Lovepop cards are intricate 3D paper sculptures which started in early 2014 and later ran on season 7 of Shark Tank by two naval architects (ship designers) turned paper engineers. They’re perfect for any occasion when that one-message-fits-all card from the drugstore isn’t right. And a text isn’t enough. Now you can do something unexpected. Send a Lovepop. I spoke with CEO Wombi Rose about how he got started and what their customers love about the Lovepop cards. Here how it went:
Jay: Almost a decade ago you were training to become a naval architect and a marine engineer. Now you’re designing Lovepop cards for consumers all over the US. What inspired you to look for a change?
Wombi: I’ve always been inspired by design and a career as an architect was something I always wanted to have. As a trained engineer I was hired to design and create large ships, which included container ships, as well as cruise and luxury ships. While the conceptual design aspect of ship design was extremely fulfilling, I kept getting bogged down in the details of a multi-year design process and I missed the creative thinking you can do with shorter design cycles.
Jay: How did you suddenly become inspired with the Lovepop idea?
Wombi: Strangely enough my partner John and I met up in Vietnam on a school project and we both were captured with amazement at the ability to create beautiful art work with hand crafted paper cards. We looked at each other and realized –we can create anything! Unlike the long process of building a ship we knew we could take a card from concept to complete design in just a matter of days. This was everything we had wanted- use our creativity coupled with our engineering skills and give people the opportunity to give a beautiful card for just about any occasion.
Jay: What makes a Lovepop card so unique different than so many of the other gift cards you find in stores?
Wombi: The mantra of our company is that the most important thing in life is the relationships we have with others. The greeting card industry is huge because people love when a friend shows they care about special moments that happen in your life- except that standard greeting cards lack that personal touch. With a Lovepop you can chose from hundreds of hand crafted designs that are just right for a wedding, anniversary, birthday, engagement or whatever and personalize your message to someone you really care. We don’t tell you what to say and we presume we know what you want to say. With a Lovepop you’re in control and you decide and personalize exactly what needs to be expressed.
Jay: That sounds terrific! Have you gotten feedback from costumers who’ve purchased the Lovepop cards?
Wombi: Our customer base is so diverse with every age and, unlike the greeting cards which are used predominately by women, the Lovepop cards are purchased by both men and women (just about 50-50) because everyone loves a personal touch. We also realize that we can only be successful if we don’t just follow what we love, but to make sure we listen and find out what our customers love, too. That’s the reason we have a customer happiness team. We know our customers are not just credit card users, but they’re real individuals and we look to have a conversation with every single one of our customers because we want to hear what they want. Our brand is built on real relationships and we want to build for our customers exactly what they want, so they can deliver their special message exactly how they want to!
Jay: What is your vision for the future with Lovepop?
Wombi: One of the greatest aspects of having Kevin O’Leary on our team is how incredibly involved he is with the growth of our company. When we first went into Shark Tank we knew Kevin had experience in the wedding industry and he really understood what we were doing. He’s brainstormed with us on new ideas, as well as landed us a spot on Good Morning America as well as QVC which has really brought awareness and credibility to our brand. As we look to grow Lovepop and expand into other markets we’re very glad and confident with Kevin on our team.
Lovepop founders Wombi Rose and John Wise became best friends at Webb Institute training to become naval architects. After school, the duo traveled to Vietnam where they discovered incredible hand-crafted paper cards. They headed back to Boston and put the cards in the hands of friends, family, and strangers–and watched. That moment when someone opened a card and saw the paper sculpture revealed for the first time became their obsession, and Lovepop was born. The two launched Lovepop out out of the Harvard Innovation Lab in late 2014. Since then, they were named to the 2015 Techstars class, nominated for 50 on Fire by BostInno, and gained the confidence of professional investors.