If Mary Portas can’t save the high street, perhaps J-Lo can? The entrepreneurial diva has announced that she is to open her own retail chain of mobile phone stores.
Jennifer Lopez will take the concept of celebrity endorsement to the next level by launching a personalised brand of bricks and mortar mobile phone outlets.
The Hispanic singer’s stores, called Viva Movil, will target the Latino community and provide a “culturally relevant shopping experience” to customers.
Lopez, 43, who enjoys an estimated wealth of $250 million, plans to open a chain of 15 stores, beginning with an outlet in New York on 15 June, followed by Los Angeles and Miami. The stores will sell Verizon handsets.
“As modern Latinos we do things differently, including how we shop for mobile devices,” the "Jenny From The Block" singer said at the CTIA Wireless Show in Las Vegas. “Latinos love social networks and we’re super active online.”
Lopez, who will perform with Lionel Richie at a Hyde Park concert in July, has taken the post of chief creative officer of Viva Movil and is a majority owner in the brand.
Her stores, staffed by bilingual employees, will feature “contemporary signage and branding, music and layout”, as well as a children’s play area.
“As an entrepreneur, empowering the Latino community is at the core of what I choose to have my businesses stand for and exemplify,” she told the wireless association conference.
Lopez is rising steadily up the corporate ladder. She has also become chief creative officer at Nuvo TV, an English language television network for Latinos.
Verizon approached Lopez over the phone alliance after the company’s research found that Hispanic consumers identify with her “likability, authenticity and transparency”.
The star said she had been working with Verizon on the project for the past two years. She cited “staggering” demographic statistics that showed the Latino population had grown 43 per cent in the last five years, compared with 5 per cent growth for non-Latinos.
Latinos spend an average of 1.5 more hours online than non-Latino consumers, and are more likely to share their online purchases with friends on their social networks.
Lopez, who made her big screen breakthrough in the 1998 film Out Of Sight, added the phone business to a corporate portfolio which includes endorsement deals with Fiat, Gucci, Venus and L’Oreal.
Lopez will use social media to promote her new phone venture. “I’m so proud to introduce @viva_movil, a new way to shop for smartphones. Made for you by me & Verizon!,” she wrote on Instagram.