MINT HILL – Maddie Miller doesn’t aim low. When she has a goal in mind, she goes for it, no matter how out of reach it may seem.
So while the rest of Girl Scout Troop 1782 was excited about possibly selling enough Samoas and Thin Mints to win backpacks, T-shirts and Carowinds tickets, 9-year-old Maddie’s eyes locked onto only one thing – the grand prize laptop.
The catch? She would need to sell at least 3,550 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to get it.
Maddie’s mom, Patty Hill-Miller, almost had a heart attack when she learned of her daughter’s lofty goal, especially since they sold roughly half that many the year before.
“I know my heart skipped a beat,” she said. “She just looked at me and said, ‘We can do this.’”
Maddie, who lives in Mint Hill and attends Bain Elementary School, wasted no time getting started. Like most Girl Scouts, she talked to neighbors, friends and family, but that’s not all. She and her mom also handed out
“business cards” and made labels for delivery bags with their contact information and a link to order cookies online. Patty said they got tons of calls, texts and emails from people asking for cookies.
Wherever they went during cookie season, Maddie wore her Girl Scout vest and people approached them for cookies. On weekends, they sold at booths in front of businesses like Walmart, Dollar Tree and Harris Teeter, and used social media to their advantage by posting their location on the What’s Up Mint Hill Facebook page.
Their marketing campaign worked like a charm, but it was Maddie’s infectious smile, charisma and sense of humor that made each sale.
“When we were at the booth I would yell, ‘Five for twenty, what a deal!’ Then I’d hook them in with jokes,” Maddie said. “Like…what do you call a fake noodle? An impasta.”
At the end of cookie season, Maddie was the 2019 Top Seller and Girl Scouts Hornets Council Record Breaker. She sold 4,203 boxes of cookies, meaning she not only got the laptop, but also surpassed her original goal by more than 500 boxes.
“I couldn’t have done it alone … without my friends and family and her,” Maddie said, pointing to her mother. “A team.”
Throughout the process of running her cookie business, Maddie said she learned how to deal with rejection, because not everyone wants to buy cookies. She also improved her “people skills” by projecting her voice, speaking clearly and being polite, as well as her math skills by counting and handling money.
She said the hardest part was giving up her weekends to man the booths, especially on days when all she wanted to do was stay home and relax.
“I knew I had a goal and I had to achieve it,” Maddie said.
At times, the mother-daughter duo wondered if they would even reach that goal, but they refused to give up.
“A friend of mine said, ‘Patty, why don’t you just buy her a laptop?’ I said, ‘I can buy her a laptop, but she can earn it, too,’” Patty said.
Maddie earned more than just the laptop. She also got a Nintendo Switch, a trip to the Atlanta Zoo, sleeping bag, Vans backpack and tickets to the Cookie Coronation at the Charlotte Knights game on May 19, among other prizes. She will receive special recognition as a Cookie Top Seller before the game.
Her advice to other Girl Scouts looking to grow their business?
“Don’t stop trying to reach your goal,” Maddie said. “I know it may be tough, but in the end, you’ll get your prize and feel accomplished and you can look back and say, ‘I did that.’”
Maddie is already excited for next cookie season, which lasts from January to April with pre-orders starting in the fall. Her goal is to sell 5,000 boxes.
“All I know is I’m going to hustle more,” she said.