Oberwortmann finds a love in getting the word out about clients
By the Wichita Business Journal. For the full article, click here.
“It took about a week for Jessica Oberwortmann to determine that there could be no “side” to her side business.
Director of marketing communications at Jaco Construction, Oberwortmann had received permission to work on marketing for others in her spare time.
“Then things got crazy,” Oberwortmann said.
Word began to get out about her side business. A Wichita Business Journal story on her solo business venture spread the news. Before long, she had 10 clients and no thoughts of spare time.
“A week later, we all got together at Jaco and decided I needed to go out on my own,” said Oberwortmann, a former WBJ 40 Under 40 honoree and a former Emerging Leader.
Nearing a year later, JF Marketing and Branding has 15 clients with little room or time to take on more. All that despite Oberwortmann, 26, ignoring a seemingly simple rule for marketing businesses.
Market thyself first.
“Honestly, I haven’t done any type of advertising myself because I’ve been so busy,” said Oberwortmann, who counts Eby Construction and Georges French Bistro among her clients. “I haven’t had time, which sounds insane, but it’s true. I put my head down and just started working. And work just kept coming.”
Oberwortmann got experience in marketing through studies at Newman University and an internship at Intrust Bank Arena, which exposed her to event marketing for the first time.
She also worked for Jajo, a Wichita marketing firm.
“When you work at an agency, you do a little bit of what this business is, a little bit,” Oberwortmann said. “When you go out on your own, you’re your own agency.”
Marrying into a family of business leaders only helps. She’s married to James Oberwortmann, president of Metro Courier and another WBJ 40 Under 40 honoree. His mother, Anita Oberwortmann, founded Wilson Building Maintenance 40 years ago. Jessica’s JF Marketing — the JF is for Jessica Fagherazzi, her maiden name — does work for both of those businesses.
This wasn’t Oberwortmann’s plan when she came to the United States from Brazil as a 17-year-old high school graduate. A lover of languages, she wanted to go to college for a year in the U.S., a year in Italy and a year in France. But she enjoyed America so much as a freshman at Illinois State University, she returned to Brazil and changed her plans.
A friend told her of Newman University, and the lover of travel has been based in Wichita since.
She works out of a refurbished office in her home, not yet needing a public space or employees. She imagines she’ll keep her business at around the same size, even as she and James begin to start a bigger family.
“I’ve always known I’ve wanted to work from home when we start a family and have babies,” she said. “I’ve always imagined me with a child at home and being on the computer. I can’t imagine not being at home with our children.”
Oberwortmann won’t rule out building her business into something bigger. Someday, maybe. No hurry.
“I think five years from now, 10 years from now, I’ll be doing the exact same thing,” Oberwortmann said. “Hopefully with more clients and I’ll be able to take care of it. If I need to hire more people to help with things, I’ll do it.”
That will probably be in Wichita, too. Along with her husband’s deep roots, she says she found out early on in her Newman days how special a city it is.
“I can say that I’m extremely happy that I decided to make Wichita my home,” Oberwortmann said. “I’ve lived in other cities, and here it feels like there’s more of a sense of community. People help each other and they recommend you to others if you do a good job.”’