July 14, 2015
Congratulations to Emma Polster, Co-Founder of SampleLabs, for winning June’s Qualification Grant!
Continue reading to learn more about her company and how they help other businesses!
WN: What motivated you to start Sample Labs?
EP: Sample Labs was started to help consumer packaged goods companies iterate quickly on their new products and to help consumers find products that they actually like. My co-founder, Ed, and I created the company less than a year ago. We want to save the world from bad products. Getting back to those brands and the consumers, they are the real reason that we continue to come back everyday and are motivated to keep pushing forward.
We want to help the consumer packaged goods companies make successful products. Instead of putting all of their resources into a handful of new products for the year, we help them gather customer feedback at any demoing event, whether it’s a smaller in-store demo or a large festival. These brands can then start to change and mold their products into something that consumers love and fly right off the shelf.
I think the real reason we have created Sample is for the customers. We want to be that friend that you will turn to and ask about the newest products. The friend, who knows the type of products you like and is just current on the latest stuff and keeps you in the loop. We will not only tell you about the newest products out there, but also where to buy them and who else likes it. Basically, we want to be the one who will introduce you to your next favorite product.
WN: What companies have you worked with? (Or industries if you can’t disclose names.)
EP: Unfortunately we can say any specific names, but in general we work with consumer packaged goods companies. We have been focusing on foods and edible products because our tools are a better fit for them. The customer feedback can be captured the moment the customer tries a product. We will soon be expanding to personal care and household products.
WN: Are there any common themes you’ve found when examining consumer feedback? Or does it vary depending on the product?
EP: The themes and trends that we see are much stronger when we only focus on one brand and even stronger when we really drill down on one specific product. For example, we can figure out what aspects of the flavoring customers like, which can help them market the product better or develop new flavors. We can determine if the packaging stands out on the shelf, or if the price is too high. This type of information can help shape the product even the brand.
But a general trend that we currently see is that many of the smaller brands, who are only a year or two old, have higher percentages of positive feedback than some of these larger brands. For both us and these smaller companies, it is motivation because they know that they have a successful product, it just needs to be seen by more people and made available to them.
WN: How is the business monetized?
EP: Brands sign up for a monthly subscription plan in which they will have the ability to create campaigns. A campaign is a customized two-tap survey that the brands host at their demo station or experiential marketing event. At the end each month, the brand will receive an in-depth analysis of the feedback from their demos. If you don’t enjoy analyzing data, no worries, we will hop on a call with you and explain the data. We want to make sure that the data and insights we gather can become actionable so that they have an effect on the brand and product.
WN: What are your long-term goals for Sample Labs?
EP: At Sample, we like to challenge ourselves. So not only will we continue to capture customer feedback and analyze it, but we also want to start helping with product distribution. It is difficult for some of these smaller brands to get their product out, and for the larger brands, easing distribution can allow them to have more soft launches and test a product. So, we have started creating our first Sampling Machine. This will allow a consumer to walk up to a machine, about the size of a vending machine and try a sample. We are making the saying, “A penny for your thought,” literal. Instead of paying for a sample, we just want to know if you liked it and why or why you didn’t like it.
Best of luck to Emma as she continues her journey!
Thanks for reading! Remember that we award a grant every month – if interested, please apply today.
And if you’d like to vote for Emma to win the $2,000 Amber Grant, you can vote for her here.