It takes more than a vision and passion in order for a business idea to prosper. According to Doe Deere, CEO and founder of Lime Crime Cosmetics, success starts with making other people happy. It also requires that you allow your vision, your brand and yourself to evolve and become reinvented- repeatedly. Deere’s path to success is one that exemplifies the importance of innovation, as her cosmetic products started off as an envisioning of a clothing line.
The “Unicorn Queen” of colors in the beauty industry studied fashion design in New York City, using that knowledge to design her own independent clothing line. In 2004, Deere created an eBay account, using Lime Crime as her account handle. From there, she created her first digital store which began to consistently generate sales after only one year of operation.
While self-promoting professional using YouTube videos, she noticed that bold and vivid colored cosmetics were difficult to come by. That was because most of the makeup brands that dominate the market at that time were only producing neutral-toned makeup. But because it was important that the color of her makeup matched the intensity of her clothes to complete the style, this lacking in the marketplace inspired her to create her own products and launch her cosmetic line in 2008.
While her clothing line was successful, the makeup line far exceeded Deere’s expectations in terms of performance in sales. This led her to shift her focus from fashion to cosmetics. Even though her original passion was in fashion design, she allowed herself to remain flexible so it could lead her to cosmetics. She listened to her customer demands, and used them as a way to strengthen her brand while remaining true to her core values.
The biggest success of Lime Crime Cosmetics occurred as a response to Deere’s further willingness to evolve. Both PETA and Leaping bunny, the most stringent certifier in the industry, have certified the entire line of Lime Crime cosmetics as Vegan and Cruelty-Free. More recently, Lime Crime introduced an entirely new product to the market:liquid-to-matte lipstick. This innovation in cosmetics stays on all day and does not crumble or transfer. While creating a new category in makeup that competitors are anxious to explore, Deere surfaced as a revolutionary entrepreneur and her brand has a global audience because it is fine-tuned to the demands of its’ customers.
The biggest challenge that Deere had to overcome in business involved in an unfortunate security breach that resulted in the theft of some of her customer’s information. Even though neither negligence nor failure on Deere’s part contributed to the event, she felt personally responsible and decided to take action. Deere and her team rallied relentlessly to restore customer trust, taking multiple measures to educate customers and provide increased security. Although she declares that was the most difficult task to endure, she also asserts that she gained a more intimate level of understanding of her clients, is not taught her a lot, but will provide guidance for Lime Crime moving forward. Even though the event was challenging, the flexibility of Deere and her team allowed for her to benefit from the occurrence.
In the end, remaining flexible and allowing the business and brand to evolve through reinvention is how Deere has emerged as a global brand. In the process of allowing the process to dictate the direction, Lime Crime has secured a niche in cosmetics that no other brand is competing in. Not only does Lime Crime serve as model of successful business through evolution, Doe Deere has paved the way for other women-owned businesses to follow.