Nikke Stiletto: We are here with Jason Torrico, President and CEO of Latin é. Tell us about Latin é.
Jason Torrico: Latin é is an entertainment media production company providing original content to second and third generation Latino’s…[basically] Latino’s that are more Americanized. [A demographic] that has been largely underserved [focus on].
NS: OK! That’s great! I read a recent interview you granted with Kathryn Brown from College Magazine (article link) and in it she mentioned that Latino’s make up the largest minority group in the United States.
JT: Yes! So, the Latin market is 1.3 trillion dollar market in the United States.
JT: If it were a country it would be the 9th largest country in the world. The statistic behind that is 50,000 American-born Latino’s are turning 18 every month for the next 20 years. So it’s a huge demographic.
NS: That’s a large audience!
JT: Yes it is. We did some additional research and we found that 49% of Latinos preferred their advertisements in English. So if you start doing the math, 49% of 1.3 trillion is an over $600 billion market and that’s what we’re attracting.
NS: Wow…That’s amazing!
JT: It is!
NS: So you guys were pretty busy in 2013. Your newsletter really got it in last year with the “We Are The Movement” Launch Party, and the T-Shirts, and the Latin Billboard Conference and Awards. So tell us a little more about what you all were able to accomplish last year.
JT: 2013 was a really great year. We developed relationships with a lot of key [people] in the industry. For example, we have a great relationship with the Mr. 305 Inc label. At the Latin Billboards we interviewed everyone on the Mr. 305 Inc label with the exception of PitBull and Madai, because they were on tour. So its been great! More recently interviewed Leslie Grace, the Princess of the Bachata. She’s a big upcoming star. And those are just some of the accomplishments that we’ve had in 2013.
NS: Those are some great accomplishments! So I think we should back up a little bit. How did Latin é get started? How did it even become an idea for you?
JT: Funny enough, I had finished a startup a few years ago. It ended in 2009 and I started getting the entrepreneurial itch, if you will. I was trying to figure out something that was innovative and had nothing to do with business consulting or IT. So it had to be something that was going to be fun! I started throwing some ideas around with my trusted friends and associates. One day I was watching TV and I said you know nothing is really catered to the American Latino! You know, folks like me and pretty much a lot of my friends and family that are all 2nd and 3rd generation Latino. It’s really just one stream or the other. No one is really providing content catered to “us”. So we started throwing the idea around with some trusted advisors that I have and they said that it’s a really great idea and that I should really go after it. We started molding the idea little bit more and shortly thereafter in 2012 we [did it]!
NS: Congratulations on that! A lot of people have great ideas like that and just let them fall by the wayside so congrats for even following through on that.
JT: Thank you.
NS: So what kind of roadblocks did you encounter in starting Latin é? Do you feel like any of them were specific to the audience you were targeting or just everyday type of problems most people run into when starting a business?
JT: I would say its a combination. There was a lot of skepticism actually. I started telling folks in the business community what we were doing, especially in the Latin community. They were kind of like “Ok here we go…”
JT: But because of our strong team of folks, [with] many of them [being] very experienced professionals, we presented ourselves in a professional manner. We received numerous compliments from media and public relations companies. They said, “Finally a media company that gets it, you guys are prepared.” So now we have earned that respect from the business community and that’s kind of what’s pushed us further ahead.
NS: That’s great that you all have that recognition and respect from the industry.
NS: So tell me about the cooking show! I hear you all have a cooking show coming up!
JT: So…yes we do have a cooking show we are going to be working on, but I’m going to hold my comments on that until a later date. We are launching another show, Latina é Style, which is going to be a talk show for Latinas where they’ll discuss fashion, style, health and nutrition and it will be aired on local television. That will be out in the Summer of 2014.
NS: Ok so it’s coming up really soon!
JT: Yeah we actually go into production next month.
NS: That is great! So you all have your hands pretty much in several different pots and it seems that all of your pots are starting to come to a boil and really taking off!
JT: Yeah to some extent I do feel like a chef in a very busy restaurant! [Laughter]
So if you meet someone new and you’re trying to get them to check out Latin é, what’s the most important thing you tell them about it.
JT: It really depends on who I’m talking to. Just like in advertising and marketing you cater to your audience, right?
JT: So I can usually sense or easily identify motivators, but the general feel is, I tell people to check out this new website and these new programs. Its pretty innovative, energetic, and great quality content. We’ve have content on everything from fashion to exclusives with celebrities, music and even the blog! If you want to learn more about the Latin community, just go to the website! And the beauty of it is that it’s all in English!
The fact that is in English is a huge motivator, it has become this resource and portal for non Latino’ s to learn about the Latin culture. This way they we can debunk many of the stereotypes that have generally been out there about the Latin community. We’re very much involved in the community and doing positive things.
NS: That’s very cool that the page is in English! I have family members who are of the hispanic culture and they don’t speak a lick of Spanish and they WANT to be involved in the Latin culture, but they feel left out because they don’t speak Spanish. So that’s great that Latin é s out there and focuses on people like them without everything always being in Spanish.
JT: You’re exactly right. Many of our team members are that exact profile that you described. I remember running into one of the interns and she said, “I’m Latina and I don’t speak Spanish! And I love this idea because I love Latin culture and I can relate to this and I like it!” So it really works very well.
NS: So what do you see happening five years from now with Latin é? Where do you all expect to be?
JT: Five years from now we plan being our own network channel on a cable network and syndicated on platforms such as Hulu and Netflix; [we will be ] a huge conglomerate, if you will.
NS: Nice! Well I definitely will be looking forward to that! I’ll be checking ya’ll out and continuing to follow you guys and where Latin é has gone, I mean you all have really come a long way even though you haven’t been around that long. I really commend you all on all the progress you have made in such a short period of time. Like you said you all carry yourselves as a professional organization and you can see that in all the work. It’s very quality: your website, your newsletter…it doesn’t look like it was lackadaisically thrown together. So congrats on all that hard work.
JT: Thank you. The team was instrumental. None of this could have been possible without the team. They work very hard, late nights, all of that. Their efforts definitely show in all of the compliments that we have received. So thank you, because I really appreciate it. I can’t tell them how much what they do is actually being recognized and they are doing such great work!
NS: Where can we look for Latin é in the immediate future?
JT: We’re always doing local and community events here in the Washington D.C. area. It’s very important that we have that grass-roots effort; supporting a lot of local events. Obviously the Latin Billboards and the Latin Grammys…so we will be doing things like that. Some of these major events, because we have been getting the positive recognition, we are beginning to get those invites. Our presence will be seen a lot more because of [these upcoming events and opportunities].
NS: Of course! And that exposure is going to continue to grow and take-off! And Sui Generis Music will be keeping up with the happenings of Latin é!
Let everyone know where they can find Latin é.
JT: Come support us! Be part of the movement! Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel!
*This interview is brought to you by Nikke Stiletto, LLC and is for entertainment purposes only. Images are courtesy of The CEO of Latin é.