They Wanted To Send Mexican Treats To Their Homesick Friends But Then This Happened
This is a Mexitreat box.
Moving to a new city for college or a job is an exciting opportunity, but there will come a day for some when the homesickness gets too real. That’s where Mexitreat steps in.
Every month, Mexitreat sends their subscribers a box filled with, well, Mexican treats.
About a year ago, the company’s founders asked, “Wouldn’t it be cool if there was like a Mexican care package?” This simple idea turned into a blossoming business. On the cusp of their one year anniversary, Mexitreat’s Leticia Gomez Franco spoke to mitú about where they’ve been, where they’re going, and which celebrity they’d love to work with.
Mexitreat’s Leticia Gomez Franco told mitú that the founders wanted to send care packages to “homesick folks” around the world.
Just heard about @Mexitreat and I'm jealous that this wasn't around when I was in college on the East Coast!
— Luz Rivas (@LuzRivas) September 17, 2016
Mexitreat knows it can’t replicate with your mom’s home-cooked meals, but it can send “pulparindos and mazapanes” and other delicious treats that “have a magical way of taking you back to both a place and a time, when life was simpler.” Many subscribers live in the U.S., Gomez Franco told mitú, but they’ve delivered packages to places like Australia and Romania.
“We wanted everyone to be able to go back to that, to feel that rush of chasing the paletero again.”
CREDIT: Flickr / jimwinstead
Gomez Franco told mitú that many of Mexitreat’s subscribers are “people who maybe grew up in barrios where they had tienditas in every corner and ended up moving away to a place where they weren’t so blessed.”
“Our favorite happy candy stories are from homesick college students who grew up in a Latino community, and are now trying to make it happen out in some small college-town in the east coast or Minnesota or something, and their Mexitreat box helps keep them going.”
But Mexitreat believes that people should always show love to their local tiendita. Gomez Franco told mitú, “Always support your local hustlers, especially the family-owned businesses struggling to survive in these trying times. That’s what we do, when that’s not an option, then we go online.”
Mexitreat’s founders were also inspired by their home: San Diego.
The company’s founders, Saul Torres (left) and Algen Beringuel (right), started Mexitreat in San Diego, for many a region defined by its close ties to Mexican culture. As Gomez Franco told mitú, “We have family and friends who have left Southern California and are now living throughout the country, and whenever we chat with them, they always mention how much they miss the food, the flavors, that sabor of growing up in SoCal.”
After a year in business, Mexitreat has gained an enthusiastic following.
— Perla Salazar (@peezy_lazar) September 26, 2016
Gomez Franco joked that Mexitreat knew they’d made it when Breitbart published an article about their company, saying, “The comments [on Breitbart] were horrible and hateful, so of course, our response was a proud, ‘you ain’t seen nothin yet’.”
They especially enjoy seeing subscribers share the love.
— John Gracia (@John_Thanks) October 26, 2016
When asked why people respond enthusiastically to Mexitreat, Gomez Franco told mitú:
“I think [Mexitreat] resonates because it’s home. We keep it real. We keep it humble. We’re a group of 30-something year old people of color who grew up in the hood, and now we have this. We’re not corporate, we’re not big money. We don’t pay people to do fake reviews. We’re not owned by some big business who hired brown folk to gentrify a market for them. We’re just us.”
Even with their success, Mexitreat has kept it simple, employing only a small group friends and family.
— Another 1 bites… (@Torresc230) August 25, 2016
Gomez Franco described what it takes each month for their small crew to send boxes to all their subscribers. “We’re just us, Saul (co-founder), Algen (co-founder), Letty and Albert [Palmerin] and a whole crew of friends and family who come through every month to help us pack hundreds of boxes full of delicious candy to send out to our awesome subscribers.”
Mexitreat wants people to know it’s more than just business. It’s also culture.
— Alejandra Matos (@amatos12) October 27, 2016
Gomez Franco says that Mexitreat often promotes other ideological and culturally like-minded companies through their social media accounts. They “love sharing posts by Chicano Eats” — a bicultural, bilingual food blog — “not only because they’re aesthetically beautiful, or because he comes up with great recipes […] but most importantly because Chicano Eats is single-handedly reclaiming our cultures ingredients and recipes and unapologetically speaking out on the cultural appropriation and exotification of our culinary heritage. We love that, so we want to share that with our followers, to share the knowledge and the love.”
Mexitreat explained why they chose their logo:
Mexitreat say they understand how painful it is to see companies attempting to market Mexican products using stereotypical things like sombreros and maracas. As Gomez Franco said, “Like seriously? I’ve never even met anyone who owns maracas. We wanted something aesthetically awesome that would appeal to growing up Mexican. Since we are a candy business, we went with the simple donkey piñata. It was a hit. Get it? A hit.”
They also told us which Latino celebrity endorsement they would love.
Gomez Franco told mitú they would have loved to work with the late Chespirito and even Vicente Fernandez. “We’re also crushing pretty hard on Cheech Marin right now, lookin’ all fly with his own Chicano Art Museum and stuff,” said Gomez Franco.