“Make time for things that you enjoy doing outside of work and don’t forget to give yourself a break” with Art Lee and Marco Derhy
Make time for things that you enjoy doing outside of work and don’t forget to give yourself a break. It’s common for entrepreneurs to overwork themselves, but in the long run, you need to know there’s only so much your body and your mind can take. — Art Lee
AS part of my Series about “Inspiring Successful Stories” I had the pleasure of interviewing Art Lee, the Founder, and CEO of Rove Concepts. Art has a familial history rich in furniture making dating back to the 1950s and ’60s, and in 2011, he set out to fill a gap he recognized in the online furniture space at the time. Thus, he came up with Rove Concepts — a DTC furniture company that would change the industry, while maintaining the integrity of his grandparents’ business using a contemporary, global business model.
Marco: Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Growing up, most of the furniture that filled our home was made by my grandfather, who at one point owned his own successful furniture company in Taiwan. He passed before I was born but being constantly surrounded by his beautifully crafted pieces and hearing my family’s accolades for his professional and personal accomplishments undoubtedly played an influential role in my chosen career path. I am proud to pay homage to my grandfather’s mid-century modern furniture business dating back to the 1960s and bring it into the modern era with a direct to consumer business model.
Marco: Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?
Working in the e-commerce industry, you meet a lot of different people along the way. In one recent case, during our photoshoot for our new outdoor collection, the model we worked with turned out to be my elementary school classmate. We didn’t realize until we talked about where we grew up that we went to the same elementary school and high school. It was great to catch up with someone from my childhood — when you are always working and looking ahead, it’s good to take time to reminisce about the past times too.
Marco: Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I was first starting out, I tried to attend as many meetups and conferences to learn from other entrepreneurs and to grow my connections. I imagined these gatherings to be formal, so I wore a suit and tie to the first one I attended only to realize when I got there that everyone was actually wearing casual clothing! I felt pretty out of the loop, but I gained back my confidence as my attire was a great conversation starter.
Marco: What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
We recently launched some new outdoor furniture items to expand our outdoor collection offerings. We also have a new collection coming out this spring that we are very excited about — stay tuned!
Marco: Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
Sometimes I attend conferences and events and meet CEOs/founders of companies that I look up to. When I introduce myself and they recognize my company, it is truly a gratifying moment.
Marco: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Make time for things that you enjoy doing outside of work and don’t forget to give yourself a break. It’s common for entrepreneurs to overwork themselves, but in the long run, you need to know there’s only so much your body and your mind can take. Giving yourself a break, whether it is not using your phone past a certain hour, going on a vacation, or even treating yourself to a massage or a small hike can give yourself enough of a break to recharge.
Marco: You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
If I could start a movement or create change in people’s lives in some way it would be to push for personalized education. Personalized learning helps students take their strengths and interests and build them towards a skillset for further growth. Growing up, I knew that I wanted to create something that I could call my own, but the paths that I was guided to seemed like “one size fits all” approaches. Through personalized learning, children can learn at their own pace and create their own pathway for each individual’s personal and professional growth.
Marco: What are your “3 things I wish someone told me when I first started”?
- Learn to see things from the other person’s perspective and be open to change.
- Always be on the move.
- Health is wealth.
Marco: Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Visualize Your Future Vividly”
We all have a notion about what we can and cannot do in our lifetime, and we are often right. I believe all creators of great value in our world have a sense of their destiny, and they visualize what that future looks like in great detail. It is not enough to visualize it — you also have to believe in it. Believing in our destinies allows our subconscious minds to begin thinking of ways to take us towards our goals — while we sleep and while we go about our daily lives. Even though it feels like the conscious mind is the driver of our actions, it is actually the subconscious mind.
Marco: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards, who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
While there are many people I have met along the way who have helped me achieve success, I would particularly like to thank my grandfather for paving the way in the furniture industry for me. Growing up, I always admired his passion for creating beautifully crafted furniture and I was inspired by his works of art. No matter what you do, you need to love it in order to keep yourself grounded, and my grandfather did just that. Even after his furniture company grew with many people working under him, he never stopped creating and designing furniture because that is what he loved to do. Whenever I feel that I am drifting off course, I always remind myself of the core reason I am in this business — creating beautiful modern furniture that is both accessible and affordable to the masses.