13 Oklahoma Artists, Startups, & Small Businesses You Should Shop This Christmas

During my brief 24 (almost 25!) years on Earth, I’ve had the great fortune of meeting countless wickedly talented self-starters in Oklahoma. These are a collection of friends from high school, fellow artists, former and current colleagues, and even a few of my own business partners. As someone who has dabbled in (way too many) for-profit self-ventures (knitting, novels, design, you name it), I know how invaluable the support of community can be. It’s tough to dig your heels in and build something out of nothing.

That’s why, this Christmas, I’m urging you to do something a little different.

In addition to your normal go-to stores, consider shopping with one of these Oklahoma startups or small businesses. When I say small business, I do mean small! Most of the following are run by an individual, small family, or at most a staff of five. Through personal relationships with each maker, artist, go-getter and business owner on the list, I know with confidence that your purchase will undeniably be appreciated. You can also feel good about keeping a portion of your holiday spending in-state!

So without further ado, I give you 13 (and growing) local startups to shop this year.

Sunshine & Sparkles Boutique

Adorable goodies for just about everyone in the family. Tumblers, thermoses, onesies, and bumper stickers, Allyson makes original pieces and is always up for custom orders! You can message her through the shop’s Facebook page.



Honey, I’m Home Door Designs

A burlap wizard, Alison can make pretty anything you throw her way. Trust me, I’ve thrown some wild ideas her way! You can browse her selection on her Facebook page or send her any Pinspirations you might find online.



Jak’d Up Tees

Based in Edmond, this screen printing company (run by a close family friend) sells at an unbelievably good price. Luckily they have recently expanded online, so you can shop from the comfort of your own home!



Respire Photography & Madalyn and Cameron Photography

I have had the privilege of working with both photographers extensively, and each time it was a smashing success due largely to the amazing talent behind the lens. With extremely affordable mini-sessions, both photographers are perfect for holiday photos.



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Bison Brew Coffee

An absolute favorite in my house! Bison Brew offers five distinct blends, each one mirroring a different ecological region in the state of Oklahoma. You can grab a bag at the Norman farmers market.




Shameless plug warning! Did you really think I could leave myself off the list in good faith? As always, you are invited to indulge in any or all of my creative whimsies, whether it be a book, Puppicon, or custom Christmas cards.


Crooked Roots Design

Thinking of sending Mom or Grandma a bouquet this year? Let the lovely ladies at Crooked Roots whip up a modern, elegant arrangement you most definitely won’t see at Homeland. Until their website is done, you can contact them on Facebook or Instagram.



Steven Thorn

A friend of mine from our time spent in Oxford, fellow author Steven Thorn knocks it out of the park with his Phoenix Guardian series. This book (or entire series!) would be an unexpected delight for any young bookworms in your life.



Mixed Madness Apparel

Edgy designs and quality products, Mixed Madness blends a variety of styles in a really cool way, making each piece unique from anything you’d find in stores.


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Resume Reactions

I realize no one wants a resume critique as a Christmas present, BUT this startup is still extremely relevant as hundreds of people search for extra work during the holiday season. If that’s you, let Lori brush up your resume first to make sure you get the job!



The Baron’s Custom Glassware

Whether you’re into merlot or martinis, cabernets or Cokes, Aaron’s got you covered. This custom-cut  glassware makes an excellent drinking cup and a gorgeous votive (for you ladies out there).



Decorate the 918

Calling all Tulsans! Among many other creative ventures, Andrea designs and creates stunning nail art for the home (like my amazing Disney quote shown below!). Check out some of her portfolio and give her a shout on Instagram.


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Do you know of an Oklahoma artist, entrepreneur, or small business you’d like to add to the list? Shoot me a link in the comments! It’s Christmas time, and that  means the more the merrier.



Why You Should be Listening to Samantha Crain


It’s a Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. (which for me might as well be 6:30), and I’m being forced to attend the early class I always prefer to skip. Why? Our professor has paid a billion dollars out of pocket for some Oklahoma chick with a guitar to come sing to us and “culturally enlighten” the 15 kids in my class. As if 15 native Oklahomans don’t understand Oklahoma culture. Really, I think she just wanted a private concert because she was going on like JLo had arrived.

Anyways, I’m sitting there all disheveled, with yesterday’s make-up smudged up on my face, pessimistically waiting for our “famous guest” to sputter out a few chords on her dusty guitar. To my great astonishment, she wasn’t half bad. In fact, she was amazing. The first song she sang for us was “Santa Fe,” and I was captivated.

After class I decided to hit iTunes and dig a little deeper. After listening to just a few of her songs, I had no choice but to download the album. Her voice is the lesbian lovechild of Regina Spektor and Nora Jones, and her guitar melodies are a jambalaya mix of acoustic Train and John Mayer, with a dash of Mumford and Sons to taste. After browsing through her albums, I can already say that I have a favorite song, “Scissortail.” It’s a subtle tribute to Oklahoma with simplistically moving lyrics.

At times her songs have a bit of country twang, I’ll admit, but her hipster-styled voice and poetic lyrics more than compensate for that hideous country drone that creeps in from time to time. Even when country does slip in, though, it’s the right kind of country: that old-styled harmonica or fiddle lick that heralds Johnny Cash. Still, the majority of her songs have more of a folk rhythm, like “Paint”.

Maybe I like her because I’ve met her, or maybe it’s because I can get behind an Oklahoman artist who doesn’t sound like they’re from Oklahoma (Hanson, anyone?). Maybe, instead, it’s because she writes her own songs, and there’s just something admirable about that. Either way, I’m hooked, and I hope you will be too. If you too have been infected by a new artist lately, feel free to share in the comments.

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