Growing up in the South, being vegan was never talked about at the dinner table. The vegetables we ate were often cooked with pork, and the meat was definitely the star of our meals.
My past relationship with food isn’t one that’s unique though. Historically, Black people, especially in the South, do not celebrate or practice being vegan. Nonetheless, for me, I’ve gotten older and my views on nutrition and eating have changed. I’ve become more intentional about making healthy choices, and open to trying new ways of eating.
After seeing all of the ooey-gooey goodness literally drip from the Slutty Vegan burger and watching Angela’s look of pure joy, I became obsessed with this new vegan restaurant.
Slutty Vegan, owned by Clark Atlanta alum Pinky Cole, has truly revolutionized the vegan food industry, and arguably the food industry as well. As Pinky shared with me, “90% of the Slutty Vegan patrons are Black. It’s been a beautiful, modern-day revolution of introducing veganism to Black meat-eaters. Matter-of-fact, the people we target are meat-eaters. We already have vegans, so we are focused on those avid meat-eaters. If we can convert more non-vegans to vegans than we are literally changing the dynamic of our culture, our health, economy, and the way we live.”
Changing our culture and being a dynamic, influential force definitely defines this Mogul Millennial, Pinky Cole.
Every day, it’s not uncommon to see a long line of foodies, locals, and travelers from all races, backgrounds, and walks of life, patiently waiting to taste the famous plant-based burgers. Even celebrities like Marsai Martin, Colin Kaepernick, Taraji P. Henson, Tyler Perry, Usher, and Tiffany Haddish have all been “sluttified” by this Atlanta staple.
When you think about the success of Slutty Vegan, it’s incredible especially knowing her career background (and that she just opened the doors a year ago). However, entrepreneurship and having a hustle smart mentality has always been inside Pinky.
At age 14, Pinky began her start in entrepreneurship by re-selling fast food burgers to her friends in high school. #genius
Afterward, she was making nearly $4,000 per week by becoming the youngest party promoter in Baltimore at the age of 16.
Upon graduating from high school, she went to college at Clark Atlanta and majored in Mass Media Arts. With her new degree in hand, she worked for Teach for America, but it only lasted for 5 days. As Pinky told me, “I’m definitely a teacher, but not in the classroom.”
After a short stint as an educator, Pinky worked as a production assistant for a court tv show, and then later worked as a TV producer for the Maury Show. While working there, the love of entrepreneurship still had a soft spot in Pinky’s heart. After thinking about her current skill set and being inspired by a friend, she used the money she earned on the Maury Show to open her first restaurant.
The restaurant, a Jamaican-American restaurant in Harlem called Pinky’s, opened in August 2014. Unfortunately, after years of being successful, it was burnt down in July 2016 due to a grease fire.
Experiencing this type of loss as a business owner wasn’t easy. From there Pinky started focusing again on herself, and eventually took a job again in the TV industry as a casting director with Iyanla Vanzant’s show Fix My Life. This new gig brought her back to Atlanta, which was where the concept of Slutty Vegan came to life.
Pinky decided her next restaurant business would be focused on plant-based burgers because it was something fun, and one she could easily put a creative twist to.
On her first day of business, she sold a discouraging four burgers, but a week later she sold 100 burgers after influencer Dymetra Pernell mentioned Slutty Vegan’s burgers on her Instagram. This inspired Pinky and helped her realize the impact social media could have on her business.
Recently, we chatted with Pinky and she shared a few social media marketing tips that you’ll find helpful for your own business.
Video content is lit. Get into it.
Pinky didn’t necessarily have a “marketing plan” but she knew a few things about people and marketing. She noticed that video content was booming, so she aimed to create an experience on social where we people could visually taste the food.
“I would find people who patronized the business and would have them bite the burger on camera. I would have them say they were ‘sluttified’ if that’s how they felt, and that became a thing. It became a natural reaction and saying for the Slutty Vegan customers,” Pinky shared.
Simple is always in.
Slutty Vegan’s Instagram is run solely by Pinky and is driven by whatever idea happens to inspire her.
“As it relates to the pattern on social media, I wanted to make sure it was a simple clean page, with engaging visuals. As simple as it is, there is truly a science to mastering social media. I didn’t have a strict posting schedule where I had to post at certain times throughout the day; everything has been more organic,” Pinky told Mogul Millennial.
Be you. It’ll pay off.
If you want to create fast, yet organic growth for your business, be authentic, transparent, and unafraid to be the face of your brand.
“People feel more connected and like they are apart of your dream when you’re transparent. Allow people to fall in love with you. When people know you and trust you, it’s more likely they’ll support you.”
By the end of the year, Pinky is looking to open more locations and “sluttify” more people.
Keep up with Slutty Vegan on social here.
*images courtesy of Slutty Vegan*