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Art Lee: “Always be on the move.”

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 a skillset for further growth. Growing up as a kid, I knew that I wanted to create something that I could […]

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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 a skillset for further growth. Growing up as a kid, I knew that I wanted to create something that I could call my own, but the paths that I was guided to seemed like a “one size fits all” approach. Through personalized learning, children can learn at their own pace and create their own pathways best suited for the individual’s personal and professional growth.


As part of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders, 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. In 2011, he set out to fill a gap he recognized in the online furniture space at the time. He noticed that companies like Amazon had started with books and CDs yet stayed away from furniture and saw an opportunity here to create a brand that elevated the online furniture buying experience. 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.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Rove Concepts was conceived through inspiration from my grandfather’s furniture company while using a modern business model. I am proud to pay homage to my grandfather’s mid-century modern furniture business dating back to the 1960s.

Can you share one of the major challenges you encountered when first leading the company? What lesson did you learn from that?

Some of the challenges I faced were during the growth phase within the company. When the company was small enough, I was able to make time to get involved in specific decisions for different departments. Then with the growth of the company, I had to learn to delegate and trust each team lead and manager to make the best decisions for the team and for the company. It was a learning process for sure, but I learned to make it work through trial and error.

What are some of the factors that you believe led to your eventual success?

Some of the key factors that I can say led to the success of Rove Concepts are the timing of joining the eCommerce space early and knowing clearly what the product value is within the market. When we first launched, the market to sell furniture online was less saturated than it is now, and I saw the potential demand for it. While it was definitely a risk, I saw the value it could have and how we would approach it.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO”? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Learn to see things from the other person’s perspective and be open to change.
  2. There is always more to learn.
  3. Someday means never.
  4. Always be on the move.
  5. Health is wealth.

What advice would you give to your colleagues 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 and overachiever-types 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 be enough to recharge.

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?

While there are many people I have met along the way who have helped me be successful, I would like to particularly thank my grandfather for paving the way in the furniture industry for me. Growing up, I had 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 — to create beautiful modern furniture that is both accessible and affordable to the masses.

What are some of the goals you still have and are working to accomplish, both personally and professionally?

One of our current goals at Rove Concepts is to expand outside of North America to both Asia and Europe. One personal goal I have set for 2020 is to stay healthy — whether it be eating healthier or making time to go to the gym or brisk walks around my neighborhood.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would enhance people’s lives in some way, what would it 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 a skillset for further growth. Growing up as a kid, I knew that I wanted to create something that I could call my own, but the paths that I was guided to seemed like a “one size fits all” approach. Through personalized learning, children can learn at their own pace and create their own pathways best suited for the individual’s personal and professional growth.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You can follow @roveconcepts or facebook.com/roveconcepts

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