The Start-Up Company That Outgrew Facebook

In 2009, Brandi was a stay at home mom.  Her husband, Will, was selling heavy equipment for construction businesses.  When the economy stalled, Brandi and Will watched his earnings drop by nearly half.  Meanwhile, Brandi started sewing clothes for her daughters, a skill she learned from watching her grandmother and mom.  She wanted to dress her girls in something for church that didn’t cost a fortune and that she could monogram. She loaded up her dresses on Ebay and customers were buying them as fast as she could sew them.  One day she decided to add additional styles that were ready to ship and found a manufacturer in China who said she could make them.  After sending the woman $3,000, the order came back all wrong.  Some of the measurements were off, the armholes were too tight and on one of the prints, the zebras looked like cows.  Brandi decided to take these irregulars and post them on Facebook to recoup some of her losses. “I didn’t want to put these botched clothes on my eBay store since you live and die by customer reviews,” says Brandi.  Her niece, whose nickname is Lolly, was sitting next to Brandi when she was setting up her page.  Lolly asked, “What are you going to call it?” Brandi replied, “How about Lolly Wolly Doodle? Brandi proceeded to list the dresses, the sizes and what was wrong with them.  When Brandi got up from the computer to get a soda, her Facebook alerts started dinging.  She had 20 orders on her Facebook feed!  Orders started pouring in.  “Something was happening here,” says Brandi.  “I wasn’t sure how, or why, but it was one of those moments when you know you are getting another chance.”

Brandi sold more on her Facebook page that first day than she had in the previous month on her eBay store.  So she closed her eBay store a few weeks later.  She slept two hours a night and made as many dresses as she could to keep up with the demand.  Brandi’s garage was filled with friends and family members who helped her sew.  By day, they would sew and by night they would send out invoices and ship orders.  Will learned to monogram and everyone would work late into the night.  While Brandi was heavily reliant on her Facebook page, she was already focused on their website and app.  Soon after she appeared on the cover of Inc. magazine, Facebook suddenly started handling business pages differently.  No longer were people seeing her in their Facebook newsfeed.  “We had to change our business plan overnight which was one of our biggest setbacks,” she says.  Today they have investors and have redesigned their business.  Brandi designs, prints, cuts and sews her own fabrics.  “It’s very personalized for our customers,” says Brandi.  Today Brandi’s headquarters is an 80,000 square foot warehouse and shipping hub.  With 150 employees, Lolly Wolly Doodle is one of the largest employers in Lexington, NC.  In 2013, Lolly Wolly Doodle brought in $11 million in sales and has kept revenues consistant even while recreating the entire business.

At age 20, Brandi was briefly married and had a child.  In 2000, she was engaged to Fran (Frannie) Papasedero, coach of the Orlando Arena Football league.  After setting a date for their wedding, Frannie died in a drunk driving accident.  For the next several months, Brandi, then 29, was under an avalanche of grief, but she had to press on for their 3 year old daughter.  A long-lost friend talked to Brandi about her faith in a way that made Brandi curious.  Her daughter’s nanny also talked about God with Brandi.  After she moved back to Lexington, Brandi, who had grown up in church but didn’t have a relationship with the Lord, began praying. She prayed, “Jesus, please show me why this happened. That man was the center of my world.  People tell me you can be my husband, my best friend and provider.  Show me!”  An incredible calm and peace washed over her.  Brandi had surrendered it all and gave it to God.  Brandi realized there was Someone much bigger than her who had His hand on her life.  She met Will, a single dad with a son, at church.  In 2004, they married and had 1 more child together.

Mentioned in the Video

Guest Info


Founder/CEO, Lolly Wolly Doodle, a multi-million dollar apparel company, since 2012

Author: Scrappy, St. Martin’s Press 2017

Has appeared on the cover of May 2016 Inc. Magazine


5 children


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