Women is...: Christy Haubegger, Magazine Entrepreneur

Christy Haubegger, Magazine Entrepreneur

profession: founder, president and publisher of Latina, the first glossy national mag for Hispanic women in the U.S.

the numbers: Started in 1996, the magazine made it to the newsstands. In 1996, it's circulation was 300,000, and not yet profitable. (Few magazines are in their first year.) Latina went monthly in July 1997.

born: Aug. 15, 1968 in Houston, Texas.

education: BA, Philosophy & Spanish literature, University of Texas. JD, Stanford Law School.
the magazine: Headquartered in Manhattan, Latina covers a range of women's issues -- with a Hispanic flavor. Recent features include a cover piece on "La Bombshell" actress Salma Hayek, and the first all Latina sex survey. The main articles are in English (features are summarized in a Spanish sidebar), and many of the ads are in Spanish.

Aimed at a range of Latinas, aged 18-49, the magazine find its readers in areas of the U.S. with large Hispanic populations, such as LA, NYC and parts of Texas.

beginnings: Born to a Mexican-American mother, Haubegger was adopted as an infant by an Anglo couple who strove to raise her with a strong awareness of her ancestry. She started learning Spanish in pre-school.

the inspiration: Haubegger says the blonde, blue-eyed models she saw in women's magazines as she was growing up did not reflect her body type or her beauty concerns. And when she went on to college and law school, she found that she and her fellow Latinas had trouble finding professional role models.

"I wanted to change the way Latinas see themselves, as well as how others see them," she explains.
"I felt it [a Hispanic women's pub] was the one women's magazine that I'd want to read, and I kept thinking, 'Somebody should do it.' And finally I realized that that somebody was going to have to be me."

the way up: At Stanford she took several entrepreneurial classes while getting her law degree. Spent her first year out of law school doing her financial homework and looking for the financier most likely to support her niche.

the backer: Edward Lewis, CEO of Essence Communications, Inc., and founder of Essence Magazine (which 25 years ago was the first publication targeted specifically at African-American women) vowed years ago never to start another magazine from scratch. And he didn't -- until he saw Haubegger's proposal. "It was one of the best business plans I had seen in almost 20 years in this business," he said. "It was extraordinary for a person her age [27]."
why now: Advertisers are finally getting hip to the buying power of the American Hispanic community -- estimated in 1995 to be just over $200 billion. And with the Hispanic population growing at four times the rate of the general U.S. population, marketers are sitting up and taking notice. "Now I can show them the numbers that say we buy 15% of the country music and 10% of the lipstick, and suddenly they're interested," Haubegger says.

household: "Incredibly single," she says, laughing that, in her office, anyone who gets the publisher a date wins a prize. Still, there are perks to being publisher of a women's mag. TV actor Jimmy Smits once kissed her on the cheek at an event.

exit strategy: Some 900 new magazine titles launched in the U.S. in '96 alone, although few had Latina's established backing; so what will Haubegger turn to if the magazine fails, as most start-up pubs do? "I can always be a lawyer," she says.

web-savviness: "Some 85% of our readers have access to an online service through work or school or at home," she says. "We're planning on growing the magazine through the web, but not in a way that will compete with our paper product. We want to feature things like how to email your favorite celebrities, or the anti-Macarena site." Look for the Latina site in mid-'97.