Out of over thousands of girls from across the five boroughs, one Manhattan teen has shown that with determination and confidence, any girl can be one tough cookie.
This year Olivia Cranshaw, 14, has earned the title of New York City’s top Girl Scout cookie seller after selling a total of 1,745 boxes during the six week 2015-2016 sale period.
A total of 12,873 girls from 2,141 troops from across the five boroughs participated in the program this year and sold overall 1,107,524 boxes.
For Olivia, she did not start off the season looking to make it to the top but once she got the ball rolling — and after having years of experience in the Girl Scouts — she said the rest just came naturally.
“In the beginning of this year I wasn’t that motivated but once I started selling I felt much more confident and I wasn’t expecting to win because I had so much homework and other stuff to do that I just tried my best and applied myself,” Olivia said.
The teen became a part of the Girl Scouts of Greater New York when she was in the first grade through her school. Since then she has worked hard to set goals for herself each year and also constantly learn from the experiences put in her path.
Every year, Olivia has a sales pitch, which she introduces herself and lets people know that even if they don’t want to eat the cookies, they can purchase them and the boxes would be sent directly to troops overseas. At the end of her pitch Olivia asks “can I help you pick out your five boxes?”
The teen added that she still gets nervous when she starts selling the cookies, but she has now found a method that works and it all comes down to being determined.
“I think I’ve realized that it’s easier to do once you get to the pattern of selling,” she said. “And of course when you are younger it’s easier to sell because you are cuter but now it’s become more of a business and a part of me.”
Along with excelling in Girl Scouts, Olivia is also very active at The Chapin School, where she is currently one of the eighth grade representatives, and also is involved in various extracurricular activities such as soccer, badminton, and holding a black belt in martial arts.
Although she has her plate filled, Olivia said that growing up learning through the Girl Scouts has allowed her to be organized, manage her time and also become a better public speaker.
“From the beginning I just wanted the prize but now its more about recognition and meeting new people and having fun with it,” she said.
Even though Olivia snagged the top spot this year, it isn’t her first time. The 14-year-old was the top seller back in 2013, and for the past five years has been in the top three spots.
The teen added that although she is not entirely sure yet, this year might be the last one where she aims for a top spot because school and extracurricular activities have increased through the years — she will continue being Girl Scout.
“Maybe I want to end it on a high note,” she said.
For the teen’s mother, Cynthia Cranshaw, it has been an incredible experience to watch her daughter grow and her family has supported her throughout the whole way.
She added that Olivia is the one that always sets her own goals and personally reaches out to previous clients to make sure they will come back each season — while also adding personal thank you notes when delivering boxes.
“It’s been really fun, it’s been a lot of work but she loves it,” Cranshaw said. “It was always up to her on the goal setting, and she worked really really hard on it.”
And although Olivia currently is not really sure what career path she would like to follow in the future, her mother says that she believes the many skills in Girl Scouts that have prepared her for anything.
“We had a fairly shy child, it’s been a very good experience for her as far as having to come and speak to people. She’s a much more better speaker,” Cranshaw said. “ She has a lot more confidence.”
And when asked if she had any advice for any other girls that are either starting out or thinking on following in her similar footsteps, Olivia said she just recommends them to be confident and not be afraid of getting out there.
“Just ask anyone you meet and bring your sheet around with you,” she said. “The worst thing people can say is no I don’t want to buy Girl Scout cookies, thank you.”