21 May 2015
John Wise: LovePop
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John Wise (MBA 2015)

Tell us about your business.

LovePop designs intricate, laser-cut pieces of art that pop out of a seemingly ordinary card. We breathe new life into the age-old greeting card industry with our unique product and innovative direct-to-consumer distribution model.

Tell us about yourself.

I am a shipbuilder by trade. I graduated from Webb Institute with a degree in naval architecture and marine engineering and went on to design patrol boats for the U.S. Coast Guard and Navy at Metal Shark Boats. While at Metal Shark, I designed and built the 28-foot Coast Guard RB-S, and 500 of them are currently being deployed in every port across the U.S. I came to business school to learn how to apply my technical talent and ability to get things done to a business context where my energy and work can have the greatest impact. I love people and relationships and care deeply about using business to create a better world through meaningful and fulfilling employment. I love the outdoors. And I am inspired by my classmates, who have all accomplished such great things in only a few short years.

What have you learned from HBS?

HBS has given me tremendous perspective. At HBS you are surrounded by people from so many backgrounds and with so many interests and ambitions that it is impossible not to pick up something new every day. From case discussions in the classroom to casual dinner conversations, I was always learning more about the way the world works and trying to figure out how I could best play a part.

The New Venture Competition taught me the power of “just doing it.” Our first year, we did NVC mostly for the judging feedback, and we ended up making the semifinals! Being in the semifinals shortlisted us for summer incubation programs, and the summer incubation programs helped us understand the opportunity we were sitting on and motivated us to push. NVC was truly an early catalyst that kicked us off to where we are today.

Where is your business headed in the future?

It will not be long until everyone hopes the card they just received is a LovePop! We will have a national retail presence by the end of this year and are hiring technical talent to better serve our customers online. We are always designing and engineering and continuing to amaze and inspire our fans with awesome products.

What do you, personally, hope to accomplish in the future?

I want to learn and develop my management skills with the same eagerness and fortitude with which I developed my engineering skills. And I want to use these skills to build and manage a company that provides opportunity to those who want it.

More personally, I am engaged, and I look forward to building a family and life with my wife.

An interesting fact or two about yourself.

On top of LovePop, my co-founder, Wombi Rose, and I led the HBS sailing club trip to the British Virgin Islands earlier this spring. That included 95 people, 81 students, 8 boats, and too much fun to count.

This past fall I also competed in the Red Bull Dolomitenmann adventure relay race as the whitewater kayaker. We finished as the first-place American team…and we were the only American team.

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