When Natalia and Jess Jr. Dalton-Salazar moved to the U.S. from the Yucatán Peninsula in 2010 to attend college, they needed money for tuition. So, when their parents Jess Sr. and Gabriela moved to Arizona in 2011, Gabriela started selling homemade sauces and marinades at their local farmer’s market to support Natalia and Jess Jr. through school.
“We did have scholarships, but we needed the money,” Natalia said. “Eventually, (Gabriela) started sending me the sauces when I was a student at UCLA. So at this point, I would sell them on the weekend at the farmer’s market. She started sending them to my brother too. And, he was doing the same. So, we were doing farmer’s markets in LA, Arizona, and then my brother was in Texas. Wherever we would move, we’re doing the farmers market.”
Today, Gabriela’s products are known as Saucy Lips, a Hispanic, female-founded business specializing in healthy, gourmet savory sauces and hot sauces, and can be found at Natural Grocers, Central Market, ShopRite and Giant. In May 2021, Saucy Lips launched their Keto, Vegan, Non-GMO and Gluten-free products nationwide in Whole Foods. In Sept. 2021, Whole Foods launched the company’s new line of sauces with flavors like Mole, Al Pastor, Green and Red Enchilada and Fajita sauce.
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The new line dropped during Hispanic Heritage Month, which aligns with the flavors that are more “original” to traditional Mexican sauces and flavors, Co-Founder and Social Media Manager Natalia explained.
“Our core line, what we started with, it’s really my mom’s cooking. So what is authentic and original for me, it might not be for another person. But (the original line) is so creative and they are authentic to the (Yucatan Peninsula),” she said. “I feel like when people think of Mexican food, they don’t realize that there are different regions and the cuisine varies so much. (The new line) flavors are very classic to Mexico.”
Early name renditions of Saucy Lips were ‘Fire-lips’ and ‘Gourmet Lips,’ but while at the farmer’s market Gabriela quickly caught on to customers’ feedback of ‘I don’t do spicy.’ Natalia explained the company’s name is aimed at capturing spicy and non-spicy foodies.
In fact, Saucy Lips’ spicy and non-spicy ingredients are what makes the brand unique, according to Natalia.
“Our hot sauces are different from other hot sauces out there because we don’t use vinegar,” she said. “We do this because as you’re eating hot sauce, it starts getting hotter and hotter until eventually, you have to stop. So with our hot sauces, they’re vinegar-free. (My mom) puts vitamin C to preserve it and is easier on the stomach and it’s a heat that you can enjoy.”
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In addition to working with family, Natalia told Latinitas Magazine the Saucy Lips team is woman-led.
“(Saucy Lips) was founded by my mom. And, the women we hire qualify for the job and I’ve noticed that from working with them, it is just so easy,” she said. “ They care so much about the brand. We’re so lucky to have everybody, especially like, right now, when there is a pandemic.”
Saucy Lips started with humble beginnings and despite having products in over 2,000 stores, the Dalton-Salazar family still sets up shop at their local farmer’s market in Miami.
“I feel like everybody gives 110%. We all care so much, because it’s our business. It’s our thing,” Natalia said on working with family. “We care so much about our brand that when you’re coming (to the farmer’s market), I don’t really mind if it’s going to turn into a sale. I just want them to know about the product.”
To learn more about Saucy Lips or find a yummy recipe, visit their website. Hear more about Saucy Lips on Latinitas’ Unrepresented podcast.
Featured image courtesy of Natalia Dalton-Salazar.
About the writer:
Elisa Garcia is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s in journalism and is now the Magazine Editor of Latinitas Magazine. She has experience in social media, reporting and videography. Garcia enjoys covering pop culture trends, arts and life community events and feature profiles on women empowerment. Her works have been published in The Pan-American Newspaper, ORANGE Magazine, San Antonio Weddings and Latinitas Magazine. You can read her work at elisaruthgarcia.com! When she’s not writing you can catch her with her cat, Opal.