Featured Women in Business: Debbie Overton
Debbie Overton is an entrepreneur and mixed media artist. Her work has been exhibited in various galleries and art shows in Arkansas and Georgia, and has been published in art magazines and an altered art book.
Debbie is also the founder of the online art group Mixed Media Collage Artists and the MMCA Marketplace, an online market for artists and fine crafters to sell their art.
OWM: How did you become an artist?
DO: Art has always been a part of my life. Ten years ago, I had a chance to leave a professional day job and pursue my art full time. Now 10 years later I am a professional mixed media artist and founder of an online art group, Mixed Media Collage Artists. I also run an online marketplace for other artists called MMCA Marketplace.
OWM: How did you get started with marketing?
DO: Even though I had been selling to family and friends, I decided to build my own website and get my art out to more people. Customer service is very important to me and I knew that could make or break me. Being raised a southern girl, you are taught to always put your best out there. I believe that was what made getting started easy.
OWM: What marketing methods have worked best for you?
DO: Word-of-mouth is the best press you can get. That said, I am constantly sending press releases, making cold calls, and writing newsletters. The newsletter is the most challenging for me because I have to make myself sit down and do it, even though I can always think of other things I would rather be doing. And you can’t forget about social networking with Facebook, Twitter, and many others.
OWM: What do you wish you knew about marketing before you started?
DO: How persistent and time-consuming it is, and how important it is to follow up on your contacts. I brought what I had learned in the business world with me when I started my art business, but it is harder to use that knowledge when you want to be in the studio creating. The business side of art is a full-time job. Most days I spend more time taking care of the business than I do creating.
OWM: How has your self image changed since you began marketing?
DO: I have always carried a very high self esteem. Lack of confidence is not even in my vocabulary. When you get recognition for something you have written or created it gives you a boost to want to do more.
OWM: To what do you attribute your success?
DO: Never giving up! Always striving to do more and do it better! Also, surrounding myself with others that are positive and full of energy in both business and art.