Babson Alumni Spotlight: Mark Wallace ’14
I recently caught up with recent Babson MBA graduate Mark Wallace to discuss Parlor Skis, a venture launched by Mark and two of his fellow alpine ski team members and former classmates at Williams College. The company creates custom, built-to-order skis to provide users with a unique ski-buying and riding experience. This is accomplished through a design-build process that involves personal interaction with customers to ensure each set of skis is customized to its rider to provide the best possible fit. Parlor Skis combines contemporary trends in ski design with classic lines and a minimalist approach. Each of the skis is built to perform in specific conditions while maintaining adaptability across a broader spectrum.
Mark initially saw this business as a hobby, but it has since grown to be both his full time job and passion. It all began following a late night conversation with a former classmate about entrepreneurs starting small ski companies. “I told him he was crazy. But here we are still going strong. We have had great traction over the past winter, all of our models are testing great and we had a strong pre-sale that is going to keep us busy for the rest of the summer. We can wait for next winter to get more people out on the product”.
Mark considered Babson an easy choice after visiting campus and talking to several full-time students. He was intrigued by the exciting companies they were starting and saw Babson as a potential launchpad for his own entrepreneurial ambitions. “It was clear that it was full of the kind of people I wanted to be around”.
Mark said that, as a student, his favorite class was Entrepreneurship and Opportunity with Christopher Mirabile. “A key part of this class was the Entrepreneur panels that we had almost weekly, having a high quality Q+A/brain dump with some very top level founders every week, really helped to catalyze my thinking about what it means to have a start up, and gave me some great examples of what to do and not to do”.
Mark graduated in May 2014, and has turned his devoted his time to improving sales of Parlor Skis and helping New England Skiers improve their experience. The company recently hired its first employee. “I could not be more excited to get out there and help more and more New England skiers have their best day yet on a pair of our skis”.