Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Minnesota Girl Scouts Share Successful Business Tips

In Minnesota, the Pioneer Press reports that 15-year-old Girl Scout Kyla Gronau has certainly earned the "Cookie Diva" patch on her vest: The North Minneapolis girl sold 3,806 boxes of Girl Scout cookies last year, making her the top seller among nearly 45,000 girls in the three states and 49 counties that make up the local council, the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys.

But it's not only the incentive of a trip to Ireland that motives Kyla. Kyla has cerebral palsy, and she believes it has influenced how others see her.

"I want to be looked up to. All my life, I've been down here," she said, pointing down. "All my life, I've wanted to be up here (pointing up). I feel people have looked down on me because of who I am. Now, girls want their pictures taken with me."

Kyla's business success affects the way fellow Girl Scout Rachel Schow sees her. Just like Kyla, Rachel also hopes to earn a trip to Europe, a reward that typically takes several years of sales to achieve.

Beginning last year, the local council switched to direct sales.

"Last year, we sold 5.4 million boxes, up 15 percent from 4.6 million in 2010," says Sara Danzinger, spokeswoman for the local council. "It's harder to resist buying when there's a smiling Girl Scout standing in front of you with the cookies in hand. The change has also opened up more opportunities and channels for girls. One Girl Scout loaded up her sled last year and took it out to the icehouses on the lake. Another girl took hers to her brother's fraternity house."

Rachel and Kyla also credit the updated incentives, which include a $200 American Girl gift card for selling 1,000 boxes and an iPad for girls who sell 2,000.

"It used to be just me out here," Rachel said as she went door to door. "Now, I have a lot more competition."