Stacey Vaughn (BSHCE 92) and Heather Higginbotham (BAEd 92) entered college at the University of Mississippi with high hopes and big plans. Though their studies did not include physics or philosophy, the two would eventually become a duo of creative inventors and savvy businesswomen. Armed with the motto, “Conceived of necessity and born of imagination,” Vaughn and Higginbotham have proved that necessity drives a mother to invention.
Stacy, a Georgia native, and Heather, a Memphis native, both chose Ole Miss as their home away from home.
“We both fell in love with the Ole Miss tradition,” says Higginbotham.
During their college years the young women’s lives became intertwined. Both were members of Kappa Delta sorority, fraternity little sisters and roommates. But their respective majors would prove to be the strongest thread in their future together. Vaughn majored in Fashion merchandising due to a strong interest in the business and development side of fashion. Higginbotham pursued a degree in Elementary Education to nurture her love of children and use her artistic creativity. Both ladies share fond memories of watching movies at the Hoka, tailgating and concerts in the grove.
“Our fondest memories were friendships that were developed and still continue for life,” says Higginbotham.
And that friendship has sustained both their personal and professional lives. In early 2003, Vaughn and Higginbotham got together for dinner to celebrate their birthdays. Vaughn expressed her distress in finding expandable clothing for her new son, Simon. The biggest problem she found was that her baby grew length-wise quickly and she began cutting the feet out of outfits to accommodate her son’s growth. Vaughn expressed an idea of detachable clothing and Higginbotham shared interest in becoming a partner.
“By merging Heather’s creative skills and my business and sales experience, we thought that we would be a great combination to start a business,” says Vaughn.
And so Tiki Tavi and Detachable LLC was born. The concept was to expand the longevity of a single outfit and allow the mixing and matching of both size and fashion. The women began work immediately designing outfits, finding the right fabrics and gaining investors. Three years later, the two have built a successful business that has garnered attention from both the fashion and family world.
Their Detachable products give parents another option in infant wear that is both fashionable and functional. Ultimately the women’s goals stem from both experience and need.
“Our goals are to provide parents with an alternative concept and to become a staple item in all homes with babies,” Vaughn says.
The Tiki Tavi creators credit their own families with the support and success of their own business.
“We have been reminded of how wonderful our families have been throughout the three years of development,” says Vaughn. “They have been extremely supportive in every aspect.”
With Higginbotham as their investor for Detachables, LLC the Tiki Tavi duo now accepts and fills both large and individual orders. The women have become business savvy while developing a prototype, printing brochures, procuring and sourcing material, outsourcing manufacturing, streamlining their supply chain and developing a user friendly website for purchasing. However their journey has had its ups and downs.
“The most challenging aspect has been finding a loyal manufacturer,” says Vaughn. “But the most rewarding aspect has been meeting people that truly want to see us succeed.”
The women have been in constant communication everyday since the conception of Tiki Tavi. Though they have encountered obstacles along the way, they have overcome these challenges while balancing home and office duties.
“This experience has been a true life lesson for the both of us,” says Vaughn.
Stacey Vaughn now resides in Atlanta, Ga., with her husband Gordon and their sons Simon and Grey. Heather Higginbotham also resides in Atlanta, Ga. with her husband Jerry and their Yorkshire Terrier Tobie. For more information about Tiki Tavi visit www.tikitavi.net or email email@example.com.