When it comes to racking up record-setting sales, Katie Francis is one smart cookie.
“There's three ingredients to selling cookies: There's lot of time, lots of commitment, and I have to ask everybody that I see (to buy),” says the self-described “Girl Scout Cookie Entrepreneur.”
“I'm good at what I do. Cookie selling is just so much fun to me.”
After breaking the state record for Girl Scout cookies sales the past two years, the Hefner Middle School sixth-grader is setting her sights even higher: She wants to break the national record.
If a goal of selling 18,100 boxes of cookies in less than two months sounds like the 11-year-old is biting off more than she can chew, Girls Scouts Western Oklahoma CEO Shannon Evers has no doubt the intrepid Cadette will make it.
“Katie is a stellar Girl Scout. She embodies everything that we teach in Girl Scouting and through the Girl Scout cookie sale program,” Evers said.
“We figured out last year … that over $40,000 went through her hands in a six-week period. And just for a kid her age to have that experience, you know, she's running her own business.”
More than just crumbs
Girl Scout cookie sales officially begin Friday, and troops can start booth sales Feb. 21. Continuing through March 23, sales of the tasty treats amount to more than just cookie crumbles.
“A lot of people don't realize it's an almost $800 million business nationwide,” Evers said. “Not every girl is Katie Francis … but when they join Girl Scouts, they want to participate in the cookie sale.”
After Little Brownie Bakers gets paid, the cookie cash stays local. A portion covers sales incentives such as camp opportunities and tablet computers. The council gets part to fund its operations, including camps, volunteer training and financial assistance for children who can't otherwise afford Girl Scouts. And the troops get a cut of the cookie, too.
“In Girl Scouting everything is girl-led, so the girls decide together how they want to spend the money,” Evers said.
In 2012, Katie's Troop No. 3469 took a cruise to Mexico and donated 54 backpacks of school supplies to an orphanage in Cozumel, said DeLee Francis, Katie's mom and the troop's co-leader and “cookie mom.” Last year, they donated and volunteered with the Noble-based WildCare Foundation, and this year, they plan to give to breast cancer research.
“She's motivated a lot of other people in the troop to sell big numbers as well,” DeLee Francis said. The troop's goal exceeds 30,000 boxes.
The cookie program is meant to teach five essential life skills: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.
A popular children's book ponders all the things that could happen “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.” If you give Katie an opportunity, she'll sell cookies — lots of them.