IDAHO FALLS – For Tommy Higham, providing Minky blankets for customers is more than just a livelihood.
The Shelley native launched Lola Blankets online in September to pay tribute to his mom, Amy, who died about 18 months ago after a six-year battle with breast cancer.
“She had this blanket that she used while she was going through treatment,” Higham tells EastIdahoNews.com. “It was a really nice Minky blanket our whole family grew to love. It reminded us of her.”
After she had passed and the funeral was over, Higham and his siblings found a chest of identical blankets hidden in her room. Amy had secretly had one made for each of her kids and included a handwritten note inside.
“Her nickname was Lola. So I thought it would be a great tribute to her to reproduce these blankets in her honor. Every box (shipped to a customer) comes with a picture of her and her story,” Higham explains.
That’s the main thing that sets Lola Blankets apart from other competing companies, Higham says.
All the blankets are made by a company in Los Angeles and overseas. Since the launch of the business, Higham says he’s pleased with the response. He’s acquired many clients, including a large order from Melaleuca around Christmastime. There’s a fair amount of national orders as well.
A portion of the proceeds from every purchase are donated to the Hunstman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City and pink blankets are frequently given to the Morgan Pressel Foundation, a nonprofit that raises money for breast cancer research.
Higham says it’s rewarding to honor his mom’s legacy through his business.
“It’s therapeutic to do something in her honor and help other women who are going through what she went through,” he says.
Over the last eight months, Higham says there’s been a lot of requests for a physical storefront and in August, he and his team will be opening a brick-and-mortar location in Idaho Falls between Bohme and Bath & Body in the Grand Teton Mall.
Higham says the type of people who shop at both of those stores are the target market for Lola Blankets.
“We’re going to test it out and see how things go. Then we’ll evaluate and hopefully, (open) another one,” says Higham. “My goal is to bring my mom’s story and name to as many people as I can … and the experience of getting a Lola blanket is just the best that you can get.”
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