Seasoned shutterbug Joel “Gus” Archer takes pride in watching his photography students develop new skills and a visual voice as he leads a variety of classes that can benefit novice and experienced photographers alike. Beginners learn to wield their new Nikons, Canons, iPhones, or optically implanted cameras in group classes or deepen their talents in sports, underwater, or macro photography. In addition to teaching the general population, Joel has shared his expertise to train law-enforcement agencies from the International Association of Arson Investigators to the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association, as well as the Junior League of Oklahoma City. When Joel isn’t teaching, he draws from his Swedish and Cherokee heritage to inform his breadth of work and compiles tutorials such as his upcoming book, Dark Dirty Secrets of Digital Photography.
Lori Alison’s daughter needed a cool bag for her first day of school. Because her daughter is in a wheelchair, Lori found herself lacking any good options, so she decided to fashion one herself. She sewed together an oilcloth bag that would meet all three of her daughter’s needs: fun, funky, and functional. This experience sparked Lori’s love of oilcloth as a medium and inspired her to transform her passion project into a home business, named Tatermash Oilcloth for her daughter's nickname. Today, all Lori's pieces are in oilcloth—a printed vinyl that can easily be cleaned with a towel and soap—and they range from totes and purses to diaper bags, aprons, cosmetic bags, and bags for gathering newly tapped oil. With two shops in the area, most products are made in Tulsa and sewn directly by the Tatermash staff, allowing for easy embroidery and customized orders.
Sage Premium Denim Bar's fashion-forward staff helps visitors to conceal their bareness with a unique collection of trendy, everyday boutique wear from brand-name manufacturers such as Miss Me, Twisted X, and LA Idol. Sage's wide selection of boots presents kicks for both men and women and rotates often––like the Mona Lisa's facial expression. Slip into a pair of Lane Boots ($125–$500) that stylishly fortify feet and support the company's philanthropic mission to benefit schools. Boots by Corral pride themselves on their durability ($175–$250), and boots by Ariat are designed for competitive horseback riders and mechanical-bull wranglers ($145¬–$219 for men's).
With 20 years of experience as a self-employed handyman, Charlie Potter could handle most home-improvement jobs, but he possessed enough humility to know he couldn't do everything himself. So he and his wife had an idea: develop a network of specialty contractors ready to take on any job, no matter how specialized. This strength-in-numbers approach launched Contractors Just 4U, and today, more than 34 licensed-and-insured contractors serve home- and small-business owners with services that range from complete remodels to basic handyman services. Roofing, flooring, and painting jobs are just a few examples of the services within Contractors Just 4U's repertoire, which also includes landscaping, ghost busting, and interior design.
While chatting on the phone with a friend, Katrina Uhls had a startling realization: her kids had been playing video games for hours. She discovered that by effectively “unplugging” her kids, she could steer them toward more creative, introspective pastimes.
Now, as the owner of Unpluggits Playstudio, she fosters a safe, welcoming space where all kids can "unplug" and explore their artistic sides. Kids will find shelves stocked with play-doh, stamps, stencils, and other craft supplies. They can don smocks and wield nontoxic paints at miniature easels. Paint’n take projects give them personalized crafts to take home, such as picture frames and piggy banks useful for saving up to buy new toys or a gold-plated piggy bank. For more active playtime pursuits, kids can gambol toward the indoor playground, which features slides, a pirate ship, and air-hockey tables.
As kids explore the 3,000-square-foot studio, parents are welcome to cruise free WiFi or monitor tykes from the snack bar, which serves freshly ground organic coffee, juices, and soda. Special workshops open the space for toddler-specific activities, adults-only craft time, and parents' nights out.
Learn To Brew was created by a professional brewer in an effort to provide patrons with a one-stop-shop for supplies, hands-on classes, and how-to videos for crafting beer and wine. In addition to taps and kegerators for homes or businesses, staff members stock ingredients such as hops, malts, and yeasts. In their classes, they cover everything from balancing acids for wine to fermenting honey for mead.