Tulsa Voted As Top City For Women Entrepreneurs
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa is the number one city in the country for female business owners, according to a survey by Thumbtack - an online resource for small businesses.
The survey polled 12,000 female business owners, and Tulsa got high marks for pay, friendliness and job satisfaction.
Nikki Halgren never thought she'd be where she is today.
"I signed up for a craft show, I didn't know what I was going to do but my friend who wanted to share a booth with me wanted to do hair flowers, and so the only thing I could fit in the other 5x5 section was probably jewelry," she said.
That notion to "probably do jewelry" sure has paid off; she's now the proud creator of the jewelry company Gleeful Peacock.
Halgren said it all started while she was working a normal 9 to 5.
"Everything in my life was beige and boring," she said.
Her life was missing something, so she started to add color by painting and creating things.
"That's when I'm my happiest, that's when I come alive," she said.
Now, seven years later, Halgren has a website, an Etsy page and ships her handmade jewelry to thousands of boutiques across the country. She said she couldn't have done it anywhere else.
"I had so much support, and so many loyal customers, and I would even call them fans of the line, that I just felt like that's what helped this get off the ground," she said. “I felt like this is my chance, and if I leave Tulsa I leave the opportunities here. If I leave the people who support it here I'm not going to have that where I go elsewhere."
Halgren is just one of many female entrepreneurs who call Tulsa home.
Many know the success story of Jill Donovan - the creator of Rustic Cuff, now a jewelry empire.
Now, more and more women are starting their businesses here on purpose.
Kourtney Brooks is in the process of creating a makeup line for women overseas.
"The resources here were unbelievable, and something I couldn't get in Oklahoma City or really anywhere else across the country," she said.
Tammy Torkleson runs her own software engineering firm called Indigo.
"Even though I have a lot of contacts in Silicon Valley because I've been working in that market for several years, I could not have done in the Bay Area what I've done here in Tulsa," she said.
Both women office out of 36 Degrees North - located in the Brady Arts District downtown; it's just one of the many unique resources in Tulsa.
Those resources are something Halgren has utilized as well.
"I think there's opportunities, I think there's resources, I also think that fellow business owners are so supportive here. I have lunch later this week with a fellow business owner here in Tulsa, and the support that is given here is amazing," she said.
Halgren said that support has pushed her into the next phase of her business.
"In 2017 there will probably be one of the biggest changes for us, but I think that, as an entrepreneur, if you're not a little bit scared you're probably not doing it right," she said.