Archive for young entrepreneur

Zollipops: The Lollipops That Clean Your Teeth

At just 7 years old, Alina Morse saw a need to be filled while in line at the bank. The bank teller offered her a lollipop, but Alina refused because her parents always told her that sugar was bad for her teeth. Exasperated, she later asked her father, “Why can’t we make a lollipop that’s actually good for your teeth?”

From that moment on, the two started working on what later became known as Zollipops. Alina’s father helped with $750 of the startup cost and Alina saved up her money until she had enough to start the company. The whole family participates in running the Zollipops company, and Alina calls herself the “idea person.” She uses her imagination to come up with new products and flavors.

Not only are Zollipops sugar free and made with natural ingredients, but they are also beneficial for your teeth. The company has further expanded to offer Zolli Drops (comparable to hard candy) and Zaffi Taffy. All of these products are held to the same standard of good ingredients that are safe for dental health. They are available in a variety of flavors from mint to assorted fruit flavors.

At such a young age, Alina was able to see a gap that may only be seen from a child’s perspective. I admire the responsibility she demonstrated in caring about dental health, and her desire to provide a way for children to enjoy lollipops without all of the damaging ingredients. Her perspective challenges me to look for gaps I may not see in my daily life since I am no longer a child.

Alina exhibits a drive and passion for her company, and I believe that is one of the reasons why she is successful. She cares about her product because it was a personal “pain” she felt and so she did something about it. I strive to have the perceptiveness in recognizing and solving the pains and inconveniences I encounter in my everyday life.

He Must Increase, I Must Decrease: HE>i

What started as a simple phrase became a successful clothing and decal shop. Kaimana Plemer, Kainoa Plemer and Chris Ballard live on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii. They are part owners of the brand HE>i. The idea for the brand was born in 2003 when Kaimana Plemer wanted to create a catchy design for his screen saver. He liked the “>” symbol, and then, he remembered John 3:30. “He must become greater and greater, and I must become lesser and lesser.” The brothers opened a smalls store in Waialua with their friend, Chris.

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The small store became a hit and the company now runs two store on Oahu. The stores carry clothing, decals and many other products with the “HE>i” logo. Many larger companies have contacted “HE>i”, asking to sell the products in their own stores, but Kaimana, Kainoa and Chris have refused. They prefer to focus on their current stores and the sales they make online. In these markets, “HE>i” has had immense success. The logo can be seen across the country and across the world.

I remember walking into the store and being amazed that the company made enough profit on t-shirts and decals to run two whole stores! The brand catches the eye and leads people to ask questions. What a great conversation starter about faith and God. I found this brand and its message to be inspiring. If you have not seen it already, check it out!