New Jersey is home to many ambitious and talented women who juggle family, career, and home. A select few of these women are also extremely busy building their own companies to help better manage the balance of work and family. At NJMOM, we want to highlight these extraordinary women who build businesses in New Jersey, and learn the secret to their success.
Owner of Randazzo’s Honest to Goodness Sauces
& NJMOMpreneur: Rochelle Randazzo
Rochelle Randazzo is the founder, owner, and operator of Randazzo’s Honest to Goodness Sauces. Hailing from an Italian-American household that celebrated good food and family meals around the dinner table, Rochelle’s love for cooking deepened even further after the births of her two sons when she found herself with more mouths to feed. Originally, the company was designed as a “Sauce Club” that allowed friends and neighbors to subscribe to her wide variety of natural, real sauces; Rochelle found so much joy in her customers’ satisfaction, that she personally delivered each order herself. The success and growth of her company is no accident – from Five Herb Pesto and Vodka to Fra Diavolo, Alfredo, and many more, Rochelle still creates these mouth-watering “easy meal solutions” in small batches to perfectly recreate the home-style cooking that her own family enjoys to this day.
NJMOM had the pleasure of chatting with Rochelle about this new chapter in her professional life after a career in Sports and Entertainment, how she balances her priorities as both a business owner and mother, and her family’s favorite local spots to grab great Italian food in New Jersey.
NJMOM: What do you offer to your clients and how is it different than other professionals in your field?
Rochelle: In a food world loaded with sugar and ingredients that you can’t pronounce, Randazzo’s Honest to Goodness Sauces, for the past eight years, has offered customers a feeling of peace with our clean nutrition labels. Our sauces are not over-seasoned, so anyone can doctor them up to make them their own for a simple and easy meal solution. We are one of the only sauce brands that use 100% extra-virgin olive oil, instead of a canola/olive oil blend. That’s what makes it real.
NJMOM: What inspired you to get into your line of work?
Rochelle: My entire career before children was in sports and entertainment. I took a little work break after having my first son, shortly followed by my second son, and found myself cooking more and really enjoying it. Unable to enter the workforce again at the same level that I left, I decided to start a business doing something that I loved. That’s how my original business model, Sauce Club, came to be. Sauce Club was a weekly delivery service where I could provide my community with my favorite sauce creations.
NJMOM: What is your favorite part about your business?
Rochelle: I love creating new recipes that I think will be well-received by my customer base – starting with my family. Doing something creative with food every day adds another dimension to the way I approach my business and my life.
NJMOM: What is your background in your business expertise?
Rochelle: It had never ever occurred to me that I would enter the retail world. That was the farthest thing from my mind at the time, but I knew what I wanted to make. So I made a bunch of vodka sauce and went up and down my street and dropped off sauce to my neighbors and said, “Let me know what you think.” My next door neighbor came over later on with a 20 dollar bill and said, “I want to buy whatever you have left.” I still have her 20 dollar bill hanging next to my stove. I decided that the best way to do it would be to have a party and have everyone taste everything, and we set it up like a club. I would have a new menu each week with a special – with the five basic sauces and one or two special sauces. Then they would order a size and I would go cook in a commercial kitchen on Mondays and I delivered on Tuesdays. In the beginning, it was very satisfying to pull up to someone’s house, ring the doorbell, and give them the sauce. Everyone was always so happy to receive it because meal solutions for a large or small family don’t always come easy to everybody. Then I had a few more parties until I got a really big customer base. That’s when it was discovered by some people in the retail business and that’s how I started moving along in that direction.
NJMOM: What are you most proud of in your career?
Rochelle: I’m proud of my family and work balance. When you’re talking about a work/family balance, especially when it’s your own business, you need to practice the balance. When you work from home, you have your work with you all the time. I’m out a lot at meetings and presentations, and I’m at the plant a lot, but for the most part my office is in my house. It’s hard to leave work behind since it’s always with you, but you have to practice doing that. You don’t want it to consume your life and for it to be the only thing you ever do. When you have our own business, you have to try to model it as if you were working in an office with other people. I even take a lunch hour!
