Time flies! I can’t believe today is my 8th business anniversary. When I started sketching my very first fashion drawing on my apartment kitchen counter, I could never imagine that 8 years later I would have built a brand to inspire and empower women all around the world.
12 years ago, with broken English and a dream to be a fashion artist, I flew across the world from Shanghai to New York City. I remember there were many of my schoolmates thinking I was silly giving up a career as a game designer plus a potential engagement to come to a strange land and take a shot at being a full time artist. But to me, the dream was everything. If we don't have dreams and goals to look forward to and work hard toward to what’s the point of living? I knew the second the airplane landed at JFK airport, I was on a mission.
After a few years of working with luxury brands like Chanel and Louis Vuitton, I realized that the glamorous fashion shows and celebrity red carpet were not my interest. They didn’t light me up. Instead, I loved to draw everyday women. I wanted to draw women that we all can relate to. I put my focus on drawing holidays, special moments, friendships, and motherhood. So many have told me they see themselves in my drawings. There is no better feeling than to hear that, so I kept going. My work started getting attention from retailers like TJ Maxx, and Hobby Lobby. It was also getting noticed by the planner community, where I started to produce planners, stickers of my art! Today, I have a busy e-commerce store and license my work to retailers around the world!
I look forward to what this journey will bring me and continuing to share my art everyday. I am so grateful for all of you to be on this trip with me.
If you are thinking about starting your side hustle or your dream business, here are 5 things I can share with you.
- It’s a mindset game - Business will always have ups and downs. Having mental toughness is the most important thing to carry you through the lows and keep you grounded through the highs.
- Get comfortable with pivoting - The economy and consumer behavior is changing. Going with flow is important to keep you relevant. For example, I have always sold my art prints and original art. However, because I got many requests from the planner community I started creating planners and stickers with my art. Always listen to your customers!
- Customer service is everything - Serve your audiences with the best experience. I have spent a lot of time in the back end of my business to speed up our shipping time, and talked with our manufacturer to provide the best quality products possible to my customers.
- Hire a team to grow - Hire your weakness. Remember, you can’t do everything. That area you may not be doing well with, don’t hesitate to hire professionals which will save so much time and have a way better result.
- Always be learning - I am an artist first and foremost but in order NOT to be a starving artist I also spend a lot of time learning the business side of being an entrepreneur. Learn from people who are doing what you would love to do. Invest in yourself, success leaves clues.
Whether you just found my art, or have been following me for awhile ... thanks for being here! Cheers to 8 years in business and look forward the next many many years to come!
Shop planner and stickers: www.shoprongrong.com
Shop original art and prints: www.rongrongart.com
Learn how to be a thriving fashion illustrator: https://www.rongrongdevoe.com/fashion-illustration-course