Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Lolly Wolly Doodle’s Brandi Temple Talks Facebook-Fueled, Real-Time Retail

When you have a name like Lolly Wolly Doodle, it’s hard not to get some kind of attention.

And, in fact, the online retailer of personalized, monogrammed children’s clothing has gotten a lot of it, mostly on Facebook, in what is one of the more successful efforts to take advantage of e-commerce on the social networking platform.

The company was founded by a North Carolina stay-at-home mom, Brandi Temple, who sewed clothes for her four kids. She started to branch out locally with simple A-line dresses for girls, then moved online at eBay and elsewhere, eventually almost primarily using a system on Facebook to sell her goods.

Essentially, Temple is doing a modified version of a flash sale, but with just-in-time retail elements. Customers fan the Lolly Wolly Doodle site, which puts daily sales alerts into the news feed. Once a new item comes up, the buyer comments on it with the size, the monogram desired and an email. The first people to comment get the item and pay for it immediately.

Only then is it actually made, in a kind of real-time social cycle. Unlike most retail, which is made and then sold, Lolly Wolly Doodle knows just how much demand is out there, and improves it with easy personalization.

It does not always work out on any individual item, but the fans have added up to 400,000, as have sales. With that success, Temple has raised $1.7 million in funding.

She was out in San Francisco recently, considering more investment to expand to new categories and improve on distribution arenas such as Pinterest, although she is definitely wary of taking too much money from venture capitalists for something that is already working well.

In other words, Temple is one sharp cookie.

You can hear all about it in the video interview I did below, explaining how she has turned shoulder bows and ruffles into an online phenom:

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