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The business of art: NMSU students help to make art profitable

Virginia Maria Romero is a successful, award-winning artist, but now she is taking her passion even further thanks to the work of New Mexico State University business students.



An Arte de Romero tile chosen by the College of Business for use as a gift to visitors. It has been formatted with the NMSU logo. (Submitted Photo)

Romero approached NMSU for help with a marketing plan and business strategy for Arte de Romero, a young company she and a partner created. The company markets ceramic tiles with images reproduced from Romero's original artwork for gifts and murals. The project was given to Arrowhead Center, which specializes in helping small businesses get off the ground. This was Arrowhead's first time helping an artist.

"I was able to ask questions and get answers I wouldn't have been able to get anyplace else," said Romero of her work with Arrowhead Center. "Their help was more than anything I ever anticipated."

Romero has won recognition for her artwork. Her gift tiles are sold in a variety of locations across New Mexico, but she wanted to expand to more shops in more locations around the country. She also wanted to market her tiles for murals in museums, universities or other public places, giving large-scale visibility to her work.

Arrowhead assigned Romero's project to NMSU's BA 502 class, the capstone course for the College of Business's MBA program. The student team of Jaren Broadbent, Richard Hernandez and Renee Huber-Landrum met with Romero once a week throughout the semester while conducting market analysis and developing the best plan for her.

Romero asked for marketing strategies to promote and distribute her tiles to a larger client base. She also requested suggestions for what her management team should look like and any other recommendations the Arrowhead Center could provide.

The students studied all aspects of the company including policies and procedures, legal issues, sales, income, cost reduction and marketing. The final draft of their plan for Romero was presented for their BA 502 final exam.

"With the qualities of products Arte de Romero produces, as well as Mrs. Romero's ability to form relationships with people, we believe Arte de Romero has a lot of potential," said Hernandez.

Romero said she is already using some of their recommendations, including charting sales and other figures, to monitor growth. She said she is excited about implementing more of their suggestions.