SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Two teen entrepreneurs are getting creative to help make the heaviness many are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic a little lighter.
Hudson Hale, 17, and Ryan Westcott, 19, wanted to make a difference during these unique times and decided to use their skills to help those in need.
In early September Hale, his mother, and his younger sister all contracted COVID-19. “While we were lucky enough to not have detrimental symptoms, I know many others who had a much more difficult experience,” Hale told ABC4.
Hale said he and his family were taken out of the mix of everyday life for two weeks. During this time he said he was able to realize how many insecurities the pandemic was causing.
During his downtime, he brainstormed ideas of ways he could help. Putting his entrepreneurial background to work, “COVID Candies” was born.
“COVID Candies” are a “traditional Japanese candy called Konpeito,” Hale said. A crystallized candy that resembles the coronavirus germ, he added.
100% of the profits go to COVID-19 relief organizations, Hale explained to ABC4. “Our product’s donations go to help people who have lost their jobs, are experiencing food insecurity, or students and children whose families are in financial trouble–– all three of which will continue to progress even after a COVID vaccine is readily available.”
Hale said he found a candy manufacturer in China, and after exploring his options he decided to order 250 pounds of candy allowing him to produce around 2,500 packages.
Both teens secured a food handler’s license/permit, and with the help of his mother who owns a restaurant chain, they had plenty of advice on how to handle the candy safely.
Hale wanted the theme behind his candy packaging to be “COVID-related.” After some doodling, he said he decided to print a few prominent figures throughout 2020 on the front. On the back is a cartoon image of Michelangelo’s famous work of two men reaching out, this time to touch elbows instead of fingers.
“While it’s light-hearted it’s taking care of a major problem – but with the funny design and unique cartoons,” Hale said. “That coupled with my goal of donating 100% of the profits made for the perfect product.”
“This has been the biggest learning experience for me…maybe in my life,” Hale said. He said he not only has realized the harsh effects of the pandemic but other valuable lessons. “I learned the difference between proceeds and profits.” Hale said he originally planned to print ‘proceeded’ on the candy packages until he learned profit meant the total income or cash flow minus expenditures.
Hale and Westcott are selling their candy through their online shop. They have sold around 1,000 packages and said, “people seem to really enjoy it so far.”
The profit from “COVID Candies” will go to the World Health Organization, The United Nations Children’s Fund, and the Feeding America COVID-19 Response Fund. If you’d like to check out “COVID Candies” you can visit their website.