ALA student Morgan Pelser ‘20 has been running a cotton candy company since she was 11. She shares some lessons she has learnt so far and what plans she has in store.
“My name’s Morgan Pelser. I’m from Bloemfontein, and I’m a small business owner,” says this ALA Class of 2020 member. These words are potent when you know that 18-year-old Morgan started her candy floss business at the age of 11.
“A friend of my mom’s came to town and was selling a candy floss machine and asked if I wanted to start my own business. I was 11 at the time and this sounded like the best thing ever, so we got the machine and I got started,” says Morgan.
Seven years later and Morgan is an award-winning business owner who has mastered the technicalities of candy floss making (it is not as easy as it looks) to create a sugar free candy floss that can be enjoyed by all.
“I would spin all this candy floss with friends around and one of them couldn’t taste it because she is diabetic.” This realisation sparked an idea, but it wasn’t until Morgan decided to enter the Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE) South Africa competition, that she decided to explore what alternative treats she could create- and so the sugar-free candy floss range was born.
Taking this unique approach to a timeless treat has not been without its challenges: after spending countless months in the kitchen with a chef, Morgan finally perfected a recipe that resulted in a first place finish at the SAGE South Africa competition.
When asked to reflect on what running a successful business (at her young age) has taught her, she says, “You just have to overcome your fear of talking to people. I remember how difficult it was going to a store, not knowing anyone and having to ask to speak to a manager. But that’s also taught me how to sell. The biggest skill is definitely learning how to sell, talking to strangers, and making pitches on the spot – that’s such a huge lesson,” she says.
Speaking of lessons, selling candy floss is not the only venture Morgan is focused on. After realising that many of the students she tutors struggle with foundational basics of mathematics, Morgan decided to do something about it. That is, she has designed Tablo, a board game that helps students with multiplication and division. The game prototype is currently being perfected and it is Morgan’s hope that Tablo is accessible to all students in South Africa and beyond.
What is next for this young entrepreneur? As she embarks on her ALA journey, Morgan is looking forward to meeting her fellow classmates in person in early 2021. “I’m most excited about joining all the different clubs and societies. I also want to learn how to collaborate with people. I’ve always been on my own, but what I’ve realised is that at ALA there is a lot of focus on collaborating with your peers to solve bigger issues – and that’s what I’m looking forward to, meeting different people and seeing what comes out of it. Beyond ALA, she hopes to get into a top university in the United Kingdom to study with a focus on physics, chemistry and mathematics.
As for Morgan’s candy floss business – she is currently thinking about passing the business on to one of her younger brothers who is turning 11 soon. Talk about full circle!
We wish Morgan all the best in her endeavours.