Lovepop entered the Shark Tank on December 11 debuting their beautifully designed and extremely detailed greeting cards. Heavy interviewed founders Wombi Rose and John Wise about their unique company. Here’s what they told us.
1. The Founders Are Both Naval Architects
The men, who both studied architecture at Webb Institute, discovered the art of kirigami, a variation of origami that involves cutting paper, while they were in Vietnam. “We immediately fell in love with the medium and recognized that we could apply the same techniques that we’d been using to design ship hulls, namely 3D modeling software and sliceform design, to traditional paper art,” Rose said.
When asked what their architectural experience helps in their business, Wise said:
It’s everything. The way we created cards all stems from our background in naval architecture. We use the same software and the same techniques, only in miniature. Where it used to take us years to design ships, we can now create new card designs in a matter of days.
2. They’re a ‘Direct-to-Consumer’ Brand
Although their creations can be found in small boutiques, the men consider themselves a direct-to-consumer brand.
“Our primary sales channel is our website and our own retail kiosks,” Wise explained. A few of their designs are also available to purchase on Amazon.
As for bestsellers, we learned that their willow love scene, pirate ship, Christmas tree and Santa’s sleigh are their most popular designs.
3. They’ve Made Some Cool Custom Cards
The brand also makes custom cards for their customers. As for some of the most memorable, Wise said:
We’ve made an ancient Egyptian ship for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a custom Fashion Week invitation for Timberland. It’s almost impossible to name all the fun card designs we’ve made for our customers. Every one is different. Every one is unexpected.
4. They Were Working at Harvard When They Decided to Apply to the ‘Tank’
Rose and Wise were working at the Harvard Innovation Lab, a program designed for Harvard students interested in entrepreneurship. Shark Tank came to visit, and that’s when the men got the idea to apply.
When asked if they were nervous inside the Tank, Rose answered:
How can you not be? You’re standing in front of savvy billionaire investors with one shot to convince them your business has merit. Talk about a pressure cooker. Add on top that it’s your one opportunity to show America what you’re doing. It’s an awesome opportunity, but standing in front of that door at the end of the Shark Tank hallway is definitely the most nervous I’ve ever been.
5. There’s a Trump Card
The men created a Trump card and it became a big hit, ultimately selling out.
Rose said, “We created the Trump card as a joke, and were surprised at how many people took it up. We sold out of the initial stock and have no plans to make more of them.”