Ariona Haggard, of Brandenburg, is far from your typical 13-year-old. She’s an entrepreneur and a philanthropist.
About a year ago, Ariona decided she wanted to open a business. Using the internet, she started teaching herself about marketing and other business strategies. She joined Facebook groups dedicated to connecting business owners with other business owners for their mutual benefit. Before she knew it, she was shipping items out and making money. Her business, now called Rednex Boutique, sells primarily clothing and accessories, and she says she’s shipped as far as Arizona.
“I just thought it’d be fun and a challenge,” said Haggard.
She participated in the Small Business Challenge in June, an opportunity for entrepreneurs to earn capital because of a $1 million donation from Rick Kueber. She says that she plans on participating next year too now that she’s more confident in what to expect.
When she’s not working on her business, Haggard donates to those that are in need. She said that, about a year ago, she saw a homeless person in Elizabethtown, and that changed her perspective.
“I couldn’t help him,” Haggard said. “I decided right then and there that I wanted to start helping people like that.”
She takes donations of items that people no longer want, sells them, then uses the proceeds to buy personal hygiene items to donate. Last year, she was able to provide $200 in donations to the Warm Blessings Community Kitchen in Elizabethtown. This year, she’s aiming for at least $500.
When she’s not working on her business or collecting donations, she volunteers for the Reaching Souls Crusade Ministry.
Haggard gives a lot of credit for her success to her parents, James and Melanie Haggard.
“My mom and dad really helped me with everything,” she said. “They encouraged me to keep on going with things.”