Create your own success. These are words that Rongrong DeVoe has followed since she was a young child, when she saved her lunch money to buy copies of Vogue and emulated her entrepreneur father’s work ethic.
Today, DeVoe's fashion illustrations have been featured in InStyle, and yes, Vogue—she's been named a top fashion illustrator to follow on Instagram. Her clients include Armani, Chanel, Dior, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Shiseido and more. She recently launched a collection for The Happy Planner to inspire women in their work and play, in addition to keep their home offices organized—and happy.
When you were a young child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be my own boss, because my dad was an entrepreneur, and I wanted to be like him. I felt like being able to draw was the only thing I knew. I grew up in China, and I knew it would be harder to do in China, so I decided to come to the U.S. to pursue my dream to be an artist.
You were interested in illustration and fashion as a young child?
Yes. When I was a child, I always saved my lunch money to buy Vogue (laughs), and then hide them because I didn’t want my mom to find out. I always loved fashion, I always loved to draw beautiful girls.
I graduated from a college in Shanghai and worked as a designer for video games, but it was always drawing monsters or soldiers, something I’m not interested in. In my research I found there was a job in fashion and knew that it was my calling, to draw for fashion and beauty. So I moved to New York, I went to the Fashion Institute of Technology, and majored in illustration.
As you made your way through school, what style/s did you find yourself trending towards?
As my career evolved, I found out my true passion was to draw a woman like you and me, a real woman.
What's a lesson that you learned early in your career that you still carry with you today?
To be true to myself. Not to follow a trend, but to follow what other successful people do. I think you really need to focus on your heart, what you really love or what style you’re really interested in.
What is a typical day in your life?
I wake up a 7. I work from home, and go to my studio at about 8. I plan my day the night before, so I know what I will be doing in the morning. I’ll do some business, plan my social media content, write email, and in the afternoon I will draw. I will draw for my clients or I will draw for myself or for my shop to transfer into prints or products for my customers.
When did you start the Happy Planner line?
May 2019 was our first launch.
How long did it take to plan the initial offerings in the line?
We started planning it in August 2018; it took over six months to get the program going.
How often do you add or plan to add new products to that?
After the first one, we launched another line in the fall, and we just launched our third one back in March (2020).
What do you feel is the best way to empower women?
By creating something they can see themselves in, to give them encouragement, to tell them they can do it. Also, I want to be myself, to show them that they can do it as well. If a woman wants to be stylish, be a mom, have a business, she can have it—she doesn’t have to follow what society says. Create your own success.
How do you stay connected on social media?
I try to keep my community engaged and try to offer creative things that people can do—so I do Instagram Live, I teach them how to draw, color, things like that. We are in this together, and we can keep on creating together.
During this pandemic, it’s more important than ever to stay positive and connected. What words of advice would you give people to best navigate troubling times?
I think, just stay positive, and find things that you always wanted to do but didn’t have time to do. We all have projects like that. Now is the perfect time.