Companies are using data to target their customers just about everywhere online. Sampler is begging the question, why aren’t CPG brands thinking about their product sampling in the same targeted way? Read on to find out how this startup is taking samples off street corners.
- Name: Sampler
- Who We Chatted With: Marie Chevrier, CEO & Founder
- Team Size: 18 people
- Cities Active: New York + Toronto offices, distributing samples worldwide
Q. WHAT WAS THE MOST EXCITING PART OF ATTENDING Dx3?
Marie Chevrier: The most exciting thing that happened to us at Dx3 was competing in the PayPal Startup Zone, and winning the pitch competition. At that time, we had started raising financing around a brand new product called the Sampler Exchange. Similar to an ad network, the exchange is a collaboration between brands that have product samples, and publishers that have audiences to monetize. It was so exciting for us to tell that story, and win.
Q. DO YOU THINK IT’S THE UNIQUENESS OF WHAT YOU’RE DOING THAT HELPED YOU WIN?
Marie Chevrier: I think that we’re moving fast. We have a big vision: to change the way CPG companies distribute product samples to make it more targeted and more measurable. We’ve had multiple pivots along the way and changes to the product. We certainly couldn’t do that without a team that’s willing to quickly adapt. We understand that sometimes you have to go into a market test, trial come back with something better, and I think our client appreciate that, because they see the evolution of our product.
Q. YOU TALK ABOUT SCALE, AND PIVOTING WHILE MOVING QUICKLY TOWARDS YOUR VISION. IS KEEPING YOUR SIGHTS SET ON THAT ‘NORTH STAR’ THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
Marie Chevrier: Keeping your eye on the North Star is pretty easy, but I think the struggle comes with prioritization. We want to do everything for our clients, and when you’re a small company you’re always thinking, “This big company just asked for this feature so it must be really important for their business.” And while it might be, you also have to think about how that is going to affect your own business. We have put a lot of focus on scaling. Our product team is always concerned with that, but it was important to make that a company-wide mission. We want to empower everyone in the company to recognize where we’re headed and make those decisions.
Q. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHANGE YOU’VE SEEN IN THE INDUSTRY?
Marie Chevrier: In general for CPG goods, this was a rockstar year. We’re seeing a lot of massive companies opening innovation centres and making large investments into startups in their industries. They’re realizing that there are companies, like Sampler, thinking about business problems like product sampling day in and day out. Previously these companies have always spent their budgets on handing samples out on street corners, with no insight into who was taking them, or how many of those samples were converting to sales. Now, that conversation is changing because they know that we can go to market with something that’s end to end, with products shipped to customers, with customer follow ups and information about those individuals delivered to them at a predictable cost.
Q. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ANOTHER FOUNDER?
Marie Chevrier: I love having a mentor that is a year ahead of me, and a mentor a year behind me. It helps to keep perspective, and remind myself what I have learned and been through, and where I want to be. At the end of the day, don’t be so hard on yourself. We’re all perfectionists that are operating under crazy amounts of pressure. You’re doing a good job!
Click here to read more about Sampler and how they won the startup competition held by PayPal at Dx3 2016.
Startup at a Glance is a monthly series where we profile startup companies that have attended or been involved with Dx3 in the past, and catch up with them on what they have been up to since. Want to be featured? Connect with Reilly Stephens to share your story.