She posed with a look-a-like porcelain doll, cupcake-frosting-blue tinted hair crowning ivory skin, Venus palette adorned ice-blue eyes, and full Red Velvet topped lips. Matching white dresses with black bows and buttons completed the twin-set, blue sky and green tree covered hills making a natural screen in the background. Doe Deere, the always-colorful creator and CEO of Lime Crime Cosmetics, had intended the Instagram post to be an expression of her appreciation of the doll’s designer, Joshua David McKenney. The recipient of one of the Top Inspiring Female Entrepreneurial Awards had certainly not expected what happened next.
An apparent admirer, 66-year old Richard Prince of Gargosian Gallery, took a screen shot of the image, altered the text on it, blew it up to 48 by 65, and sold it for $90,000. Yes, that’s $90,000 for a what was essentially a screen shot of an Instagram photo. Fortunately, Prince isn’t the only one who benefitted from the hack as McKenney’s cult following has grown as a result, and this was, after all, the original intent behind Deere’s posting.
The Russian born, New York City raised self-proclaimed Queen of the Unicorns runs her business with the same intent of doing good by others. Her products are animal friendly. Positive reinforcement and a quirky, fun environment in the workplace (think lip pillows on the soft and lollipops at the coffee station) uplifts Deere’s employees, encouraging them to come up with fresh ideas. And “unicorns”? What’s up with that? Well, it’s simply the name she calls her fearless followers, those who, like Deere, aren’t afraid of a make-up pallet that includes lawn green and flamingo pink eyeshadow and lipstick the color of, well, squash!
Deere’s own foray into the world of cosmetics began at a slumber party when she was 9-years old. It would be easy to say the rest is history, but in truth it took a lot of trial and error to come up with the instantly recognizable Lime Crime look. It also took more than a willingness to play with color to bring about Lime Crime’s success. When the cosmetics first launched in 2008 as strictly an ecommerce business, selling make-up online was considered risky business. Deere had the faith in her followers to move forward and the product line saw explosive success. If Deere’s unicorns have any say in the matter, it’s a company that will continue to grow.