Her Own Boss #BossesGiveBack Edition:
Brooke Hamilton is the President and CEO, Nameplates. Inc. (NPI) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. NPI is a third-generation family-run, Woman Owned Small Business, dedicated to partnering with clients to provide excellent service and high quality identification products.
What motivated you to start your business?
I am the third-generation woman in my family to own this manufacturing business. My grandmother Marjorie started it after she sold a company she ran following the sudden passing of my grandfather in the ‘70s. My grandmother was a dynamic woman who wasn’t ready to retire. At 53 she started NPI because she still had the passion and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. She passed her entrepreneurial spirit down to my mom and then to me.
What is the greatest barrier you faced in launching your business and how did you overcome it?
The greatest barrier was money. My grandmother sold everything – even her home – to get the business started. But for 40-plus years, the women in my family have overcome adversity and I’m proud to say we continue to flex with the industry and offer quality products and services to our customers.
Do you have a mentor? How did you find him/her?
I have several: my mother, my grandmother, and now a peer of mine. Each of these women has given me a greater understanding of how business works. The ultimate factor is that you have integrity in everything you do. I hope that will never change.
If you could go back in time to when you were first starting, what would you tell yourself, with the intention of avoiding mistakes and heartache?
Get all of the facts and ask many questions. Once you think you have all of the information, you should ask again. It is all of the little things you don’t know because of inexperience that creep up to bite you. In addition, try to never let it happen again.
What resources have been most helpful to you?
The Tulsa Regional Chamber, Schnake Turnbo Frank (a communications/marketing firm) and GPI. Each of these organizations has helped me understand our market, the importance of community and our business peers.
What does success look like for you?
It looks like no worries and being in a place where you can relax a little.
What do you do to recharge?
I love relaxing by playing golf, running and spending time with friends and family at the lake.
What’s your advice for a woman that’s considering starting her own business?
Passion is the No. 1 ingredient. At the end of the day, ask yourself if you would do it simply for the enjoyment and not a paycheck. Make sure you have created a culture you can be proud of and a company that exceeds the expectation of your employees and customers.
To learn more about Brooke Hamilton and NPI, check out her website at: http://www.nameplatesusa.com/.