Born Xenia Vorotova in Izhevsk, Russia, Doe Deere chased her dreams of fashion and beauty from her life as a Jewish girl in Russia to the successful entrepreneur she is now. Through music, movies and magazines about America, Deere dreamed of life in the United States and what that could look like for her family. At the age of 17, Deere immigrated to the United States with her sister and mother hoping for a better life.

Arriving in New York City in 1998, the population of 7.4 million was an overwhelming change over her hometown of half-million. Life in NYC was vastly different than the movies and television shows she grew up watching. Known as a place where you either make it or break it, the women arrived ready to work hard. While, her mother was an accountant in Russia, a slow transfer of her education records made her unable to get a job as an accountant in the United States. This was the first of the many tribulations they faced when they arrived in the states.

To try and make ends meet Deere walked dogs and watched neighbors’ cats while her mother cleaned apartments. Despite their hard work, they found themselves at the door of the homeless shelter on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. To escape the difficult situation, she often daydreamed of being a fashion designer. She kept a book of drawings with her ideas. They continued to work and save money. In Spring 1999, a social worker introduced them to Sanctuary for Families, a non-profit dedicated to helping women immigrants. The leader of the organization took a special interest in Deere’s family, recognizing the talent and hard work of the women. Dorchen Leidholdt helped Deere’s mother find a job as an accountant, helped Deere get into the Fashion Institute of Technology – based off the sketches from the shelter -, and helped Deere’s sister get into Columbia University when the time came.

By 2000, Deere and her family were in an apartment in East Harlem. The neighborhood was a tough one, but they had a place to live and even their own rooms. The hardships made Deere stronger and her family closer. In 2008, Deere started Lime Crime, a cosmetics company, and realized her American Dream going from a once homeless immigrant to CEO of her own company.