The woman who turned plants into plastic

Sustainability icon Sharina Perry is teaming up with farmers to change the world from the middle of Oklahoma.

Sharina Perry is an entrepreneur, sustainability champion, mom, mimi, and mentor living in Oklahoma. This year, 405 Business named her Innovator of the Year and Forbes named her one of its Top 10 Women Entrepreneurs to Watch. Sharina took a break from making waves in the global plastic-alternative industry to talk with us about her life as a business owner and mom in Oklahoma.

My name’s Sharina Perry. I’m a serial entrepreneur, a mom of three amazing children, Mimi to one, and I’m living my flyover life in Oklahoma.

I’m from New Mexico originally, my dad was transferred here. He worked for Texaco. As a daughter, I didn’t think about it. It was just a great job. We had a great life. 

You hear the phrase in New York: “If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.” But they actually said to me, “if you can make it in Oklahoma, you can make it anywhere.”

Utopia Plastix is a plant-based alternative to your traditional petroleum-based plastics. We use agricultural crops to create a polymer to deliver ecological benefits as well as mechanical properties. And it can be used in broad applications across all industries.

I will admit I’m often asked: “Why Oklahoma?”

Oklahoma is ripe and has a growing tech space. Oklahoma also had the largest amount of minority-owned land in the country. [Oklahoma] was also home to Black Wall Street. The economics essentially came from agriculture. If we’re going to create expanded opportunities for minority and disadvantaged farmers through [Utopia Plastix’s] model, it makes sense.

I think there is a desire for so many to bring awareness to what has happened in the past in Oklahoma and to be an active part of the change. There’s opportunity in the tech climate, with incentives bringing businesses to Tulsa and the growing Innovation District in Oklahoma City. You have the Asian Community establishing its first Chamber of Commerce. To see these minority groups coming together in Oklahoma, that narrative is happening now. I’m grateful to have a front-row seat and be an active part in that change.

I believe Oklahoma is a good place to raise children. Because of the life in Oklahoma, where there’s the ease of living. I’m able to manage my time better to show up for my kids and those that I love.

I believe that it allows us to stay close-knit and that really matters.

I’m a mom of a 26-year-old daughter and twin 17-year-old boys, and that has to supersede everything else that I do because I’m responsible for them. You’re already going to have the challenges of entrepreneurship, but there’s also that added layer of showing up as a mom, one thing you really want is to make sure there is some ease there.

Oklahoma today is a place for everyone. It’s a good place to start a business, and it’s a good place to be a mom.

Share the Post:

Related Posts

After 17 years in Cali’s blistering food scene, the Walters opened a seafood hotspot in the heartland — and it worked.
Moving to Oklahoma turned Tulsa into this entrepreneur’s personal fashion show.