WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- At just 10 years old, Elasya Jessup is one of the Triad’s youngest entrepreneurs starting her own business, Elasya B’s Candy Tree.
"It all started from an American Girl Doll that I wanted. It was a really expensive doll and I wanted to get it for Christmas, but my parents told me that I needed to raise money for it,” Elasya said.
She decided to sell candy apples in her neighborhood, hoping to raise the $150 she needed to buy the doll. Little did she know, the demand would be so much greater.
"Sometimes they would just like to ask for five and six candy apples at one time and they would sometimes tip me,” she said.
After seeing the success of going door to door, she realized she needed a bigger platform. In November 2012, she and her family opened a kiosk at Hanes Mall in Winston-Salem on Black Friday.
"When it was Christmas time, we were selling like crazy." She continued, "Before I grew out of my Kiosk, I made $10,000 there."
"So we were like you may be on to something here,” Shannon Jessup, Elasya’s father, said.
That $10,000 came from only selling candy apples from late November through early January. The next step was for Elasya to get her own store, which is located on West Fourth Street in Winston-Salem.
Her father who is also a pastor runs the store during the day.
"She told me one time, she wants to have several stores because I want to give people jobs, that was what she said. So we were like, if you can dream this, we're going to make it happen,” Jessup said.
Elasya still sells candy apples, but using different flavors such as mango, pineapple and several others. Her product has even blossomed into other areas.
“Elasya had this idea about pretzel pops. I never knew what a pretzel pop was, but now that's one of our hottest items,” Jessup said.
The shop celebrated its one-year anniversary on May 3. Elasya B's has already expanded into hosting parties, and filling orders online, but Elasya isn’t done dreaming yet.
"I told my mom, when I become a millionaire by the time I'm 12, I want to have a private jet and go to the Bahamas, so I can sell my stuff there,” Elasya said.
“She said, once I become a millionaire, dad, I'm going to take you out to eat,” her dad said with a laugh. “I think that's cool, so I'm looking forward to that meal.”