CHRISTY HAUBEGGER: Publisher, Latina

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Latina founder and publisher Christy Haubegger has been a leader in cultivating the Hispanic female consumer segment.

While she says she's surprised by her own success, she always was confident the publishing industry had room for a glossy title geared to Hispanic women.

Ms. Haubegger, 31, has had her tale told time and again. She was a Stanford law student when she wrote a business plan for a magazine as a class project. She finessed the plan after graduation and found success at age 27, when she hooked up with Essence CEO Ed Lewis and struck a deal. She launched Latina in 1996.

In the past year, Ann Taylor, Chanel and Nike have signed on as major advertisers.

"We are part of their mainstream market," she says.

"Our first few issues had less than 20 ad pages apiece. By contrast, our March and April issues closed this year with more than 70 pages. One of the secrets to our success is that our sales team is largely comprised of women who are in the target market."

Latina ad pages continue to build: March 1999 had 40-plus ad pages; this year the March issue will top 70 pages.

"I want to build a great media company. It's not that far off," she says. "The magazine is the first brick."

In late 1999, she signed a deal with Hyperion Books to publish "Latina Beauty," a Hispanic women's beauty book slated for October release. Her six-figure advance was a record for Hispanic non-fiction, she says.

The publisher also hopes to see some film, TV and magazine spin-offs.

Last year, Ms. Haubegger was the youngest of five women inducted into the American Advertising Federation's Hall of Achievement for changing the way people think about the Hispanic market.

She's only just begun, she promises.

"We're harvesting seeds we planted years ago," she says. "A couple of years later the seed finds fertile ground. The nice thing is we were in place and ready."

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