Marie Chevrier is the Founder of Sampler, a digital product sampling solution for consumer packaged goods companies.
Sampler helps brands like L’Oreal or Kraft Heinz to distribute product samples to targeted consumers online. Sampler works because of smart partnerships with online publishers, offering free samples to their audiences.
How are online publishers able to thank their readers in a way that matters? Well, that’s where Sampler and Marie Chevrier come into this story about #womenintech.
Chevrier had a hunch about connecting brands with consumers through digital media brands, like magazines and websites. Chevrier trusted her gut and started Sampler small, but it grew quickly into a booming digital business. The unique offering that Sampler brings publishing brands like Notable is something to thank our readers with, and something we know they would love, based on what we know from consumer data — stuff like location, age and interests.
We sat down with Marie at District28 in Toronto to talk about what it’s like to be a woman in tech, what it takes to be a leader, and what the future looks like for Sampler.
What does it feel like to be a woman in leadership?
Being a woman in a leadership position is the best gift that I could have ever gotten. It’s been a great experience.
What does it feel like to be a women leader in tech?
I’ve always seen being a woman in tech as a really great advantage. For starting your business, you want to stand out, and it is true that there is less woman in tech than there are men. So oftentimes when I enter a room, I’m the only woman. I always use that to my advantage.
Can you describe a moment when you followed your instincts and they led to growth?
Sampler has changed its model a couple of times because, along the way you have to make decisions to pivot. As a leader you do this when you see the market reacting differently to a product than you expected, or when you’re trusting your instincts and say, “let’s just go for it” and put all our efforts towards embracing a change.
What are the tools you use for listening?
We survey all of our customers and ask them how their experience were working with Sampler was. Even as a founder with a full sales team in place, I like to participate in Sampler sales pitches or in our result presentations, just so I can hear really from our customers how they experience our service.
Lets talk about how the community of women in tech, in Toronto, has helped you advocate for other women in tech.
I always say that Toronto is the best place to start a company. There are so many resources and so many community events — some are organized and some just happen organically. In the last few years I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many kick ass women in tech. We meet up for wine once a month at someone’s house or we’ll do yoga on Sunday. It’s really great to have that peer group and it’s exciting to prop each other up and set a good example of community for the future generations women in tech.
Do you feel like being competitive in your lifestyle positively affects your business?
Entrepreneurship typically involves a very high-pressured environment. We are constantly feeling, constant challenges just appear out of left field. So you know in order to deal with those types of stresses it’s really good to find release. For me that’s running or doing yoga, and I think without those releases we would just be thinking all the time and it wouldn’t be very healthy.
How do you visualize where you want Sampler to go?
I write a lot, I have sixteen different notebooks on my desk. I write to-do lists everyday, and I prioritize everything, but I also try to think about the story I want to be telling in six months and I make sure my daily goals are in line with that. If they aren’t then I make sure I re-work my daily goals.