Restaurateur, Pinky Cole knows what it means to have the Midas touch, experiencing success after success. But she also knows what it means to have to pick up the pieces of a broken dream and forge ahead after a devastating loss. At the Essence + New Voices Entrepreneurship Summit in Atlanta, Cole sat down with Unbossed host Marquita Harris, to discuss her journey from hustler to proprietor of Slutty Vegan, the Atlanta-based vegan comfort food restaurant with a cult following.
The Baltimore native has always had an innovative spirit and from an early age, she tapped into what people wanted, finding ways to sell them the experience they enjoyed.
“When I was 14 I used to have high school parties and I used to make about $4,000 a week. No lie. Anybody in Baltimore knows…I just always had a hustler mentality.”
That mentality set Pinky on the path to become a self-taught business owner. With a determination to see her visions of success come to pass, she opened a Jamaican American fusion restaurant in Harlem. Its moderate success came to an end when a fire destroyed the building.
“So, you know, I felt defeated at the time and I’ve never felt like that in my life because all of my life, everything that I’ve ever touched turned to gold. Right? Like anytime Pinky Cole was saying that she going to do something, it’s going to happen,” Cole reminisced.
“So to lose in the flesh, a perceived loss, I didn’t know what to do at the time, but I needed that to happen early on for me.”
That loss, while devastating, clearly was not the end for Cole. She did the hard work to make ends meet and eventually realize a new vision that would become Slutty Vegan, the vegan comfort food restaurant where you “come for the experience and leave with a burger”.