12 Feb 2016
LovePop Cards

John Wise (MBA 2015)

What inspired you to found LovePop Cards?

When my co-founder Wombi Rose and I were on an HBS trip to Vietnam we discovered incredible hand-crafted paper cards created in the ancient art of kirigami.

We immediately fell in love with them. And then when we headed back to Boston and gave them to friends, family, and even showed them to strangers, their reactions were amazing. That’s when we knew we were onto something.

We got to work and created Slicegami™ which refers to our art-meets-science approach to design: we incorporate the sliceform structure we used as ship designers with this beautiful paper folding traditionally used in Japanese kirigami and origami, in order to create these intricate cards. We launched out of the Harvard Innovation Lab just two years ago.

How is your company different from others in the space?

The greeting card industry hasn’t changed in decades. It was built on the premise that people want to do something special for someone else, but they are no longer seen as the special remembrance they once were. Typical greeting cards are uninspired, and the process of sending them is rote. One-size-fits-all sentiments go from mailbox to recycle bin.

We are challenging the status quo with an awesome product that is redefining expectations of what can be sent in an envelope—it’s a gift or a keepsake rather than a disposable card. And we’re completely reengineering the buying process to present an online, or in-kiosk convenience model.

What did you draw from your experiences at HBS that have helped you as an entrepreneur?

HBS helped us to think about the cash flow characteristic of different business models when we’re focusing on what to pursue, and it taught us to focus on the fundamental economics of the business. Also, it’s provided a great network of people who can help us work through difficult problems.

Given that Valentine’s Day is coming up, any advice on how to balance the rigors of entrepreneurship and still make time for your personal life?

Balance? Ha! Actually, I have a very understanding wife. It helps to have a partner who believes in what you do, and who jumps at the chance to be involved in the business. My wife chips in all of the time at the holidays, helping with customer service and generally keeping spirits up. And she reminds me to take time off now and then. As for the rest of it, well, it helps your social life when you found a company with your best friend!

What’s an interesting or fun fact about yourself or your company?

We almost called the company Cocoon--I can’t even imagine what our logo would have looked like.

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