I grew up in a family where the most important thing was to every day, sit around the table and have dinner together, no matter what.
I like to keep that up because I do think it’s important. I think that if you just have a schedule in place, you can make that work as best as you can. It’s not always going to be perfect, and I don’t get stressed when it’s not. It’s just one of those things that takes practice!
NJMOM: What is something few people know about you?
Rochelle: That I lie awake at night thinking about the day that the Mother of Dragons will finally sit on the Iron Throne.
NJMOM: What can we expect from you for the rest of 2017?
Rochelle: Randazzo’s Honest to Goodness to Go – Mac & Cheese. I have to ensure that when my son goes to college, he has access to the homemade Mac & Cheese that he loves.
NJMOM: What cause are you most passionate about?
Rochelle: When I have extra sauces on hand, I’ll donate them to local food banks. I will continue to do that in bigger ways as my business grows.
NJMOM: Who is your role model?
Rochelle: My mom is my role model. She is truly the strongest person that I have ever met. We had a happy home life as children where, by example, she taught my brother, sister and I about love, honesty, and strength in family. That was never more evident than when we lost my brother to AIDS when he was only 35. The devastation was unfathomable, yet she worked through her grief by finding peace so that she could again find happiness in her life. She didn’t do anything big or new, she just went on with her daily life. Her grandchildren are a big part of that. Now I watch her take care of my father, who is battling pancreatic cancer, I wonder how someone can continue to be that selfless and understanding. There’s a mental toughness there that I have never seen in anyone else.
NJMOM: What is the best piece of advice a role model ever gave to you?
Rochelle: My dear friend Johanna always says, “you can always add, but you can’t take away.” Not only does this apply to cooking, but all things in life!
NJMOM: Do you have a favorite quote you live by?
Rochelle: “The party’s here.” This is my quote that I actually said for the first time 30 years ago. It’s not to be taken so literally, but having confidence in yourself and where you are in life is a great foundation for maintaining a healthy outlook.
NJMOM: What are your favorite things to do in New Jersey with your family?
Rochelle: We typically vacation in North Florida. However, when we can, we go down to LBI where my husband’s brother and his family have a beautiful home. We also like to hike at Ramapo Valley Reservation and for day trips to the beach, we love Seven Presidents Beach.
NJMOM: What are your favorite businesses in New Jersey?
Rochelle: Some of my favorite businesses are John’s Boy Pizza in Glen Rock, Tani Sushi & Asian Grill in Englewood, Renato’s Pizza and S. Egidio Pizza in Ridgewood, Whole Foods, Kilroy’s Wonder Market in Glen Rock, Sook Pastry and Mediterranean in Ridgewood, Rock Farmer’s Market and of course, Bottle King.
NJMOM: Where do you reside and vacation in New Jersey?
Rochelle: We live in Glen Rock, New Jersey. When my husband and I were newly married and looking to buy a house, I thought there was no better town than Glen Rock. It’s really close to the city, it has two different train lines (Bergen line and the Main Line) and they’re only two blocks apart. But it still has a good small town feel. Everybody kind of knows each other, and all the store owners are actually really great with kids. Friday afternoons, all of the kids walk from school into town and go to Smoothie King or Merve’s Kitchen or Francesca’s. They get to know all of the kids and are very accommodating. I grew up in Long Island and my husband grew up in Florida, and we had been living in the city for a long time and knew that we both wanted to move back out to the suburbs. It’s funny, because people from Long Island rarely move to New Jersey. My family was aggravated with me for the first 10 years because you have to cross two bridges! I could have said that we were moving to Wisconsin and it would have been just as bad.
NJMOM: What advice might you have for a fellow NJMOMpreneur who is just starting out?
Rochelle: Like my brother-in-law, the North Babylon High School wrestling coach (and 2017 NY State Coach of the Year) always says, “you have to outlast the no’s.” Those are words to live by.