The Girl Scouts have a special designation, stellar seller, for any scout who sells 1,000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies in a year.
Staffers at the Silver Sage Council need a new category for Borah High School student Kiele Newton Sittser.
She regularly breaks the 2,000-box mark when it comes to selling Thin Mints, Do-si-dos and Samoas.
People in the organization know who Kiele is, even if they dont know her personally.
People talk about her, said Mary Ann Reuter, communications manager at Silver Sage. Shes a great model for the community.
Newton Sittsers sales savvy stretches beyond cookies. When she was just 13, she wanted to wear silk flowers in her hair. She didnt have the money to buy them, so she made her own.
She was volunteering at the state Capitols welcome desk at the time. A co-worker liked Kieles flowers. Kiele made her first sale: $7.
That grew into her own business, Kiwis Place. She sells items many a teenaged girl would pine for flowery hair ornaments, feathery boas, fairy wings, tutus and more at hot spots like the Hyde Park Street Fair and the Eagle Island Experience. Before she got too busy, she made everything herself, setting up shop at the kitchen table.
That spirit of taking matters into her own hands inspired her to found an artists market in the parking lot of her church, Central Assembly Christian Life Center.
A lot of kids and adults make crafts, but they cant afford the fees at the Capital City Market, said Kiele.
About 40 vendors of all ages sold their wares at the Central Market last summer during the markets first season. Young craftspeople could sell their wares for free. Adults paid a $25-donation to the churchs youth group.
A LONG LINE OF SCOUTS
Kiele credits the Girl Scouts with some of her motivation for becoming a young business woman. Eighty percent of female business owners in the U.S. were scouts, said Reuter.
She comes from a long line of scouts grandmother Levi Sittser and mom Sheri Sittser were scouts. Its likely she inherited some of her business drive from Sheri, a single parent who works at an elementary school.
When Sheri was a teenager, she started an ice cream business. She wanted to sell the treats Downtown on a block owned by J.R. Simplot. She set up a meeting with the mogul.
I told him what I wanted to do. He told me to go ahead and tell anybody who gave me trouble to give him a call, said Sheri.
The Sittser women arent focused solely on business. Kiele wants to be an elementary teacher and a cosmetologist when she grows up. Generosity drives her as much as commerce.
Sometimes you meet kids and know they dont have anything. I feel overly blessed in having a business, said Kiele.
At fairs and markets, she sometimes gives items to kids when she senses they dont have money to buy her wares.
A co-worker at grandmother Levis office lost his possessions in a fire. Kiele couldnt do a lot, but she could replace the many boxes of Girl Scout Cookies he lost; she delivered the cookies and a poem to the man:
Now you have cookies but you will have to provide your own beverage,
As I couldnt get that donated, as I had no leverage.
Enjoy cookie time.
Kiele, Silver Sage Council & a bunch of my friends.
When she makes money from her projects, she thinks ahead of the game, said Sheri. She channels it back into her companies.
She recently got a nice windfall. Local members of the Royal Neighbors of America, a nonprofit life insurance group, awarded Kiele a grant for women in business.
It was very impressive to see that not only is she a good student, shes involved with Key Club and finds time to volunteer, said Sarah Reemtsma from Royal Neighbors corporate office in Illinois. Kiele also plays on her school softball team.
Representatives from Royal Neighbors showed up at school to surprise Kiele. School officials escorted her to the office where she found cheering people, a balloon bouquet, a $3,500 check and her mom and grandmother getting teary.
I was speechless, pretty much, said Kiele.
She has big plans for the money. Shes shopping for a good used cargo trailer to take her and her goods where she wants to go.
Anna Webb: 377-6431