By Eryn Pinksen
This NAIT student’s lollipops are at celebrity status yet again. Sumptuous Lollies will be featured in the Emmy Awards WOW! Creations gifting suite in Los Angeles.
Mercedes McKinlay started her business with her mother and they have soared in popularity after they were added to the Grammy gift bags last year.
McKinlay is in the Culinary Arts program at NAIT and is graduating at the end of this year, but she has already put her education to work.
“I’ve grown up around my grandparents and my mom who also love cooking and I decided that was the career I wanted to go into,” said McKinlay.
From watermelon basil sea salt to lavender chocolate to key lime pie, Sumptuous Lollies has over 30 flavours and are always developing more. The people at NAIT supported her business when she was getting started by selling her lollies at Shop at NAIT and the Corner Store in CAT.
“With NAIT, before I even got into the Grammy’s my chefs were there helping me and when we reached out to NAIT they really had my back,” said McKinlay.
Her favourite aspect about NAIT is meeting people in other programs who she has been able to learn from. Whether it’s people asking her about the Culinary Arts program when she’s wearing her chef uniform or the friends she met who are taking business and gave her advice.
“There’s so many options at NAIT of people you can go to for help and I’ve really appreciated NAIT for that,” said McKinlay. “They’re really giving people a start and helping to get their name and their business out there.”
Sumptuous Lollies is in the spotlight in the Edmonton area. They are officially an Edmonton Made company and they are nominated for a small business award for entrepreneurial spirit in Fort Saskatchewan where they are based.
McKinlay’s advice to NAIT students is to stay positive and to keep their head held high.
“There’s going to be tough moments, but push through them because those tough moments are only learning opportunities,” said McKinlay.