Princess San Diego has tried her hand at 14 different types of businesses. She’s sold car accessories, gadgets, clothes, fashion accessories, food supplements, homemade specialties. She’ ran a burger joint, a chicken wings joint, and a barbecue joint. They all unfortunately did not become successful.
“Whenever my business fails, I ask God, ‘what’s Your plan for me?” says Princess.
She was already contemplating on taking a teaching job and leaving the world of business when a pretty simple-sounding idea crossed her mind—why not try to make flavored flans? She began with matcha, a popular milk tea flavor at that time. “My matcha flans became a huge hit among family and friends,” she shares.
Something felt awfully right about it, her 15th attempt at a startup. It made her think “this must be His plan for me.”
Since she’s selling flan-based (custard) desserts, the aspiring entrepreneur played with the words and decided to echo her question to the heavens. She called her business “What’s your FLAN?”
From selling Peruvian inspired flans, which is one of her bestsellers, her three-year-old business now offers the custard-based dessert in 90 different flavors. She has also expanded to offering other premium desserts like cake flans and gelatos. “These are now available in different parts of the country and the world through my 200 franchisees nationwide, and an international franchisee based in Canada,” she tells ANCX.
Princess was a runner-up in the 2019 NextGen in Franchising Global Competition held in the USA. This makes her the first Pinay to have reached that far in the history of the said international competition.
The Center for Culinary Arts, Manila (CCA Manila) graduate is aware the pandemic has challenged the flexibility and adaptability of many entrepreneurs like her to adapt to the new normal of doing business. This includes working around available ingredients, limitations in cargo deliveries and transportation, implementing a work-from-home setup, and operating through door-to-door deliveries. Attracting more customers and being able to compete with new emerging establishments mean harnessing the digital platform and being able to present the uniqueness of one’s product or brand.
“Food safety and preparation are very important in coming up with a quality product. Taste is subjective, so as a food entrepreneur, you should be able to come up with a flavor or product that would satisfy everyone, or at least the majority of the customers' palate,” she says, sharing a lesson she learned at CCA. Being organized, efficient, and acquiring a mastery of culinary skills are also a big plus not only in food preparation, but in managing a business.
Business operation in these critical times requires a lot of attention and coming up with new ideas to avoid being overthrown in the game, says Princess. She shares pieces of advice she learned in her journey in the culinary industry: “Never stop creating new things. Be innovative and always make room for improvement.”
As everyone struggles with new ways of doing business, supporting one another goes a long way, she says. “The simple sharing of local businesses posts would be a great help in reaching the right market.”
For more information about her flans, visit the What’s Your FLAN? website, Facebook or Ins