Lolly Wolly Doodle’s Social Buzz Gets National Attention

By Richard M. Barron
News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.

Brandi Tysinger-Temple has quietly turned Facebook into a sales machine for her Lexington-based children’s clothing company, Lolly Wolly Doodle.

Inc. magazine calls it a revolution.

More than 900,000 consumers “like” the company on Facebook, which allows them to buy colorful clothes from the constantly changing array of one-of-a-kind designs.

Now, Tysinger-Temple’s social-media message has gone old school.

She is about to land on the desks of 750,000 entrepreneurs and investors with her own cover story in the June issue of Inc. magazine.

Tysinger-Temple stands alone in the cover photo, which shows a woman of Southern charm and aggressive focus who already is raking in millions for the company she started as a hobby.

Inc. magazine is the national showcase for entrepreneurs — people who are using innovation to make a mark on business.

Each month, Inc.’s cover spotlights a trend, a list of top companies or founders who are changing the direction of an entire industry.

This cover, said Tom Foster, the story’s author and editor at large for Inc., is about one unlikely entrepreneur’s game-changing approach.

“This story is admiring what she has done,” Foster said from his Austin, Texas, home. “She’s been on a remarkable journey and has done some innovative things.”

Tysinger-Temple, who could not be reached for this article, started the business in her garage in 2009 by using eBay to sell the clothes she made.

Then her husband lost his job in the construction-equipment business, and they got serious with the company, using a niece’s nickname.

The News & Record reported last September that Tysinger-Temple has just taken a chance with the Facebook idea.

“I’m the least technology-forward person you’ll ever meet,” she said then.

The Lolly Wolly Doodle page on Facebook changes every day, featuring different dresses or shirts and other items for children, all created in bright colors and patterns.

Facebook friends have to write a comment under the item to buy, or “win,” the outfit. Lolly Wolly Doodle sends the buyer an invoice and the process keeps rolling.

The company drives demand by offering clothes that buyers want and keeping them on alert for those buy-it-or-lose-it designs.

How has a company named Lolly Wolly Doodle generated buzz among the smartest online marketers in the nation?

Foster reported that one major online marketer said Lolly Wolly Doodle has been able to do what no big brand has been able to do — persuade people to buy products on Facebook.

Foster said he first started hearing about the unorthodox company in conversations.

Tysinger-Temple got a big boost last year when Internet pioneer Steve Case, a co-founder of AOL, saw Lolly Wolly Doodle’s potential and invested $20 million.

Foster also started hearing about the company in different circles.

At the SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin, where the social media world converges every March, a social marketing executive from Zappos, which has created its own hugely successful approach to online sales, mentioned Lolly Wolly Doodle during a panel discussion.

Foster heard other conversations about the children’s clothing company and jotted down the idea in his notebook.

He even heard a marketing expert at another conference in Germany mention the N.C. company.

“I started tracking it back,” Foster said. “People are talking about it. It’s not a company that’s on the tip of anybody’s tongue in e-commerce circles, and yet it’s being whispered about.”

Foster’s story is as much about Tysinger-Temple’s life as it is her success.

But that success shouldn’t be ignored: The company had revenue of $11 million in 2013, Foster reported, and it expects to make double that this year.

Foster’s story said Tysinger-Temple imagined herself on a different path: “Really, I wanted to be a trophy wife,” she says, laughing at her former self. “I wanted to support a great husband and look cute.”

She was married in her 20s, had a child, but the marriage ended in divorce.

She moved to Orlando, Florida, where she became engaged to and had a child with Fran Papasedero, the coach of the Orlando Predators arena football team, Foster wrote. After a team dinner, Papasedero crashed his car and died.

Tysinger-Temple moved back to Lexington, where her family’s roots go back generations.

Now she and husband Will Temple are building the business together.

Foster reported that Steve Case envisions Lolly Wolly Doodle as a billion-dollar brand.

Right now, it’s in a factory in what Foster described in his story as “the hilly, pork-loving Piedmont region.”

Foster said of his report, “I had no idea going into it that she was such a compelling character and had such an inspiring entrepreneurial journey to tell. And that’s what came out. In the end, it’s an adventure story — that’s what she’s been on — it’s an adventure.”



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