Amilya Antonetti credits much of her business success to one defining time in her life: that morning in 1995 when she waylaid a man named Bob outside an office restroom.

If she hadn’t taken a red-eye from her home in San Leandro, Calif., rented a car, and asked a receptionist to buzz her into Bob’s office building on the premise she had to use the restroom, Amilya never would have tracked down Bob — the buyer for a major supermarket chain who had continually told her “no” on the phone — and left with a purchase order.

The purchase order put the line of natural soaps she had developed into stores such as Kroger, Safeway and Albertsons. It also put her on the map.

The reason she wanted to be on the map, however, was an even more defining time in Amilya’s life.

It started when her son, David, was born 14 years ago.

“When I was breastfeeding him, his lips would turn blue, his eyes would roll back into his head, and I would rush him off to the emergency room,” she says. David’s skin was covered in rashes and his breathing was always labored.

Amilya discovered she always took her son to the hospital the day after she cleaned her house. She researched the cleaning products she was using and discovered David had an extremely heightened sensitivity to synthetic ingredients, such as chlorine and ammonia.

With the help of her grandma, Amilya learned to make soap from scratch and substituted animal fat used in cleaning products with vegetables, such as coconut and palm oil.

From there, Amilya launched Soapworks in 1994. Thanks to her tenacity, Soapworks’ productsare now in mainstream supermarkets and — more importantly for Amilya — David is healthy.

In 2001, Amilya sold Soapworks. She now leads three other companies, through which she helps businesses embrace earth-friendly products and mentors aspiring entrepreneurs.

Amilya also now has a 21-month-old daughter, Lucia, who has the same hypersensitive skin as David. “No one comes into the world without a challenge,” she says. “The trick is to have more tools than you have challenges.”