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Girl Scouts Bring Cookie Sales Online With Sites, App


Anna Maria Chavez, like many of us, answers to her bosses, but here's the catch...

ANNA MARIA CHAVEZ: The average age of my boss is eight years old.

BLOCK: Chavez is CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA. And, she says, her bosses had given her this challenge.

CHAVEZ: How do we introduce a vital 21st century entrepreneur lesson in online marketing, application use and e-commerce?

BLOCK: So after years of pushing off broader online sales of cookies, the scouts are launching a new platform called Digital Cookie. Scouts in some parts of the country will use mobile apps, other regions will let the girls build their own websites. The thought is this will increase cookie sales beyond the estimated $800 million that the program nets now. Senior scout Kaeleigh Sturgeon has a stake in all of this. She's a 15-year-old sophomore from Robbinsville, New Jersey, and she joins me now. Kaeleigh, welcome.


BLOCK: How long have you been a scout?

KAELEIGH: I've been a Girl Scout for about 11 years now.

BLOCK: And have you been selling cookies all that time?

KAELEIGH: Since first grade.

BLOCK: Since first grade, wow. And what's your best year? How many cookies have you sold?

KAELEIGH: My best year was two years ago and I sold over 2,100 boxes.

BLOCK: Twenty-one hundred boxes - and you did that the old-fashioned way - door-to-door, setting up, maybe, a table outside a store or something?

KAELEIGH: Yeah, a lot of booth sales.

BLOCK: A lot of booth sales. I wonder if part of you is thinking, Kaeleigh, you know, welcome to the 21st century, Girl Scouts. What took you so long?

KAELEIGH: I think that - better late than never (laughter).

BLOCK: Yeah.

KAELEIGH: I think it's really cool that they've decided to take on this digital thing. And I think it's going to help a lot of people keep track of their sales and it's going to be a lot of fun.

BLOCK: I wonder if, at some point, the whole time-honored tradition of door-to-door sales will just go away and it'll all be online for Girl Scout cookies. What do you think?

KAELEIGH: I think that it won't disappear because it's still that tangible part of selling. And it's been a part of Girl Scouts for so long that you go out and you set up a booth and you talk to people and you learn people skills and money management skills and it's - it helps you, not just in Girl Scouts, but in life.

BLOCK: That is a really good point about the - what you learned about just interacting with people. Is that a big part of it for you?

KAELEIGH: Yeah, honestly, when I first went into Girl Scouts, I was a really, like, shy person. And now I can say that I'm a lot more outgoing and I'll talk to more people now that I've had this experience.

BLOCK: It doesn't sound like you're shy at all anymore.

KAELEIGH: Yeah (laughter).

BLOCK: Does having the mobile app for Girl Scout cookies change anything for you in terms of your strategy or how you think about how you're going to do your sales?

KAELEIGH: I think it's going to reach a lot more people because now people can use their credit cards, and also it can reach people in, like, say, other states. I have a lot of family who live in Kentucky and the surrounding areas and all of that. And now they can buy cookies from me because if they bought cookies from me last year, I would have to drive 10 hours to get to them or pay the shipping price. So I think it's a lot easier now.

BLOCK: Well, Kaeleigh Sturgeon, good luck with the upcoming cookie sales. Thanks for talking to us.

KAELEIGH: Thank you.

BLOCK: That Kaeleigh Sturgeon, a senior Girl Scout, a 15-year-old sophomore from Robbinsville, New Jersey. We were talking about the new digital cookie platform for Girl Scouts. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.