In a recent guest post for Entrepreneur, Lime Crime and Poppy Angeloff founder, Doe Deere, speaks about her experience as an immigrant and entrepreneur. Her experience is not only similar to many people entering America to start a better life, it’s inspirational for people from all walks of life.
Deere is currently shifting her role at her first company, Lime Crime, and starting a new venture. She takes readers through her journey from the early struggles, those who helped along the way, and her current success.
The Early Days for Doe Deere: Coming to America
Born Xenia Vorotova in Izhevsk, Russia, Deere idealized the United States as the place that could make dreams come true. It was the actual land of opportunity and she hoped that some day she would get to live there. She loved many aspects of American culture from the movies to the music to the language.
When she was 17 years old, she got the chance to realize this goal. She moved to New York City with her mother and sister to begin a new life.
Although it was daunting to pick up and move to a new country, they were full of excitement. This was their chance to prove that they could make it in one of the most iconic cities in the world.
There was some culture shock. Back home, they lived in an area with a population of around a half a million people. In sharp contrast, New York City had a bustling 7.4 million when Deere’s family arrived. While they were prepared for some initial struggles, they found things more difficult than they could have imagined.
Although Deere’s mother was a trained and experienced accountant, her education transcripts were slow in coming rendering it impossible for her to get a good paying job. Deere’s mother cleaned houses for a period of time while trying to keep the family afloat. Deere helped out by dog walking and cat sitting.
Unfortunately, the family’s savings eventually ran out and they had to move into a homeless shelter. This was a tough time for all of them. Doe Deere dreamed of something different in these days. She was finally in America, but now fantasized about becoming a fashion designer.
She began sketching out her ideas and, slowly, things began to look up.
The Family Receives a Helping Hand
One of the social workers the family had contact with connected them with a program called Sanctuary for Families. This organization helped women immigrants get out of bad situations and on the road to self sustaining citizens. Through contact with the organization’s leader, the family found much needed support.
Deere’s mother finally got an accounting job and the organization even helped Deere herself apply for FIT.
The road up from the shelter included a stop in the housing projects. Although this was a better situation, it was still very difficult to be in a sometimes violent and uninspiring environment. They were grateful for what they had, however, and slowly worked toward building their future.
Deere wisely comments in the piece that although these times were difficult, they helped shape who she is today. She appreciates the experience and it gives her something to motivate her today.
How Doe Deere Built an Empire
Things began really looking up around the late 2000s for Doe Deere. She chose her new name and began her now iconic cosmetics company, Lime Crime. It ignited a passion for business and a hunger for new projects in Deere that exists to this day.
She grew the company and became a bona fide employer. The goal of the company was to provide something the market lacked: high-quality, affordable, richly pigmented makeup in every color under the sun.
One of Lime Crime’s first legendary products was their Velvetine lipstick. This innovative formula was one of the first matte liquid lipsticks, a trend that continues in cosmetics today. Another first for Deere and Lime Crime involves the way she did business.
Long before internet marketing was the current trend, Deere knew all about online community building and selling makeup as an indie online brand. She developed a following many call ‘cult-like,’ all eager to see the next release.
Lime Crime remained firmly seated in their ideals, always selling cruelty free products. Deere has been an animal lover for her entire life and it’s such a part of her identity her company had to be in line with those morals.
Now that Deere has stepped down as the head of Lime Crime, she plans to continue on with the company as a member of the board of directors. The private equity firm Tengram is now at the helm. They’re a well known firm in the beauty space with an investment list that includes DevaCurl and Laura Geller Beauty.
Deere released a statement to her fans assuring them that Lime Crime will continue its innovative commitment to cruelty free products that inspire others to express themselves through cosmetics. At this time, she also announced her new venture: a boutique jewelry line called Poppy Angeloff.
[A]s a perpetual thinker & tinkerer, I’m already working on a new project — POPPY ANGELOFF is a collection of fine jewelry for those who want something different. There’s a big emphasis on color and symbolism in my designs, as I believe that jewelry reveals something about us, often acting as a ‘secret handshake’ to like- minded individuals. Our Invisible Online Boutique will only be accessible to those with a KEY in the beginning. – Doe Deere, Instagram
Poppy Angeloff is currently an invite-only experience. A select chosen few have been provided with a shopping key, allowing them to acquire a one-of-a-kind design. The pieces are delicate with a vintage flair, beautiful enamel work and vivid gemstones.
Deere’s Inspiring and Timely Story
Kudos to Entrepreneur for giving Doe Deere the space to drive home a point about the value of immigrants to America. Through her personal experience, she normalizes the immigrant experience and brings a relatable awareness to something that is a political issue today.
Regardless of your stance on immigration issues, Deere is indeed a success story and proves that with a little opportunity, both those coming to America’s shores and this country itself can shine.
Read Doe Deere’s account in her own words here.