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Sister act
Sept. 10, 2012

Two sisters earn their college tuition by selling cotton candy

By Kristen Miller
News Editor

DASSEL, MN – Two Dassel sisters had a sweet idea to help them raise money for their college tuitions – make and sell cotton candy at fairs and festivals around the state.

The Craswell sisters Alaina, 19, and Adriana, 17, came up with the idea of selling cotton candy after their dad, Rick, came home one day three years ago with a cotton candy machine.

One of Rick’s friends was moving and wanted to sell the machine and gave him a “great deal,” he said, adding that his original plan was to sell it and make a bit of a profit. But “the girls took it from there,” he said.

The sisters saw an opportunity in that cotton candy machine and thought it would be a perfect way for them to earn some money and have a little fun together, as well.

The young entrepreneurs set out to apply for a food license, created a business name – Cotton Candy for College, and buy the supplies needed to make the traditional sweet, carnival treat.

This year, they have taken their business to five events – the tractor pull nationals in Hutchinson, county fairs including Wright, Dakota, and Douglas, and the latest – Red Rooster Days. They have also applied for the fall craft fair in Hutchinson.

The young women enjoy the job because it’s unlike any other part-time job they could get around the area and they also like that they meet a lot of new people wherever they go.

They also have enjoyed learning how to run a business, which has taught them a lot of skills, such as problem-solving.

Their problem-solving skills were tested at this year’s Wright County Fair when the cotton candy machine broke down on the first day.

The sisters drove to Buffalo to a party rental store where they were given some advice on what may have been wrong and also rented a smaller machine to use if it wasn’t a quick fix.

Since it was in need of repair, they decided to drive to Jordan to have it fixed and were selling cotton candy the next day, only losing a day of sales.

Their father has been proud of them and sees how much they have learned and how it’s helped them become more self-sufficient. “I think it’s been great,” Rick said.

Of course the cotton candy business has also allowed the sister team to earn money for their college tuition.

“It’s put a dent in my tuition fund at least,” Alaina said, who is a member of the Army National Guard and has plans to attend Winona State University in the spring semester for either elementary education or Spanish.

Adriana has plans after high school to attend Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and wants to be a missionary.

As local girls, the Craswells were very much supported at Red Rooster Days, but Alaina said that they are given support no matter where they go. “They want to help us go to college,” she said.

“We’re just kids trying to earn our way,” she added.

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