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Q&A: Linda Osborne, CEO of My Legacy Foods

In honor of Women's History Month, we invite you to celebrate the resilience, creativity, and tenacity of the entrepreneurs who lead our community. Women who have defied the odds and forged their own paths in the world of business. 

This interview series aims to highlight JUST trailblazers and share not only their triumphs, but also their fears, moments of doubt and challenges.

Today, we interview Linda Osborne, owner of My Legacy Foods, a food processing company based in Houston, Texas. Linda started her business selling Theo's Savory Sauces, inspired by her ancestors' home cooked meals.  With time, the serial entrepreneur has been adding different projects to her business portfolio, including a catering service company and a small-scale vegetable farming venture.

 

Tell us about your roots.

I was born in Binghamton, New York.  The first daughter of Theodore & Barbara Felton Sr.  In 1960 we moved into our first home located in the Village of Endicott, NY. We were a close-knit family of 10 in a predominately Italian neighborhood and one of the first African American families to live there. Today it is recognized as a historic area called: “Little Italy”. 

Are you a full-time entrepreneur?

Yes, I only work for myself.  I take care of my grandkids and work my business around their school schedules. 

What did you do before becoming an entrepreneur? 

I began working at IBM in the 70’s after graduating from high school, then retired 25 years later. My last position was as a Software Operations Manager in Dallas, TX. I was an onsite Field Administrative Assistant for Game Change Solar (NC). I also worked for J.O.Y. Foods as an Executive Assistant to the President and C-Level executives. That job gave me hands on experience to operate a processing business.  I also provided private chef services and managed a Bed & Breakfast in Shelby, NC. My last job was as a house parent for at-risk teenage boys at Hope Inn Christ which included providing three meals a day in Ponder, TX. 

Tell us about a turning point in your life... 

The most important turning point in my life was having a second chance to reunite with my first love after 35 years of estrangement.  We married in 2017 then co-authored and published our memoir in 2020: Our Fervent & Unfailing Love Story-Borne to Love.  

Why did you decide to start a business? 

Our family’s culinary roots run deep. I am a 2nd generation business owner. The more that I learn about my ancestors, the more I discover multiple branches of our family tree that started in agriculture as farmers, cooks, bakers, candy makers, gardeners and entrepreneurs.  My goal is to complete the circle of what our ancestors started by returning to our roots, preserving our family name and making quality foods while keeping it simple.  

What has been your biggest obstacle thus far?

My biggest obstacle is obtaining funding without incurring a lot of debt.  I was able to secure a few grants, and the business loan from JUST, but I need to mass produce so that I can focus on distribution. I started out pouring one bottle at a time but working on a few collaborations in 2024 that will eliminate the manual work soon! 

Tell us about a failure that turned into a lesson.

Learning from other’s failures has taught me what not to do as I grow my business.  Paying close attention, listening and observing can help prevent from making the same mistakes as others.  For instance, not having a business plan or a business model with written details of how to operate.  Also not to be in a rush to make big purchases. Everything in God’s time, that’s how I manage everything! 

What is your biggest dream? 

My biggest dream is to take the torch that my family passed on to me, then position the current business so that the next generation can carry it into the future. 

Who is your biggest inspiration? 

My parents have been and always will be my biggest inspiration. They stepped out on faith to migrate North from the South in the 1950’s, with little education, but unlimited potential. They led by example, made lots of sacrifices and encouraged us to let the Lord guide us. Mom often referred to the bible verse “The Land of Milk & Honey”.  She said the honey in the Sweet & Sassy Sauce will one day make us rich! 

Words of wisdom for other women in business? 

Tell your own story.  Don’t depend on anyone else. Identify what your superpower is, use it whenever you can, and share it with others! 

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