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Meet Arizona's top Girl Scout cookie seller in 2023

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Monday, January 22, 2024 - 11:16am
Updated: Monday, January 22, 2024 - 11:41am

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Maliah Winey was the Girl Scout’s top cookie seller in Arizona in 2023. And she sold 7,877 boxes of cookies.

More than 7,000 girls in Arizona sold more than 3 million cookies last year. Winey is an eight-grader from Gilbert, who likes competitive dance and has been in the Girl Scouts since kindergarten. The Show spoke with her more about what it was like.

Maliah Winey
Nick Sanchez/KJZZ
Maliah Winey

Full interview

MALIAH WINEY: Well, my mom put me in at first but then, like, when I joined, I realized how much I liked, like doing all the activities and like ended up selling Girl Scout cookies in my first year and really liked doing it.

What are your favorite kinds of activities you do in the Girl Scouts?

WINEY: I like going on like the travel and then also going to Girl Scout camp with my friends and like being want to hang out with them.

Yeah. Yeah. And your mom was a Girl Scout, too, right?

WINEY: Yeah.

So this runs in the family.

WINEY: Yeah.

OK. So 7,877 boxes of cookies last year. Is that the right number?

WINEY: Yes.

That is a very impressive number. Did you know as you were selling this many boxes last year that you may be toward the top or maybe even would win this award?

WINEY: Honestly, not really because my original goal was to only sell 7,500 but we got more cookies and just ended up being that number. And like I talked to some of my other friends and they were planning on selling like a good amount more than I was. So I was expecting maybe like third, fifth-ish. But so the first was like a really big surprise.

OK, so let's talk about how you do this because this is not the Girl Scout cookie selling kind of situation I was in when I was a kid, right? Is a lot of it online?

WINEY: A good amount of it is online, but I do sell quite a bit more like during like boothing or like going around my neighborhood and putting up like signs or knocking on people's door to ask them.

Girl Scout cookies
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Girl Scout cookies.

So you still do go door to door and ask folks to buy cookies?

WINEY: Yes.

What's your pitch?

WINEY: So I knock on the door and then I ask them, would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies? And then if they say no, I say, would you like to get a paper that has my QR code so you can get some, if you want some later and if they say no to that too, then I say, have a good day. And thank you.

What if they say yes?

WINEY: Then I give them my menu that I have that has all the cookies on them. And I ask them which ones would they like.

OK. So the menu of the Girl Scout cookies has also changed a little bit since I was a kid. What's your favorite?

WINEY: My favorite cookie is the new Adventurefuls.

Oh, I don't even know what that is. Describe it.

WINEY: It's like brownie with, with sea salt caramel on top and a little bit of a chocolate drizzle with a little bit of chocolate on the bottom of the cookie.

That sounds really good. Do you find yourself sort of selling these cookies to folks and being like, you know, you should try this one. It's the best one.

WINEY: Yeah.

Does everyone default to Thin Mints?

WINEY: Most people do. But there's also people, like a lot of people also like Samoas as well as like some of the more peanut butter cookies.

Yeah. Fair enough. OK. So a lot of it door to door. How does it work when you sell it online? Do you have family, helping friends sending out the link? Are you selling cookies all over the country?

WINEY: I have like a website that you can buy cookies from. And I also make like a music video that my mom posts on her social media and I have like my sister and other family members like tell their coworkers and things like that.

Wait, tell me about this music video. What do you do?

WINEY: So like I pick a song that I want to like make my lyrics to and then I like write lyrics that are like all based on like Girl Scout things or cookie things. And then like we film the video and then post it.

[SINGING IN VIDEO CLIP]

When I wake up in my own cookie world

I get up out of bed to sell with my home girl.

Hey Mitzi, she's so cool all cookied up

Just selling cookies by the pool

And you said you're a dancer. So does that go in as well?

WINEY: Yeah.

So you also said something called boothing. What does that mean? Are you sitting outside of grocery stores and things like that?

WINEY: Yes.

Is that harder or easier than going door to door and blind knocking and talking to people?

WINEY: I like booth thing better because like, I tend to sell more cookies and like you get to see more people throughout the day or as like most people now especially don't answer the door because of all the solicitors and things. So I like boothing better because you get the chance to talk to more people and tell them more about Girl Scouts.

So, have you always been sort of outgoing? How do you approach this challenge of talking to strangers, which is something that a lot of kids would have a lot of trouble with I'm sure?

WINEY: I've always liked to like talk with other people, especially when I was like younger. So it's never really been really a problem for me to talk to people. Some days are definitely harder than others, but most days I'm like, ready to go.

Yeah. How many hours do you think you spent selling this many boxes of cookies?

WINEY: A lot. Probably like they like, well, like full-time jobs for like 40 hours a week.

What do you think you learned from doing this? And you learn every year when you do it?

WINEY: I learned how to like learn new marketing techniques on how to get people to buy some because not the same thing is going to work for every person. And I learned how to, like, set goals each year to see and set plans on how to reach those goals and how to, like at the end of the year, split up my money to see what I want to spend it on. So if I want to travel or if I want to do different, like, in-state Girl Scout activities or even just like figuring out what rewards I want to get.

Yeah. OK. So there is sort of a reward system. It's a lot like running a business.

WINEY: Yeah.

Do you think that's the, are you going to do that in the future? Are we going to see you opening your own store or something like that?

WINEY: Yeah.

What do you want to sell? Cookies?

WINEY: No, I want to be a lawyer or a doctor. So I want to have like my own like hospital or like law firm.

Yeah. OK. So you won last year in the state and we're just kind of getting cookie season kicked off here right now, right?

WINEY: Yes.

What do you think for this year? You think you're going to win it again this year?

WINEY: I've decided to take a little bit more of a back step of like selling cookies because last year was really tough and I made it through and my goal ultimately was to be top seller, which I didn't think was gonna happen last year, but it did. So this year, I'm more focusing on like, just different, like things for like personal goals that I have during Girl Scouts with like different awards, things that I want to do and like different high honors I want to get.

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