Temple's online children's clothing company, Lolly Wolly Doodle, based
in Lexington, has received the investment from the Revolution Growth Fund. The
fund was established by Steve Case, who is the founder of AOL, and former AOL
executives Ted Leonsis and Donn Davis. According to its mission statement, the
Revolution Growth Fund invests in companies to build innovative businesses that
offer consumers more choice, convenience and control in their lives.
Case and Temple were scheduled to be on a conference call Thursday morning to officially announce the investment.
"This is absolutely a dream come true," Temple said. "I never thought something like this would happen. It's been amazing, but it's not anything I've done alone."
Back in September, Temple was in Chapel Hill attending an event promoting entrepreneurship in the United States where Case was the guest speaker. She struck up a conversation with him about her company.
"There just happened to be an empty seat beside me, and he (Case) asked me about my business. We talked for a while, and he was intrigued by our story," Temple said. "He followed up with me, made some trips to Lexington, and they offered to make an investment."
In a statement from its webpage, the Revolution Growth Fund refers to itself as a throwback to the early days of venture capital. The investment is a reflection of the Revolution Growth Fund's commitment to making a majority of its investments outside of Silicon Valley and reinforcing Case's belief in the development of "Rise of the Rest" entrepreneurial ecosystems across the United States.
"We are not just investors, but former CEOs and business builders who have the expertise and passion to be actively involved with the companies we back. By making only a few investments each year, we will have the time to really help the entrepreneurs with whom we partner," the webpage states.
Temple said, "We see eye to eye and have the same goals and aspirations for the company."
Revolution Growth Fund and Case also will help Lolly Wolly Doodle by providing extensive expertise in technology and helping the company make business contacts.
"They are there to back us up," she said. "They have reached out to help with their design and technology background. The webpage may look simple, but it takes a lot of technology on the backside. It is such an asset to have their expertise. At the end of the day they are just helping us to grow."
The investment into Lolly Wolly Doodle will allow the company to increase its operation, recruit additional executive talent, broaden its product offering and expand its market presence both online and offline.
"We are going to develop our executive team because we have been wearing multiple hats for so long," Temple said. "We are going to expand our platform by selling more online properties and expand our manufacturing."
The company is located on Piedmont Drive in Lexington and has been in the process of purchasing a new warehouse facility.
"This came at an opportune time. Hopefully, we can move the warehouse and customer support to a new building," she said. "At the end of the day it's all about promoting job growth in the area."
The company has 150 jobs at its Lexington location and has a marketing and technical support staff in New York.
In 2006, Temple began selling the dresses just to make some extra money, but due to an economic downturn in her husband's heavy equipment business, her extra income became more instrumental in their financial security.
The business does not have a retail store but sells garments through its website and social media. Temple said the company grew from eight employees to almost 90 in a two-year time frame. The business that started in the garage of her house moved to its first facility on Leonard Road before outgrowing the building. In August 2012, the company moved to its location on Piedmont Drive.
The business went from modest sales to creating over 30,000 garments monthly and drawing the attention of high-profile investors such as Andrew Fine, director at Michael Kors. The company was even featured on "CBS This Morning" in November 2012.
In April, Temple was one of 14 women recognized for their success, leadership and other outstanding achievements at the 2013 Women in Business awards given by the Triad Business Journal.
And as for that sewing machine that started this whole thing? Temple says she still has it.
"My husband reminds me all the time about how he was the one who bought it, but that's OK with me," she said.
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