Sampler mobilizing consumers to sew medical masks for essential workers


Toronto-based Sampler has launched ComeTogetherTO, an initiative that aims to send 2,000 sewing kits to consumers with sewing skills, who will then produce non-medical grade masks for essential workers in Toronto.

“Like many others in our community, Sampler was looking for a way to do its part.”

Sampler aims to create a total of 20,000 masks through this project. The masks will be donated to employees in grocery stores and shelters in order to decrease the demand for limited supplies for frontline medical workers. The company hopes the masks will serve as an additional protective measure for the Toronto community and will limit the spread of COVID-19.

“COVID-19 is impacting everyone and like many others in our community, Sampler was looking for a way to do its part,” said Marie Chevrier, founder of Sampler. “I’m so inspired that so many of our members were willing to leverage their sewing skills to produce 20,000 masks that will help protect essential workers and other key members of our community.”

The company partnered with an unnamed Canadian fabric company on the initiative, as well as Procter & Gamble, which donated 1,000 laundry detergent pods to help sewers clean the masks before donating. Local fulfillment house CF&R also joined the initiative to offer printing and fulfillment services and will be responsible for delivering the kits to sewers while local courier Envoi joined to offer free no-contact pickup of masks that will be donated to delivery drivers.

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Although masks have been recommended by some public health agencies to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Canadian Medical Association warns that for healthy people, wearing a surgical or medical grade mask reduces the number of masks available for people who need them, such as health care providers. Sampler hopes to ensure healthcare workers have access to the limited supplies of masks, while also ensuring other essential workers have some form of protection.

“Gestures like this one from Sampler go a long way in not just lifting their spirits when they see the community acknowledging their efforts, but also in keeping our team on the road safe and minimizing the risk of spreading COVID-19,” said Maarij Rehma, CEO of Envoi.

Sampler has created a direct to consumer product sampling platform that helps brands create and manage product sampling programs to generate engagements like consumer trials and online reviews. In 2017, the startup was selected to participate in L’Oréal and Founders Factory’s beauty tech accelerator program.

Image courtesy Sampler.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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