Sauces for everyone
Sisters Lauren and Gillian Hollander are Feelin' Saucy, and one look at their Instagram account is all it takes to see why Multnomah Village residents are taking note.
Creamy lemon dill sauce splayed across a filet of salmon. Lettuce-wrapped lamb tacos topped with creamy carrot curry sauce. Slabs of chicken doused with barbecue sauce, and spicy roasted pepper sauce adding an extra kick to an omelet.
Feelin' Saucy, the Hollander's new business, sells sauces that are vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free, and yet they're designed for consumption by carnivores and omnivores alike.
"I think the whole idea behind Feelin' Saucy is that they are really healthy sauces that taste amazing and that anyone can eat," Gillian said. "So many people have food allergies these days just because of all the chemicals that are in food or dietary restrictions, whatever the reason. If you go out to eat with a group of people, everyone has their caveats for the waiter. But anyone can eat any of these sauces."
Feelin' Saucy sells four different types of sauces and in either eight-ounce jars or four-ounce sampler packs.
The "No BS" BBQ sauce includes tomatoes, onion, garlic, vinegar and spices; the creamy curry carrot sauce includes carrots, onion, garlic, coconut cream, veggie stock, vinegar and spices; the spicy roasted pepper sauce includes roasted pepper, jalapenos, tomato, onion, garlic, raisins, vinegar and spices; and the creamy lemon dill sauce includes white sweet potato, coconut cream, veggie stock, onion, garlic and lemon and dill.
The sauces can be used as simmers, salad dressing and for baked meals. You can check them all out online at feelinsaucy.com.
Gillian and Lauren took disparate paths before uniting to start the business. While Gillian worked in the nonprofit sector in places like Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam, Lauren worked in the food industry in Los Angeles, where she served as a personal chef for well-to-do Angelinos and butted heads with bosses about menu stagnation and boring recipes.
While cooking for a variety of customers with unique dietary restrictions, she realized that people with restrictive diets who want to eat tasty cuisine could be a burgeoning and largely untapped market.
"I saw that there is a huge market for Whole 30, for Paleo, for vegan. I thought that if I can create recipes so that no matter what your dietary restrictions are you can eat them, then we're good," Lauren said.
Though Lauren has never undergone an intense diet, Gillian has attempted the Whole 30 diet before. And she says cooking can become tedious and unimaginative.
"It's cool to have something to make it a little more interesting and spice up the boring meals you have to have," she said.
Lauren moved back to Oregon to earn degrees in agriculture at Oregon State University, while Gillian moved to Seattle to continue nonprofit work and marketing.
To get the business up and running, Lauren raised more than $1,000 via Gofundme. But starting a business was more challenging than she expected, so she called Gillian for help.
Now, the two share responsibilities of running the business. While Lauren focuses more on recipes and Gillian focuses more on marketing, the two intersect constantly. For instance, they both work on the weekend at 365 Commissary Kitchen to cook up the sauces.
"The first time we started working together in the kitchen, it was like magic. We just came in here, knew how to do everything together. Of course, we're sisters. We're going to butt heads on things. But at the end of the day, we'll have a whiskey drink and say, 'Alright, tomorrow let's start fresh,'" Lauren said.
The Hollanders have big plans for the future, but for now, they say they are scraping by.
"We're flying by the seat of our pants, working paycheck to paycheck. We have to hustle every time to make money, and we do everything. It will be nice when we can totally afford these groceries to make the next batch. We're not there yet, but we just launched," Gillian said.
An eight-ounce jar of sauce costs $9 each — probably not affordable for low-income residents, the women say, but similarly priced to other upscale sauce companies.
"You could go to the store and buy a huge tub of barbecue sauce for $2. But have you looked at the ingredients of barbecue sauce? It's crazy. It's like 90 percent crap — sugar, additives, stuff I can't even pronounce," Lauren said. "That's why we call ours 'No BS.' When you buy a product, you aren't just buying the ingredients, it's the whole thing. It's the fact that you've created something that you can't get anywhere else. It's a product that costs money," Lauren said.
Though the sauces don't help low-income residents, the Hollanders hope to eventually use the money garnered from the sauce shop, fuse their individual interests and jumpstart a nonprofit dedicated to providing quality food, skills and a mailing address, among other services, to the homeless.
After living apart for years, both Lauren and Gillian say merging their passions and skills has been a positive experience.
"We both had really different life paths and didn't live together for a long time, so now we've become best friends. It would be really cool to do this together now that our purposes are intertwined," Gillian said.