Romancing the Sauce: One Woman's Star Start-Up Food Business

At 42, Linh Reilly quit a job as a benefits counselor to bottle her homemade Asian sauces. Just over a year later, they’re on everyone’s lips.

By Louisa Kasdon
Photograph: Photo: Jurgen Frank

Although her mother says that Reilly "works too hard and should have kept her old career," the entrepreneur has no regrets. "I love my job 300 out of 365 days," she says. "And even on those other days, I revel in the fact that I can make my own hours — and have time to be a soccer mom." Reilly is clear on one other thing: With four refrigerators at home fully stocked with food, she will never be hungry again.

Running the Numbers

18 months spent running Asian Creations while also working as a benefits consultant

$4.99 retail price for a bottle of sauce

1,000 cases of sauce bottled per year

10,000 cans of coconut milk needed to make 300 cases (12 bottles per case) of Peanut Passion sauce

4,000 plastic forks used at food shows

30,000 miles Reilly logged in her SUV delivering products in 2006

$185,000 spent to launch Asian Creations


Originally published in MORE magazine, March 2007.

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