HARVIN COLUMN: Girl Scouts a good start for young entrepreneurs
In Your Lowcountry, we write a lot about young entrepreneurs and the success they learn from running small businesses.
This is such a wonderful way to learn how to manage money that every young person should start out with some form of business.
That's why there's a special place in my heart for Girl Scout Cookies. While I'm not a fan of Thin Mints, I can go through a box of Samoas, and it seems it wouldn't be winter without some young Scout knocking on our door, nieces included.
It's not the cookies, of course. While I like them, I can certainly live without them.
But I like the fact that these cookies represent some of the first efforts at business many young women will encounter. Selling cookies teaches some life skills that are invaluable.
First of all, selling cookies is a tough business. A young girl has to figure out how many boxes of cookies she can sell. Then she has to set some goals to sell the cookies, she has to learn to manage the money, record all her sales and, finally, be able to tell customers what the Girl Scouts will do with the money raised from the sales.
Oh, yes, and she has to learn to say “Hi” to strangers and not get her feelings hurt when they fail to return her greeting, or are not interested in buying cookies.
All of these are the beginnings of making a fortune, or at least a successful life.
A 2012 study commissioned by the Girl Scouts of America showed that one in two adult women had been involved in Girl Scouts for some period of time. Alumnae include two-thirds of the female members of Congress, major CEOs, and probably your neighbor down the street.
It used to be that if you didn't know a Girl Scout, you hoped that one would come to your door, but fewer and fewer young girls knock on strangers' doors these days, so now there is another way to find Girl Scout cookies.
They have an app for your Android or iPhone, and a cookie finder website at http://www.girlscouts.org/program/gs_cookies/cookie_season.asp. They tell you where you can find Girl Scout cookie booths in your area. You plug in your ZIP code and get the list, and then a map to hunt down the Tagalongs. You can follow local cookie sales on twitter.com, too. Just use the hash tag #HowToBuyGSCookies.
For the Lowcountry, cookie sales have just started this week, so that means Scouts all the way down to Daisies, will be hunting down friends and relatives to sign up for those $3.50 boxes.
Cookie booths will start appearing next month once the cookies arrive in the local warehouse, says Patrice Rhett, director of product programs for the Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina.
Last year, the local council sold 74,000 boxes of cookies. This year, they hope to enlist 10,000 girls in selling cookies.
If your daughter isn't a member of a troop but would like to participate, it only costs $12 to join the Scouts. The council will assign the new Scout to a local troop.
And did I mention that there is a new flavor this year? It's Mango Cremes. Think about creamy middles with mango added. Now that might be some competition for Do-Si-Dos.
I need to get that app.
Reach Stephanie Harvin at 937-5557 or firstname.lastname@example.org.