Listen to the interview (approx. 57 min.) or download it.
Graduated from BoCo in 2010 with a major in Musical Theater.
Position: Entrepreneur/CEO of Super Marketers, a company which does live demos of organic food and beverage products in the New York City area. Mostly in supermarkets, particularly Whole Foods, but they also do food shows. Lauren mostly does administrative and sales work — finding new business, scheduling product demonstrations and partner locations and staffing them with her “brand ambassadors” (the people doing the demonstrations / passing out samples), etc. But she also trains new brand ambassadors, and is prepared to step forward and work a shift if someone can’t make it. Her brand ambassadors are all contractors, but several work almost-full time, and many others world part time as fits their schedule.
Overview: Upon graduating, Lauren toured with a production of “Fiddler on the Roof” for a full year. While on tour, she sent out headshots/resumes to line up an agent, or more work, but didn’t have any luck. She moved to NYC when the tour ended, and did a variety of jobs to keep afloat financially: taskrabbit, temping for a non-profit, working in a doctor’s office. But she didn’t particularly like any of these. Then one day in 2013 she was in Whole Foods and a woman was giving out samples for a (now-defunt) food company, Oatworks. Lauren started chatting with her, and commented that that job looked like great fun and she’d love to do something like that. It turned out that the woman was the hiring manager, and they had an opening! Lauren got the (contract, part-time) job. She worked there most of the year, then the owner moved out of the country and the company closed.
Deciding to pursue the profession more and make a career out of it, Lauren made business cards and went to a food trade show in the role of an independent contractor looking for brands to promote. She connected with several companies, including one called “Back to the Roots” and worked as a “brand ambassador.” By mid-2016 she set up her own independent LLC. Later that year, Back to the Roots was having a problem with a company that had hired to do additional promotions of their product, so Lauren offered for her new company to take on that role, which meant hiring people and scheduling. Her company got the job in November, 2016. By February, 2017 she had a second client and half a dozen employees, and it has been up from there.
You can see Lauren’s LinkedIn profile here.
Choice Quotes: “I love how I get to use what I learned in school. In musical theater what I did best is acting–in acting you learn what the objective is and the tactics you use to get it. I get to use that in demos. I’m going to talk to a woman with lulu lemon pants and 3 kids differently from a man in a business suit on his lunch break. I feel like I’m living this improvizational, on-my-toes lifestyle that I studied at school.”
“I like to hire artists because they have the training on what they need to do to sell product. We’re trained on what at the tactics, what we need, what’s our objective, how we’re going to get the audience Also, I like that I’m giving back to the artist community. Being a brand ambassador is a good-paying, flexible job where the person doing this is understanding of the employees’ needs. I’m OK with people leaving for a while to do a show.”
“I’m definitely on LinkedIn posting articles about my industry, or a photo of one of my Brand Ambassadors doing a demo, which is a way of saying ‘Hey, I’m around.’ I also do trade shows a few times/year to connect with brands and follow up. But as long as there’s enough work for me and my team I’m not going crazy to pull in more work. Less is more, in that I want to give my brands undivided attention, so would rather stay boutique sized.”
“If you find something you enjoy, don’t let the fact that you didn’t study it in college scare you away. Maybe we’re meant to do many things.”
“If you want to get into t, even if just as your side hustle, you want to get known in the demo industry. There are Facebook groups. . If you see someone sampling, feel free to talk to them and see who they work for and are they hiring and are they treating their employees OK? You can send me your headshot too–I’m always filling my roster and never know when new brands are coming on board and I need to hire more.”
Lauren with cast mates from the Fiddler on the Roof tour. “When I went into musical theater, my family was a devil’s advocate and asked what I’d do with a theater degree. I proved them wrong by booking a tour, but I proved them even more wrong by starting my own company!”
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