Lovepop: As Seen On Shark Tank
By Kelsey Hoak
Purchasing a card for someone has become such a chore because the act of card giving has lost its value. However, Lovepop Cards is a company dedicated to making greeting cards special again. These intricate, handcrafted cards act as gifts. Lovepop sells 3-D pop-up cards for any and every occasion or holiday.
Wombi Rose and John Wise, the creators of Lovepop Cards, met during their freshman year of college at the Webb Institute of Naval Architecture on Long Island, New York. There they learned engineering skills for shipbuilding and worked on a shipyard. After college, Rose went to MIT to get a master’s degree in computation for design and optimization.
He continued to work with ships and worked on offshore support vessels; during this time, Wise went to Louisiana and worked for a boatbuilder, Metal Shark Boats. A couple of years later, they met up again at Harvard Business School. On a trip to Vietnam, they discovered slice origami, which are little slices of paper measured and cut to a specific size and then assembled to create a 3-D sculpture. They saw how others reacted and knew that they could use their engineering backgrounds to create a unique product and fill a gap in the market.
From there, Lovepop was created. Rose and Wise chose the name Lovepop because it is whimsical and catchy.
“We wanted something that embodied the spirit of what we are doing,” said Rose.
They chose “love” because all the cards are associated with love in some way—either in the process of making them or in the act of giving them to someone special. They chose “pop” because it refers to the paper that pops out of each card. Each Lovepop card displays a 2-D picture on the front and contains a 3-D sculpture of the image, which pops out of the card. Together, the words are simple, easy to remember, catchy, and different. There is no other like Lovepop.
At Lovepop, the creation process begins with designs and ideas for new cards. The team considers who the card is for. Customers also make suggestions that are taken into consideration and possibly integrated into the line. Once a design is picked, sketches are drawn and the cover art, embellishments, and colors for the card are chosen. Then the 3-D process begins. The design is put into a 3-D design program called Rhino. Several prototypes are created, and then the sculptures are laser cut and assembled by hand before they are ready to be sold. With all the designs, how can one choose? Rose’s top five designs are the love turtle, the dogwood tree, the kraken, the unicorn, and the new rocket ship.
This unique 3-D card idea landed Lovepop a spot on ABC’s “Shark Tank.”
“It’s a nerve-wracking experience, but once you start pitching your business to the sharks, your nerves go away,” said Rose.
Seven million people watch “Shark Tank,” and with this nationwide exposure, the business grew drastically. Rose and Wise made a deal with Kevin O’Leary, who has helped them to market and promote the business since then.
“He is fiercely loyal,” added Rose. “Shark Tank” helped grow this now two-year-old business into something that Rose did not think was possible in such a short amount of time.
Lovepop has a dedicated team, with 20 employees in the office and another 25 ambassadors throughout Boston at Lovepop locations. It is no longer just Rose and Wise; it is an entire team making Lovepop what it is.
Lovepop wants to get rid of the traditional card shopping—which usually gets done last minute—and create an experience for someone special. A Lovepop card does not need words because the sculpture says it all. Rose and Wise want their cards to be unique gifts to give to the special people in one’s life.
In the future, Lovepop plans to expand its online business by building an online customization platform for creating customized wedding invitations. Each invitation will be tailored to the couple’s needs and will feature Lovepop’s signature flair. Rose and Wise are also planning to sell their products in physical stores and kiosks.
Visit their pop-up shops around the Boston area, or shop online at lovepopcards.com.