Mike Lamagna ’11, Founder, Long Wharf Supply Co.
“As a business major, I had a strong interest in finance and investments. I was always curious about how ideas or start-ups got off the ground and grew into well-known businesses. The more I learned about the venture capital/private equity space, the more intrigued I became with the idea of funding early-stage companies.”
I had the opportunity to participate in an unpaid internship in New York City during the winter break of my senior year. This unpaid internship turned into a full-time job offer at a private equity fund, which invested in and launched growth companies across a number of consumer-facing industries.
I moved to New York City three days after graduation to begin my full-time job as an Associate at Burch Creative Capital (formerly J. Christopher Capital). After working on early-stage ventures for others over a five-year period, I decided it was time to work on something of my own. My time at Merrimack was critical as I received a first-rate education and discovered how to follow my intuition while developing and executing my career goals.
I launched the Long Wharf Supply Co. at the end of 2016. This retail brand designs and manufactures high-quality waxed canvas and leather goods. I oversee every element of the business, including product design and development; marketing and communications — which involves content creation, social media, photography, and events; sales; raising capital; inventory management and fulfillment; planning and analysis; and more.
How did your experience at Merrimack help you as a professional?
My experience at Merrimack taught me not to be afraid to try new things and to stand on my own two feet. I used my time at Merrimack to participate in a number of internships and to figure out what I didn’t like in finance and the real world. That was really important for me.
What is the best advice you could give current Merrimack students?
My advice is to really put yourself out there: try a new hobby, make an effort to meet new people, go to industry meet-ups or trade shows. Keep building your network. I constantly meet influential people or benefit from what appears to be coincidence or luck. You will be surprised at how helpful and interested people are when they realize you really want to learn more about their work and life experiences. So put yourself out there, it’s worth it.
What is your favorite Merrimack memory?
One of my favorite Merrimack memories actually occurred after I graduated. I came back to Merrimack to attend my brother’s (Joseph ’13), graduation and had the pleasure of hearing Charlie Day’s Commencement address. Listening to how he followed his gut and took a chance on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” was something I’ll never forget. I’ve since heard pivotal moments like Charlie Day’s described from great entrepreneurs, time and again. If you’re an entrepreneur, it seems to follow that you need to be prepared to make those tough decisions when everything is on the line.
Many of my other favorite memories include sharing in legacy events with my grandmother, Mary Wesson ’57. To share those occasions with her and experience the Merrimack community together was very special.
Why are you Merrimack Proud?
To me, Merrimack is a community of people who work incredibly hard, are always willing to help others, and rely on a set of strong values to attain their personal and professional goals. These are guiding principles that I can always hang my hat on, no matter where I am or what I do.