Thursday, October 16, 2008

Interview with Tammy Tibbetts, Editor of

I interviewed the lovely Tammy Tibbetts, editor of The interview transcript:

How would you describe your site in 40 words or less? is the leading source for quinceañera fashion, accessorizing, and planning, and is a platform for empowering Latina girls. We encourage them to dream big for their 15th birthday and even bigger for the next 15 years of their lives. is obviously geared towards Latina teens. Why target the Hispanic demographic?

The Hispanic youth population is growing at a faster rate than other ethnic groups. According to U.S. Census projections, by 2015, one-third of US teens will be Hispanic. Research from eMarketer also shows that Hispanic Internet users spend a third more time with media than the general U.S. population. So the increase in the quantity of the audience, coupled with the quality of their online experience, make it clear why we should be reaching this specific demographic if we want to grow our Teen Network (which includes brands like Seventeen, CosmoGirl, and Teen) exponentially in the years to come.

You have ample experience editing Web sites for teenagers. (In addition to, you are also the editor of In what ways is MisQuinceMag, as a site for young Latinas, different?

There's a big difference between editing for prom and quinceañera, and not just because is targeted to a specific ethnic group. When I create content for, reaching the teen girl is my first priority, but I am also conscious of the fact that she is sharing the site with parents and family members, because they are deeply involved in the planning process and financing of the party. This is why it's so important to have the site be bilingual, because older generations might not be as comfortable with English. My sense is that parents read the Spanish half of the site more, while the teen girls read the English more. Prom, on the other hand, is an experience shared mainly among peers, so in addition to fashion and beauty, we have more content on relationships and date issues.

As a new brand, how are you spreading the word and reaching out to your target audience?

We syndicate our bilingual content with related links to MSN Latino and AOL Latino, which has been key in growing our audience, because so many Hispanic users begin their web experience at these portals. We also have a presence on the social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube.

Once a year, has a print counterpart, which is an insert inside of a fall issue of Seventeen, CosmoGirl, and Teen. The newsstand presence is also a powerful driver to web.

And finally, we invest a lot of time and effort into optimizing web pages for search engines, so that users who are searching for quinceañera dresses or hairstyles, but who aren't necessarily aware of the brand, will find our great content and become repeat visitors.

What Web 2.0 features do you have on the site? Why did you pick them?

My favorite is a blog written by the leading quinceañera expert in the world, Isabella Wall, who is recognized as the fairy godmother of quinceañeras. The blog is published in Spanish and English. I chose to produce a blog because it's infused with Isabella's personality, making it livelier than an article might be, and it's updated weekly, so it keeps the site fresh.

Have you seen any successes with those features? How is your audience responding to them?

Yes, the blog has been a huge success. I love seeing users comment on it in both languages, asking for more tips and thanking Isabella for the ideas she's sharing with them. The blog inspires them and makes them feel connected to a woman who is at once respected, like an aunt or tía, but who also relates to them on their level.

Do you have any upcoming plans for the site that you can share with us?

Flipbooks, or photo galleries, are a proven success with our audience – and online audiences in general – so I plan to create more content that is image-based, rather than publish longer, texty articles. I also hope to foster a community where quince girls can connect with one another and offer each other tips based on their own party planning experiences.

What advice can you give to people interested in marketing to or otherwise professionally targeting young Latinas?

Do research. Read Advertising Age's Hispanic Fact Pack and eMarketer's studies on Hispanic user web trends. Immerse yourself in the culture. If you don't speak Spanish, take classes. Listen to Spanish music. Buy a copy of People en Español. And above all, take the time to invite young Latinas into your offices or engage with them in your community so you can ask them directly what matters to them.

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