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Community Highlights: Meet Alec Montiel of Flan Flambè

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alec Montiel.

Hi Alec, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
Flan Flambé is owned and run by myself Alec Montiel and my high school sweetheart Vanessa Lopez. She recently got her degree at SDSU in business management and entrepreneurship. I am a full-time student at SDSU studying psychology, full-time sales advisor, and baker by night! We have always had a passion for cooking and baking together. I would spend my free time creating high-level dishes with unique presentations. I began bringing some desserts and entrees to parties or events and received the majority of positive feedback from my flan. Using a tweaked recipe from my Grandmother, Totis, I perfected my recipe and created the silkiest and most delicious flan on the market. Once the pandemic started, my research and development created a vision for my plan which eventually led into a business. My partner Vanessa created our Instagram page and began marketing and promoting our flan. From there, we kept expanding our flavors and connecting with our customers and community. We loved partnering with many small local businesses to conduct giveaways and create new content. We also worked with many local food bloggers and reviewers to get our name out there. We started growing rapidly during holidays and peaked in our weekly sales. Then, we got an opportunity to build a wholesale relationship with the owners of Son of a Toast to serve our mini flans in their cafè at North Park. Today, we are currently in the growth stage of our business and can’t wait to keep expanding our creativity with new flavors and projects. Our main goal is to build strong relationships with our customers and provide the best and freshest flan in San Diego!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The pandemic was a challenging start for our business because customers had to adapt to shopping at local businesses rather than their usual grocery market. We had to quickly adjust to a new way of doing business almost completely virtually. Using social media as our main tool to kickstart our brand was key to survival. It was also a difficult time obtaining our packaging and resources because essentially all of our supplies and ingredients were on a delay or backorder. Keeping up with demand was a constant challenge that pushed us to keep increasing capacity and equipment. We believe these struggles helped us grow and learn how to quickly problem-solve. It also allowed us to find multiple suppliers and be consistent with our social media. After the challenging introduction to our business, we have consistently mastered the flow of our business processes.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
At Flan Flambè, we specialize in different flavor varieties of Spanish flan and desserts. We carry unique flavors and toppings including s’mores flan and Abuelita hot cocoa flan. We also have mini flans individually packaged for parties and events. What sets us apart from others is our silky, creamy texture. We turn non-believers into flan addicts! Many customers have told us it is the best flan they have ever had, period! The secret is that every flan we make is baked fresh to order with a lot of love and care. Our baker Alec hand whisks every flan and has a special touch that creates magic in the oven. Brand wise, we are most proud of making flan feel elevated but still authentic to our Mexican traditions and culture.

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
Yes, the biggest takeaway from the Covid-19 Crisis was to slow down and help each other as a community to get back on our feet. The amazing small business support groups that were made during the pandemic, including Eastlake Food to Go, inspired us to come together and lift up as many small businesses as we could through our brand. It also taught us that it is possible to follow your passions in life and be successful. Having more time to create and bring light to our idea came out of being able to work from home. The most important lesson was that nothing in life is predictable and that your life plan can change. Also, being able to allow that acceptance and adaptation to guide you on your path for great things to come.

Pricing:

  • 20% off discount code for readers use code ‘SDVOYAGER’ when ordering.

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Image Credits:

1. Misael Rosalez @misaelrosalez 2. Lucy Vasquez @luv_photo_graphy (business), @lucyv_sd (personal)

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