Deanna's story is one of abuse, hardship, loss and overcoming. Deanna is the oldest of 5 born in Elk Grove Village, IL. Although she was raised with strong family values she experienced much abuse from her father at an early age. With 3 younger siblings, Deanna called the police on her father at 15 because she didn't want to see them experience the same abuse. From that point her and her sister ended up in foster homes for a short time. Her father then disappeared and has been a dead beat since. While finishing high school and her mother pregnant with her youngest brother Deanna worked 2 jobs to help support her mother. She visited food pantries at 16 to get food for the family. When Deanna graduated from high school she found herself in another abusive relationship being exposed to sex trafficking. She spent the next several years doing drugs and being abused and the last straw was being abducted and beat up by her then boyfriend. She then decided it was time to turn her life around. She went to college, got counseling and started healing herself. In her early 20’s she met a larger than life, wealthy, older man that pursued her for over 6 months. This man saw her at the gym and knew a friend of hers. He was extremely successful. This man later became her husband and she spent 17yrs of her life with him. They had 5 businesses together, of which Deanna was an integral part of their automotive manufacturing business as the VP of Key Accounts & Business Operations. Deanna closed many multi-million dollar contracts that helped build and expand the success of their businesses. During the last several years of their life together her husband was fighting kidney disease. Deanna administered dialysis for the last 2 ½ years of his life. During which time her husband did not stop injecting steroids. He lost his battle with his life in January 2016. That was the beginning of having to fight and start her life all over again. Although Deanna had some ownership in some of the businesses her husband specifically disinherited her in his will and she had a pre-nup. She spent the next year and a half in court fighting the family with 3 attorneys finally to walk away with a small settlement. That was when she started her fashion label. She told herself she would create 3 collections and if the brand didn't take off she would stop. She designed very high-end classic pieces, was on the runway in Rhode Island for StyleWeek, and also featured on the local news there. She was a finalist for the Cadillac design challenge for Style Chicago. With very little success of investing in her label; for her last collection she designed more avant garde pieces showcased in her event against Human Trafficking. Deanna spent 8 months planning a huge event in the Chicagoland area with 6 other Chicago based designers. It was a huge success but that was her goodbye to being a designer. Shortly after the event Label Free Podcast was born.
"To live your best life, you must live label free!"
The motivation behind Label Free stemmed from Deanna's desire to shed the weight of societal labels and judgments she had accumulated throughout her life, which had been a result of her journey to overcome trauma. She was determined to share a message of love, acceptance, and inclusion with the world. Deanna firmly believed that every individual deserves to be accepted and loved unconditionally.