Balaguer explains the company's growth has been a series of "logical successions." Talent management led to marketing, which paved the way to licensing and then endorsements. With a portfolio of talent, he says it made sense to start a production company and generate their own content. His wife, former Univision producer Melissa Escobar, is the president of LatinWE Productions and manages their YouTube channel www.NuevOn.com. The division has produced specials for Univision, Viva Hollywood for VH1, partnered with Disney Latin America to executive-produce two seasons of Desperate Housewives in Argentina and produced a season of Golden Girls for Spain. Headquartered in Miami with offices in Los Angeles, LatinWE has developed a successful, self-sustaining business environment. All the different divisions, Latin We Management LLC, Latin We Marketing and Promotions LLC and Latin We Ventures LLC, are independent subsidiaries owned by LatinWE Holdings.
It's all about the people, insists Balaguer. "No one knows it all and a big chunk of my knowledge comes from the people I surround myself with. I was very careful in selecting the people I expose our talent to and that will help them in their careers. I knew we had to invest heavily in top executives to succeed."
Balaguer hired top-level attorneys to review talent contracts and endorsement deals and brought in executive talent such as Paul Robb, former CEO of Lifestyle Design Group and cofounder of LatinWE's licensing division, Nancy Overfield-Delmar, once senior VP of 20th Century Fox Licensing, and Michael Wolfson, ex-chief creative officer of AOL.
According to Balaguer, management, endorsements and licensing are LatinWE's biggest revenue generators. He points out Overfield-Delmar's arrival to the company accelerated their licensing success, with the first Kmart deal signed in less than a year. "We started with four and now have 29 categories. We're no longer just clothing. We're eyeglasses, jewelry, luggage and we're now moving into furniture and taking the line internationally," says Balaguer, who stresses that Vergara's hands-on approach makes her the "leader" of that company. "She's involved with design, quality, pricing, how she wants it to be marketed."
"I love it. It doesn't feel like work for me," says Vergara.