I listen to my employees, my customers, even people who don’t like me – there’s always something to learn if you’re just willing to open up your ears and your mind.
Born in Russia & raised in New York City, Doe Deere is the CEO and founder of Lime Crime Cosmetics. Doe is on a mission to prove that cosmetics do more than just conceal imperfections, but are a form of freedom and self-expression.
To Doe, beauty isn’t what’s “natural” or “looks best” but rather what feels right at the moment. With that in mind, in 2008, she developed and launched her own line of colorful, magical, and cruelty-free cosmetics.
The result: Lime Crime, an intensely pigmented, bold, and vibrant line of animal-friendly cosmetics with an international fan following. The Lime Crime name was born from Doe’s favorite color and her dream to develop lipsticks, eye shadows, and nail polishes so vivid and bright, wearing them might as well be illegal!
As someone who started out very small and achieved success on her own terms, Doe is an avid supporter of other women-owned businesses and entrepreneurship. She frequently speaks on the subject of finding your own voice and following your ambition at public events such as PHAMExpo and Vegas Nay’s Stardust Tour. She loves mentoring other aspiring female entrepreneurs, and welcomes them to contact her for advice through her Instagram.
Where did the idea for Lime Crime Cosmetics come from?
In 2004, I registered a new account on eBay – “limecrime” – for my new DIY fashion line. I modeled everything myself, and wanted my whole look to be on-brand, so colorful makeup became my staple. The idea for a makeup brand originated back in my sewing days – part inspiration, part necessity, because I found that bright and unusual colors were hard to come by! I launched Lime Crime in 2008.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I have yet to have a typical day! As a CEO, my job is to make sure all my departments are running smoothly and to provide guidance where needed. This means that some days I’m working on new products, other times I’m focusing on marketing and social media, and some days I’m brainstorming what’s new with my Chief Creative Officer. One thing’s for sure – it’s never a dull moment here at Lime Crime HQ!
How do you bring ideas to life?
Ideas are like children – you have to raise them and help them along to success. I have a wonderful team who help me push things forward – no matter how easy or challenging they are. Before a product goes on the shelf, we all – myself included – wear it and test it on ourselves. It’s the best way to ensure it’s worthy of our customers!
What’s one trend that excites you?
Everything Generation Z. Born after the year 1997, Gen Z is the first fully-digital generation who grew up with computers and the internet. I am extremely excited to learn more about this group of young people as I believe they are going to change the future of online shopping. The world is already transitioning to online shopping from brick-and-mortar. There are so many advantages to shopping online, from unlimited assortment to easy brand/price comparison. Lime Crime was one of the first cosmetic brands to focus strongly on e-commerce. Back in 2008, I was told by experts: “You will never succeed in selling lipstick online. People want to try it on, that’s why they go to the counter”. I felt otherwise. I believed that if marketed correctly, selling cosmetics online could be a big, profitable business. Lime Crime pioneered e-commerce innovations – such as the on-lip lipstick swatch – which are now industry staples. My goal is to continue innovating and create the best shopping experience for makeup lovers around the world.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Believing in my vision and my customer. Having a clear picture of what I want to accomplish and who my customer is helps me make good decisions confidently. Having a general positive disposition also helps in building partnerships, which in turn result in increased productivity.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Embrace your weirdness! I believe that we are happiest when we can be ourselves.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?
I think that unconventional hair color should be more accepted in schools and in the workplace. Humans do much more outlandish things – like wearing heels, which are basically sticks attached to our feet. Having purple, pink or blue hair is not a big deal in the workplace – and it’s definitely something we encourage at Lime Crime. At the moment, most of our employees are rocking Unicorn Hair, a new line of semi-permanent hair dye we recently launched.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Listen, listen, listen. I consider myself to be a ‘passionate listener’. I listen to my employees, my customers, even people who don’t like me – there’s always something to learn if you’re just willing to open up your ears and your mind.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Always trust my intuition for what’s right and what’s wrong for my brand. We all sometimes have to make decisions when we are short on information, and it can be very frustrating. That’s when I ‘go with my gut’. After 8 years in business, I have a lot of trust in my ‘gut’ as it has yet to betray me.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I wore an unfortunate Halloween costume in my 20s mocking a historical figure. This was before I ever thought I’d be an entrepreneur, let alone the face of a company. Most people make mistakes in their 20s; sadly, mine got taken out of context, sensationalized and spread of forums. It was upsetting to see people jump to conclusions while knowing nothing about me or my ethnic background. How did I overcome it? By realizing that I am not defined by what people say about me online. Who I am is defined by what I do – which is support and employ women, minorities, and helping those in need.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A Google Fact Checker. Whenever you land on an unreliable website, a red warning pops up: “Information published below is not factual and might be misleading.”
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I regularly donate to an animal rescue organization called Bide-A-Wee. It’s a no-kill shelter in New York (where I lived for many years) that helps rehabilitate and re-home abandoned cats and dogs. I have three cats of my own, two of them are rescues, so this cause is close to my heart.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Everybody loves Facetune because, let’s face it, if you’re a beauty blogger, sometimes you need that extra ‘zing’ to make your pics Instagram-ready. Facetune has handy tools to erase that annoying pimple off your chin, whiten teeth and smooth out skin for a more polished, beauty-focused image. If you do makeup on Instagram, it’s a must-have!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
War Paint by Lindy Woodhead. It’s about the lives, the brilliance, and the life-long rivalry between Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein. They even made a Broadway musical out of it under the same name!
What is your favorite quote?
“Always be yourself, unless you can be a unicorn – then always be a unicorn!” – internet wisdom.
- I listen to my employees, my customers, even people who don’t like me – there’s always something to learn if you’re just willing to open up your ears and your mind.
- Embrace your weirdness! I believe that we are happiest when we can be ourselves.
- Ideas are like children – you have to raise them and help them along to success.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.