our entrepreneurs with higher taxes

Britain’s entrepreneurs and business innovators get generous tax breaks. They should keep getting them.
17 Nov 2019
Small business

New grants for the self-employed

Self-employed workers can now apply for government support if their income has been affected by Covid-19.
22 May 2020

Julian Hearn: taking the hassle out of lunch

Julian Hearn developed Huel as a "functional" food to replace meals for the time-poor.
13 May 2020

Kate Daly: why you should break up with divorce lawyers

After a particularly acrimonious and expensive divorce, Kate Daly quit her job to set up a service to help couples separate without rancour.
12 May 2020

Most Popular

EU Economy

Here’s why investors should care about the EU’s plan to tackle Covid-19

The EU's €750bn rescue package makes a break-up of the eurozone much less likely. John Stepek explains why the scheme is such a big deal, and what it …
28 May 2020

As full lockdown ends, what are the risks for investors?

In the UK and elsewhere, people are gradually being let off the leash as the lockdown begins to end. John Stepek looks at what risks remain for invest…
29 May 2020

In support of active fund management

We’re fans of passive investing here at MoneyWeek. But active fund management has its place too, says Merryn Somerset Webb.
25 May 2020