Occasionally we come across a cool story from our clients about how they started their business and what makes them unique. The Saucey Sauce Company is one of those clients. We’ve been handling the company’s custom label printing , and I wanted to chat with the company founders to find out how the company started, and hopefully inspire others to start their own business, just as I did, way back in 1995.
Sister and brother duo Toan and Ken Huynh describe their company, Saucey Sauce, as ”traditional Vietnamese sauces with a twist.” They started the company in an organic way when they started serving their mom’s recipe for dipping sauces at dinner parties at their home in Brooklyn, New York. They realized they were on to something when friends started asking for bottles to take home.
Finding The Right Market
At the time, in 2010, they found the commercially available, ready-to-serve Vietnamese and Asian dipping sauces to be somewhat flavorless and plain, while their homemade sauces had unique flavors to offer. With their party guests being so enthusiastic, Ken and Toan suspected that they had something unique on their hands. Their homemade sauces filled a niche in an underserved market. And they had something else on their side; family tradition.
Toan breaks down their catchphrase, “eat well, be joyful” by explaining, “Tradition has it that in our family, when we eat well, we are happy. And through some very unpredictable times, it has been the joy of our native cuisine that ties us to each other, our history and our heritage as Vietnamese-Americans.
My brother Ken and I started The Saucey Sauce Company as a true a labor of love. We make our sauces the exact same way that our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents always have – with the freshest ingredients at hand and our family by our side. We’ve always loved these flavors that we grew up with, so we thought it might be nice to bring them to the rest of the world. These recipes are a source of pride and family tradition to us, but they’re also a way for us to promote Vietnamese food to the broader public. Nuoc Cham is an essential part of Vietnamese cuisine, but it’s still new to many Americans.”
Discussing the ingredients, Toan adds, “Our sauce is a traditional nuoc cham. This is basically fermented fish sauce that is flavored and cut with other ingredients to make it “ready to serve”. Every Vietnamese household has this on their table, but each recipe is unique to the family. This is one particular family’s homestyle recipe, made ready-to-serve in a bottle! Anyone can have the taste of authentic Vietnamese food right in their homes.”
“To make them as healthy and delicious as possible, we use only the best chilies, spices, and ingredients to create all natural, ready-to-serve, Vietnamese style sauces (nouc cham) and ketchups (ketjaps). The Saucey Sauce is an all natural, artisan small-batch Vietnamese savory sauce. We love to work with local farms and local small businesses, to keep true to the Brooklyn artisan spirit.
Getting Off The Ground
The company started through old-fashioned determination and hard work. “Our mom and our dad worked very hard for us and instilled certain values in us,” Toan says. “One of the things we learned was hard work would get you [places], and I think we apply that here very much so.”
Toan and her brother work long hours to get their product made and distributed. “We grew quickly and learned a lot. We both work 7 days a week and do everything ourselves — but we love doing it! Ken runs the production while I act as the kitchen captain. We make the sauce ourselves, pack it, ship it, and sell it at markets. It’s a lot of work, but it’s a labor of love.”
Ken is a bit more descriptive of sauce-making life. “Let’s face it it’s not pretty, it’s not sexy. It’s dirty. You smell like garlic and your hands are pruny from squeezing lemons. And then you’re going door-to-door from store-to-store and feel like you’re sweating through your shirt and talking to someone and trying to be really enthusiastic about the sauces that you love. But it’s like… those are summer days man. People think that it’s this exciting thing, but there are exhausting parts involved too. You have to do them all.”
Creating Product Labels
The company’s product label design changed when they hired Lisa Rosenberg, the company’s versatile “Saucey Saucier” to re-design their product labels.
“I carved a chili pepper out of rubber to make my own stamp and scanned in the stamp to my computer to create a very unique organic looking logo. I wanted the label to be more fresh-looking, high-end, and accessible for people who don’t do a lot of ethnic cooking.”
So how did Saucey Sauce choose a printing company? Lisa found us online. “When I came on, I also decided our brand needed an upgrade. I got rid of our current bottle and label to start from scratch. I searched online at a dozen or so printing options based on our criteria and narrowed it down to my two favorite options. It was a close call between the two companies, but I was really impressed with the personal touch of Nova’s customer service. Whenever I called the other company for price quotes I was talking to a different person and would have to start over from scratch each time. We always love to work with small businesses because of the superior attention and flexibility in customer service.”
Knowing that these custom printed labels had to be durable enough to withstand oils and refrigeration, we discussed going with a film stock, and adding UV varnish on top to not only protect the labels, but give them a nice, glossy look.
The product can now be found at retail stores around New York, such as Dean & Deluca, Foragers, Lifethyme, the Gourmet Guild, By Brooklyn, The Greene Grape, the Williams Sonoma artisans’ market and more. The product also ships nationwide from their website.
Saucey Sauce has gotten press, having been featured as a local small business on ABCNews.com, Gothamist, and more.
As for what’s next from this home-grown business, Toan shares, “We debuted our 3 new flavors at this year’s Fancy Food Show in NYC. We had great exposure and have now doubled our number of stores and expanded NATIONWIDE. We are so thrilled to be partnering with great local specialty shops in CT, TX, and more. Also, due to popular request, we’ve bottled our famous Brown Sugar Ginger Glaze recipe for a ready-to-serve glaze experience that will transform your favorite protein into a 5 star meal. We’re also introducing our line of Vietnamese-inspired KetJaps. Ketchups were traditionally called “ketjap”, a pickled anchovy sauce, used widely in South East Asia. We are also finalists in the Count Me In pitch competition for the business accelerator program.”
The Saucey Sauce makes a great marinade for meats, oil-free vinaigrette for salad, or dipping sauce for takeout. This sauce is all natural made with organic produce, low calorie, oil-free and no fat. It comes in three classic flavors: Spicy Garlic (the company’s best seller hot-sauce with an attitude), Sweet Ginger (a taste of their sweeter side), and Fresh Lemon (bright and citrusy). It’s the first ready-to-serve Vietnamese sauce of it’s kind, and we love that!
Visit Saucey Sauce at: