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Rove Concepts: Local Passion, Leadership and Success

How hard work, integrity, a solid team, and forward-thinking leadership increased one luxury furniture brand's annual revenue tenfold in five years.

BCBusiness Rove Concepts

After more than a decade in operation, Rove Concepts’ exponential growth isn’t exactly an overnight success—until you consider that its growth from $17M US annually shot up to more than ten times that in just under five years. How’d they do it, especially since two of those years were overtaken by a pandemic and economic turmoil? Like any great story, it all began with an idea.

Founding Rove

Long before Rove Concepts opened its doors in 2011, co-founder Art Lee’s grandfather had an excellent idea: bring high-end, luxury furniture design to the masses. Lee, along with Brendan Burscough and Victor Tam, ran with the idea before adapting it into a modern e-commerce, tech-enabled platform—a move that would rocket the original concept into a highly successful enterprise.

The business hummed along, with Lee in the Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer positions, Burscough as Chief Technology Officer, and Tam as Chief Marketing Officer. The company ran without a CEO until 2018 when Lee took the helm and Tam moved on to different ventures.

During Rove Concepts’ formative years, Tam made significant contributions to the company’s growth, and efforts were vital in laying the groundwork for the company’s initial success.

As the brand Rove Concepts reached new heights and expanded into new territories, the demand for long-term, strategic thinking became paramount, and Tam left the business for other start-up ventures better suited to his passions and skillset.

“By embracing the dynamic nature of the business landscape, Rove Concepts not only allowed for personal growth but also opened doors for fresh perspectives and innovative ideas within the company,” Lee says.

Today, he and Burscough remain involved with the business, and as the Rove brand approaches $1B in lifetime customer sales, Lee points to loyal customers and a talented, agile team under united leadership for the secret to Rove’s success.

Visionary Leadership

As CEO, Lee didn’t only bring unwavering determination and strategic vision to the leadership—he went out into the far reaches of creativity and possibility for answers to how to drive growth and success.

Suddenly, the brand was about more than furniture. It embraced new opportunities, expanded its reach, and capitalized on emerging market trends. The Rove Members Program offers up added perks, deep discounts, co-branded giveaways and invitations to VIP meet and greets. The Rove AR Planner lets you plan and furnish your dream home with augmented reality. Wondering if your new sofa will hold up to pets and kids? Check in with real customers for feedback on any Rove Concepts product—or better yet, schedule a virtual tour of their home—through the Rove Host program.

“Our visualization tools are game changing for space planning,” Lee says. “The Studio X program allows 3D planning of a space with the ability to drag and drop Rove items into the space. This reduces what typically requires weeks, thousands of dollars and a professional with software to something free that any individual can do in a day.”

While forever changing the landscape where tech and home furnishings collide, Lee also navigated the challenges of scaling the business, attracting more clients and exploring new markets with tenacity and vision, and from 2018-2022, it literally paid off.

Watershed Years

In 2018 and 2019, Rove Concepts experienced its watershed moment in history—Lee led a product and marketing strategy revamp while restructuring the brand’s digital marketing architecture. Up to this point, the company was bringing in $17M USD in sales, and by 2022, annual sales grew to more than $200M USD without any investor growth capital.

The crux of this monumental shift was Lee’s stark realization that the brand needed to veer sharply from its course—barrelling down a path of reproductions and competing on lower prices—and redirect toward one, simple oasis: design quality. Taking a new path meant discontinuing some key, revenue-generating product lines that no longer fit with the brand’s direction. The results have been astounding.

“Rove has in-housed its own product design team and revamped its marketing and creatives team to reach new capabilities in design aesthetics and digital marketing excellence,” Lee says. “The growth that followed is a testament to the quality of planning and execution of the new brand vision.”

Into the Future

Never one to forego opportunity, Lee has an ambitious future planned for Rove Concepts. The way forward will find new, creative ways for customers to discover and interact with the Rove brand.

These include notable Capsule Collection partnerships with Maria Sharapova, selling sunset’s Oppenheim Group; social collabs with Serena Williams and Selena Gomez/Rare Beauty; and corporate partnerships with Revolve, TED, F1 Grand Prix, Roger’s Cup and TIFF. And the company is only getting started.

Rove is also building out a highly creative Rove Residence program—a virtual brand experience in the rental market where “wise” is often “poorly finished”.

“It is usually a given that in order to sell a property and make it appealing, one should dress it up and stage it nicely,” Lee says. “This generally has not carried over to the high-end rental market and we are going to address that.”

Look for the Rove Showroom Experience to be available in many more cities across North America.

“We are currently serving Vancouver, Toronto, Los Angeles and Miami, but Soho New York, Melrose, Los Angeles, and other cities, like Seattle, San Francisco, Austin, Dallas and Chicago are all on the road map to bring Rove closer to its customers,” Lee says.

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Created by BCBusiness in partnership with Rove Concepts