When Toan and Ken Huynh started the Saucey Sauce Co. just under a year ago, they had no idea how overwhelming the response would be.
"We've been getting orders from California, New Mexico, Canada, even Mexico," says Ken. "We have our superfan, Sarah, from Toronto … [she bought] 48 bottles. I don't know what she's doing with it, but I hope she's eating it every day!"
From their website, www.getsauceynow.com, to their presence in local shops and street fairs, to in-store demonstrations and product sales, the Saucey Sauce Co. has been gaining recognition by the minute - or rather, bottle. The brother-and-sister duo thought of the idea to launch the company from a dinner party they hosted together a few years ago, when they featured updated versions of their mother's sauce recipe, which they call "traditional Vietnamese sauces with a twist." After rave reviews from their guests and demands of take-home samples, the idea of creating a sauce-centered company was born.
"We thought, 'Hmm, this might be an interesting idea - we love the sauce, and we want to bring this to other people," says Toan. Nine months and four flavors later, the Huynhs were running a full-fledged business, and for them, there is no time for rest.
"We kind of do everything," says Ken with a laugh. Ken is in charge of the production and marketing, as well as the maintenance of the website, while Toan runs the operations side, and is the "kitchen captain," as Ken calls her job, experimenting with different ingredients and trying out new flavors. Toan says that the 7-day work week is hard, but a "labor of love."
"Our mom and our dad worked very hard for us and instilled certain values in us," she says. "One of the things we learned was hard work would get you [places], and I think we apply that here very much so."
Their parents are also a big source of inspiration for the business.
"Our mom is very supportive of this," says Toan. "It's a piece of her legacy, and her family's legacy, because the recipes are based on what they've been using for a very long time, so it definitely holds a personal connection for both of us."
But for the pair, the Saucey Sauce Co. is not only about family traditions, but the promotion of Vietnamese food within the melting pot of American culture.
"I think it's really about getting people to appreciate Vietnamese sauce, and Vietnamese food in general," says Ken. "I think it's the unsung hero of the culinary category."
"Being able to get [Vietnamese food] made accessible to the American consumer that wouldn't normally have access to that - that would be lovely," adds Toan. "I would love to see our sauce … on every kitchen table in 5 to 10 years."