The kids are really into selling Girl Scout cookies. REALLY into it. They each have a goal of selling 200 boxes of cookies (I had to talk Syd down from making a goal of two THOUSAND boxes!), and they have been busting their butts to try to make that happen. I'm a little concerned, because they're each only at 114 boxes right now, and they have to split every order because they work as a team, so that's really more like 172 more boxes that they have to sell this month, but I digress...
Anyway, not only do the kids like this cookie-selling business, but it's also great for them. It's marketed as the world's largest girl-led business, and I can totally see that--the kids are learning about inventory, keeping accounts, managing money, marketing, sales techniques, philanthropy, figuring out how to meet their goals, and we haven't even talked about what their troop is going to do with their profits. That will be a whole bunch more planning and budgeting and philanthropy!
Of course, as young as the kids are, this is also a lot of work for the parents. And my whole troop is young. AND this is our first year in the cookie business! This is really stretching my abilities at money managing and keeping inventory and accounts, not to mention all the people skills that *I* have to practice as I assist the children. I'm not so much a people person, so it's kind of emotionally exhausting to do it for two hours at a stretch at a cookie booth, but good for me, too, of course.
The kids spent a lot of time last week preparing for their first Girl Scout cookie booth on Sunday. They didn't know what to expect, so I guided them into creating something like an academic fair display, since they've done those many times. Their centerpiece was a giant tri-fold menu that showcases each cookie:
|I printed giant photos of each cookie (thank you, Google Image!).|
|The kids cut them out. Check out my reluctant cutter there!|
|They gave me the paper that they wanted for the background, and I glued and trimmed the background paper for them. They placed and taped the images and wrote the "menu."|
|They got a little distracted.|
|This was supposed to be an advertisement for buying cookies by the case, but we didn't have room for it on the table. I'm not sure what to do about that before our next booth.|
During their field trip to The Green Nursery last week, the kids picked up the idea to offer "prizes" to good customers, so I helped them make bookmarks out of empty cookie boxes:
A customer who purchased five boxes of cookies was invited to pick a prize.
And here the kids are at their booth!
Will did an amazing job with the customers--where did that shy little girl GO?!?--but Syd found it more of a challenge:
Good for her to stretch herself, though. People skills are VERY important!
Overall, the cookie booth went very well, although I wish now that we'd done a smaller-scale "practice" booth first; this Wal-mart booth was our biggest spot for the year, and we didn't meet the sales that I'd been told to expect. But now I know some things to encourage for next time: the kids had prizes for people who bought five boxes of cookies, for instance, but didn't tell the customers about them unless they purchased five boxes. At the next booth, the kids can announce that there are prizes, especially if they see a customer picking up three or four boxes to purchase. The kids also had a display for Operation Cookie Drop, but also didn't announce anything about it to their customers. At the next booth, the kids can ask customers if they'd also like to donate four dollars to OCD; Will started trying this while delivering a few pre-orders the next day, and although she didn't get any full $4 donations, one customer did let her keep the change from her purchase--that can definitely add up!
We've got another cookie booth this weekend, and the kids plan to spend more time this week refining their display; they want something on the front of that tablecloth, so I'll have to drag the felt out for them, and they need a way to fit in the extra advertising that was on that one display board that didn't fit their table.
Their booth is also on Valentine's Day, so I'm going to bring up the idea of doing some extra marketing towards that--the kids might want to encourage customers to buy cookies as a gift, perhaps with free gift wrapping or Valentine's Day cards. I have a list of Girl Scout cookie and wine pairings that I plan to print out.
And I have a HUGE piece of cardboard. I really, really, really want to make a sandwich board for a kid to wear...
P.S. Speaking of Operation Cookie Drop... The kids were looking for more ways to get donations, so I put a Paypal Donate button for Operation Cookie Drop up at the top left of my blog. A $4 donation will buy a box of Girl Scout cookies for our military. It's a way to get Girl Scout cookies into the hands of people who super want them, but aren't home to get them!