Marie Chevrier: Continuing to Take Risks
Marie is the CEO & Founder of Sampler, an offer management and analytics platform that helps brands and their agencies distribute product samples and coupons more effectively online.
Q: Tell us about you and your path to today?
I started my career in marketing while working for agencies - which included the role of handing out samples on the street corner! Product sampling has always been part of my life.
After working in an agency for about two years, I decided to explore my interest in business and I started by literally googling “entrepreneurship”. I came across an individual who led a young entrepreneurship association in Montreal (my hometown) and we went for coffee. While there, he told me about a venture capital firm called Rocket Internet, hired me on the spot and moved me back to Toronto. Just 48 hours into the project, the startup we were working on decided to switch to New York! I moved to New York on a whim - didn’t know anyone and took a leap of faith. That’s where I learned how to run a business and joined a company called DropGifts, a social gifting platform.
We had to fold in the business as our competitor was acquired by Facebook, but I knew I wanted to start a company from scratch. I moved back to Toronto and started thinking about problems I was passionate about–that’s how Sampler was born in 2013.
Q: What does the composition of your team look like? What are the benefits, how is it working out?
We are fortunate to have a very diverse group of people on our team in product, client success, marketing and sales. Very organically, our organization mirrored the customers we were working with. We are predominantly women, with approximately 54% of our team being female, and sell to a lot of agencies and brands that are led by women. In fact, 72% of users are millennial women!
We’re also a very connected team. My hope is that I can offer a similar deep relationship to my team as I’ve been fortunate to have with my female mentors.
Q: Congrats on being recognized for the ‘2017 Star Women in Grocery’ award! What is it and why do you personally think you were selected for this?
Canadian Grocer is a publication that covers all news around the grocery industry in Canada. Winning this award, and Sampler being only tech on this list, was pretty cool. We were alongside the President of Loblaws and other game changing women - it was certainly a proud moment to be not only beside these global brands but beside some of our customers. It’s great to see women highlighted for awesome work!
Q: What is your advice to other founders in a similar position to you?
Go for it! The biggest thing for me is living with the mindset of taking risks and living outside of your comfort zone. Every good thing I have done or accomplished came as the result of taking a risk. A long time ago, I wrote on paper: “I will continue to take risks, until what I have is no longer worth risking.” I live by this and I’ve landed on some pretty awesome things!
Second, continue to get involved and invest in community–it’s paid back big time for me. Spend time with community, even sometimes when there is no agenda. You never know who is going to be there, who you can help out or what will pay off. Simply put, no other community compares to Toronto.
Q: As you know, Elevate Toronto festival is launching this week and the anchor event is really about diversity. What does MoveTheDial mean to you?
I think that being leading by example is the best way to Move The Dial: empowering women around us to continue to be awesome. Ten years ago, there weren't as many examples of Women led tech ventures as there are today. I think that in 2020, there will be 10 times more incredible women thriving in tech. All of this is possible if women of our time build kick ass businesses and hire kick ass women. We need to continue to invest in each other.