By Lauren Wood
On Valentine’s Day in 2015, Amber Higgins had her heart broken. She had just lost her best friend, her dog Hali. The black Scottish terrier was 8 years old when she died from renal failure, and Higgins was devastated.
“Hali was a source of love and joy and companionship. It may sound crazy, but I’m not married and I don’t have kids,” Higgins said of losing her first dog.
It was from Hali’s passing that Amber decided to start Hali+Cora, an e-commerce retail company. Named after Hali and Higgins’ other dog, Cora, the company sells clothing and accessories online. Proceeds from the sales benefit sick dogs and their owners, as well as animal welfare organizations.
“It all began as a place to put that grieving energy and for a chance to put something positive into this world,” Higgins said. “It’s not so much about the business as it is about helping dogs.”
Hali+Cora was started last fall after Higgins, also the owner of Intricid Salon in Tupelo, spent the summer connecting with suppliers, learning about online-only business and setting up the shop. The suppliers she works with are all over the world, and orders are placed and are shipped directly to the customer.
Each season, Higgins releases a new line, which can be found at haliandcora.com. Initially just swimwear, the shop now features women’s clothing, athletic wear, accessories and menswear.
Higgins started the company as a donation-based one, and has no plans on changing that. She said it is kosher for companies to donate 10 percent of their profits, but Higgins actually donates all of her profits.
“I place the money where I feel like it could be used the best,” Higgins said. “I would love to help dogs in our area.”
When she was going through her experience with Hali, the vet bills added up quickly, and Higgins understands the financial burden of having a sick pet.
She uses the hashtag #savethepuppies on her social media posts to spread the mission of her business. Higgins has helped dog owners through the Go Fund Me website and has donated to the Humane Society for the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
She wants to connect with owners of sick dogs who may need financial help with veterinary bills, so you can reach out to Higgins if you know of a dog owner who may need help.
“Dogs can teach us a lot- they teach us loyalty and compassion. They also are very selfless, and if you pay attention to how they treat you and others, you can learn a lot. They just inspire me,” Higgins said.