September 2021 Issue
About the Cover Artist — Rongrong DeVoe
By Kelly Hunter
Growing up in Qingdao, China, Rongrong DeVoe was inspired by both her parents. Her father was an entrepreneur, and she loved to hear him talk about his day over dinner. His big dream for his daughter was being a wife and mother, but she always knew she wanted to follow his example into business. Meanwhile, her mother sparked her interest in fashion illustration by giving her fashion magazines as a child.
Rongrong worked as a concept artist in the video game industry in Shanghai, but in 2009 she moved to New York City to “pursue the American Dream.” While in New York, she earned her master’s degree in Illustration from the Fashion Institute of Technology and worked as a fashion designer for major fashion companies. Rongrong always knew she wanted more than to work for someone else. Every morning before work, she would watch YouTube videos from business coaches.
In 2014, not long after Rongrong met and married her husband, they relocated to Houston, Texas. The lower cost of living offered an opportunity. Her husband convinced her that the time was perfect to take the risk and start a business. Using Etsy and social media, along with everything she’d picked up from those dinner conversations with her father and YouTube videos, Rongrong launched her business.
Within one year, she was featured in magazines like InStyle. She branched out into event sketching, which allowed her to rub elbows with the likes of Victoria Beckham, Reese Witherspoon and the rapper Nelly. Rongrong licensed many of her designs and travelled often for work, but the last three years have brought a change of focus. Now she concentrates on building her own brand and creating her own products, which have a large fan base, especially among planner and sticker collectors.
Spring 2020 also brought big changes to Rongrong’s life. Yes, the pandemic had an impact, but there was a much more personal change in the DeVoe house. Rongrong’s son (her “little fireball”) has made an impact on the home office where she’s always worked. He’s fifteen months old now, and “I don’t want to miss a minute with him,” Rongrong says, “He’ll be off to preschool soon enough. I want to appreciate this time. People in Zoom meetings have gotten used to hearing ‘Baby Shark’ in the background.”
The most recent lesson she’s learned as a businesswoman is “The Power of Saying No.” Rongrong has identified her priorities, and she always keeps those in mind now. She doesn’t accept many commissions or events anymore, as she focuses on her product line. She was excited that we chose “Lady Latte” for our cover, as it is one of her top three best-selling designs. Rongrong has built a successful business with her art, promoting female empowerment, diversity, and positivity, making her the perfect cover artist for our #GirlBoss issue!