Hustle Mindset

Why Founder Pinky Cole Opted Not To Use Traditional Marketing To Spread The Word About Slutty Vegan


As Pinky Cole continues to reach the pinnacles of success as an entrepreneur, she also lifts others as she climbs. The Slutty Vegan founder and CEO has never been afraid of taking risks and betting on herself, even when the odds are stacked against her.

Her Atlanta, GA-based restaurant has been wildly successful, even though she created the concept as a passion project, initially launching the company as a food truck without focusing solely on profit.

“I pinch myself every day,” she told AFROTECH™ in a recent interview. “Sometimes we’re so immersed in our work that we don’t realize the blessings happening around us. I think about how Slutty Vegan opened the door for me to partner with PepsiCo on the Pepsi Dig In Campaign to support Black-owned restaurant tours. As a leader in this space, I can help provide the support they need.”

Cole added, “It’s all been a passion project for me because I get to help people reimagine food in a way they never have before. Every single day, I’m humbled and grateful that Slutty Vegan serves as a vessel to encourage and empower others to achieve their dreams.”

Since its inception in 2018, Slutty Vegan quickly became a hot commodity in the community. Cole recalls the decision to opt out of traditional marketing and rely solely on word of mouth, a model that proved successful as Slutty Vegan is now a $100 million brand.

“Historically, we’ve always done three things: we make people laugh, we make people proud, and we give them information,” Cole explained. “That’s been part of our marketing strategy. After having kids and returning to the company, I realized Slutty Vegan is a word-of-mouth business. We put a food truck in multiple cities simultaneously, drawing excited crowds. Our approach has been organic because we move intentionally, authentically, and ensure people understand we’re not just a business selling burgers, pies, and fries.”

She continued, “We are community builders. We build an ecosystem and help people access resources through this innovative concept. Our passion drives us. So when asked about our marketing approach, I emphasize that it’s not enough to just pay for ads. To be disruptive, you’ve got to be a disruptor, and that’s what Slutty Vegan has done over the years.”

Despite Slutty Vegan’s rapid success and expansion into clothing, shoes, book tours, and more (with plans for products like Slutty Skin), Cole has yet to buy herself something large as a reward for her achievements.

“I haven’t made a big purchase for myself, and I’m being transparent because I cannot lie,” Cole said. “It’s not a bad thing; I’m laser-focused on reinvesting money back into the business to grow it because I know I have something valuable. By staying steadfast in my pursuit of success for my company, I will achieve my goals. To do that, I must reinvest funds into the business rather than make big personal purchases.”

She continued, “My bread and butter is Slutty Vegan. I see millions every day. There will come a time when I’ll make the purchase I want, but it’s more important for me to remain a beacon for Black-owned restaurants, demonstrating how to do business properly and showing them the way to operate and seize opportunities.”

Cole is putting her money where her mouth is through a new partnership with PepsiCo for its Dig In platform, created to provide Black-owned restaurants with the resources they need to survive and thrive in the cutthroat industry.

With the return of its Restaurant Royalty program, PepsiCo is giving fans the chance to nominate their favorite businesses to benefit from various foodie experiences across the U.S. as well as the opportunity to launch a Vegas residency for their company at MGM Resorts International in Las Vegas, NV.


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