Avion: An Accelerator For Latinas Takes Flight

Source: FORBES| by Giovanni Rodriguez | 4/29/2014 @ 12:58PM ET

Several years ago, when I had a column on multicultural marketing for an online marketing publication, I got the opportunity to interview the head of marketing for the Girl Scouts.  The subject of the story was the organization’s approach to bilingual marketing, which as I learned was really more of a bi-cultural approach.  For what the Girl Scouts had recently learned themselves was that it takes more than just sensitivity to language to connect with America’s fastest-growing group of girls.

Second, Avion recognizes that Latina entrepreneurs represent not just a demographic that needs help, but one that can actually createnew market opportunities that only they themselves can imagine.  “Many Latinas are already innovators,” said Francesca Escolo-Zavala, CEO of Innovation Labs, which is partnering with Avion on a startup tour in the US to meet with Latina entrepreneurs in six cities.  “They are leading their homes with very innovative recipes – but they have never though of that as potential for a patent that can be sold to a major brand.  They are creating innovative garments re-using materials – but they have never thought of that as green technology, never mind manufacturing.”

The focus on cultural dynamics should serve Avion well.   But there’s one more part to the story that’s sure to get the attention:  Jesse Martinez and his brother Ed – also with LSA – are working behind the scenes for this new venture.  You see, Avion may be the only “airline” where only men are the “attendants.”

It’s a refreshing recasting of the roles in a market that frankly has not been creative and responsive to the needs of women.  But it’s also a clue to the question of gender collaboration, the topic of the next and final piece in this series.