Sharina Perry wanted to reinvent petroleum-based plastics using sustainable, renewable materials. Two quick years and one pandemic later and Utopia Plastix is on the forefront of the alternative plastic market. The company is on the trajectory to be a billion company, with a current nine-figure deal in the works for this year.
As a little girl, Sharina Perry would draw her vision of what she thought a utopia would be like. In her utopia, problems were always solved. Resources were plentiful and pain didn’t exist. She said she’d draw her version of this perfect world to help make sense of the real world.
“I didn’t understand disparity as a pre-teen,” she said. “In my world, everyone got along. It was utopia. Everyone could eat. Every time I heard about a world problem, we could solve it in my utopia. And, we always solved it God’s way. Utopia was my Biblical understanding of escaping in this world.”
Perry said this mindset of how to solve problems – using the resources God gave this earth – stayed with her through the rest of her life. And, while eating lunch one day at an OKC eatery, she realized she wanted to work to provide solutions just like she’d always drawn out in her version of utopia.
“I was at McNellie’s, and I got a paper straw and it broke down in my drink,” she said. “And I thought, ‘This can’t be a solution.’ It was a true ‘aha moment.’ It was that moment that everything I’ve walked through in life and ultimately seen and learned was for:”
Inspired by the need to replace petroleum-based plastics but knowing that paper replacements weren’t the answer, she set out to reinvent how plastic is made.
And, spoiler: She absolutely did.
“Very few people get to reinvent plastic,” Perry said.
After seeing some success in her kitchen in 2018 creating a straw using materials like beeswax and paraffin, she knew she could create a plastic replacement made out of natural materials.
She then started working on creating a polymer from plant-based materials. And after trials and errors, in February 2020, she discovered a formula that worked to create a plant-based plastic alternative resin that could be used to manufacture products in all plastic applications.
She went to market with her polymer and quickly inked her first contract in October 2020 for $100,000 a month. Utopia Plastix had arrived on the scene.
Two quick years and one pandemic later and Utopia Plastix is on the forefront of the alternative plastic market with more than $400 million in yearly revenue. And, the company is on the trajectory to be a multi-billion company, with a current nine-figure deal in the works for this year.
“I was always seeing through this process God’s hand because there is no way by human design this was going to work out,” she said.
Now, the Utopia model is circular as the company works with farmers, processors, manufacturers, distributors and consumers across the country helping to create sustainable economies for many different sectors.
“We don’t create problems as much as we try to solve them,” she said. “We try to look for solutions in holistic ways.”
For Perry, the little girl who drew her own utopia now gets to create a real-life version, solving a global problem with God-given resources.
“I get to wake up and know I’m doing good,” she said. “I get to imagine if we did it God’s way. It’s not just about a product. The story is bigger. God is using Utopia Plastix because it had to be something big enough to grab the attention of the world.