Ten years ago, when journalist Alisa Valdes published her first book, The Dirty Girls Social Club, she couldn’t find any novels that spoke to women like her—well-educated and well-heeled Latinas. Now, more than a dozen books later, Valdes is looking to connect with those women on Rica (Rich), an online lifestyle magazine.
While the importance of the U.S. Hispanic population is no secret to marketers, the power of upscale Hispanics—defined as people in households making between $50,000 and $100,000 a year—is only beginning to receive attention. A recent report from Nielsen called wealthy Hispanics “the most influential segment since the baby boomers,” controlling $4 out of every $10 spent by the demo, while the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the percentage of Latinas earning over $50,000 has grown more than 200 percent over the past 10 years.
Numbers like that showed Valdes the potential of a media destination specifically for that population. “I had been speaking to this upscale Latino group for 10 years without even realizing that there was a name for it,” she recalled. “I saw that no one was targeting this group with a magazine or website.”
Rica, which is scheduled to launch Nov. 15, will cover lifestyle content—from fashion and beauty to books and celebrities—through a Hispanic and luxury lens and in English. (Valdes stressed that she wants to avoid being overly ethnocentric: “A big mistake with ethnic websites has been that they assume the Latina only wants to read about people like her.”) The venture is modest; it’s being funded through Valdes’ production company and she’s enlisted has 10 freelancers as contributors, including comedian Rick Najera and author Reyna Grande.
While magazines like Time Inc.’s People en Español, Meredith Corp.’s Siempre Mujer and independent Latina have found success targeting a broader Hispanic audience, publishers agree that advertisers haven’t paid much attention to the luxury Latina consumer, potentially because brands assume that she is already being reached through general-market magazines like Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar or because there aren’t enough of them reading existing Hispanic publications.
“[The upscale Latina] has been underserved, and I would go as far as saying ignored,” said Enedina Vega-Amáez, vp, publisher of Meredith Hispanic Media. “Advertisers haven’t targeted her either … You don’t see a lot of the luxury brands courting her.”
Valdes hopes that focusing on upscale Hispanics will attract those luxury advertisers to the site.
Whether the site can attract enough of these upscale Latina readers to warrant advertisers’ attention remains to be seen. “Advertisers today want niche, but they also want scale,” said Vega-Amáez.