Calling all entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners! We’ve got an exciting Q+A for you today with Pinky Cole, the founder of Slutty Vegan ATL, Bar Vegan, and the Pinky Cole Foundation. Plus, Pinky has partnered with Varo to launch a community-based contest to provide opportunities for greater financial and professional empowerment. Prizes include one year of mentorship from Pinky Cole for an aspiring entrepreneur or professional, one year of financial coaching from Varo’s personal finance advocate and best-selling author Kevin L. Matthews II, plus additional cash prizes. Keep reading to hear from Pinky Cole on this exciting new partnership, her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, and more.

Congratulations on your new Slutty Vegan ATL location, new book, and partnership with Varo! Tell us about the Varo partnership and mentoring giveaway.

I decided to partner with Varo because it feels so good to know that there is an organization that really cares about making sure the consumer doesn’t have to worry about bank fees. I’m sure that everybody in America can agree that we’ve all had to deal with bank fees one time or another in our lifetime. So, when Varo reached out to me, I researched the business and realized that it had so many things in alignment with who I am and what I do. I’m all about saving money and building an ecosystem for my family and for myself, and Varo does just that. We are partnering together to provide 40 entrepreneurs EINs, LOCs, financial literacy, and the tools they need to jumpstart their business. I’m also providing one year worth of mentorship with the help of a financial advisor through Varo to be able to teach people about money, business, and answer all the questions that they have when it comes to money and banking.

2021 was undoubtedly a very successful year for you and Slutty Vegan ATL. How have you used the success to give back to the community and fellow entrepreneurs?

2021 was literally the most successful year of my life, for many reasons. I’m not talking about the money, I’m talking about the fact that I can share the idea of veganism with people around the world. I was able to help people reimagine food in a way they’ve never seen before. To have so many people come to my restaurant that are not even vegan and be open to opening their consciousness to eat a different lifestyle, that’s success to me. To be able to break so many barriers as a small-owned, black-owned, women-owned business and speak to so many classes of people, that is success to me. To be able to have so many milestones in my foundation and be able to offer my resources and opportunities to people, with my own money to help them, that is also success to me. So, 2021 was great – it was really just a stepping stone to all of the amazing things that we’ll be doing in 2022. It’s beyond food at this point, I’m building a brand. I am building an empire that is going to help people around the world – whether you’re black, white, blue, yellow, young, old. If you need opportunities, the Slutty Vegan organization and the Pinky Cole foundation are here to help you. There’s a great quote that says “I wanna be the change that I wish to see” and I’m doing just that. So, I’m excited about what 2022 has to offer. Just know that if you thought 2021 was explosive, 2022 is about to be out of this world.

Two new locations this winter, super exciting, but have you had any growing pains? What advice do you have for women looking to start their own businesses?

I believe that every single business has growing pains. If a business owner tells you they don’t, they’re lying. One of the things that I’ve struggled with is making sure that I have the right team. Team building is so necessary for the growth of the business. If you have the right team and the right village of people to help you grow your business, then you are all set. If you don’t, it will make life so much harder for you. What I’ve learned throughout the years in growing my business is that you are only as good as your team. So, it’s my mission to make sure I continue to find the best quality talent for my organization – people that are smarter than me, people that get it more than me so that I can also learn from them. If you are a woman in business, and you’re having this same kind of growing pain, just know that it gets better. Remember: where you put your dollars will make the most sense. You put your dollars into really valuable people, you will see valuable results. If you short-change yourself, and you don’t put your money in the right place, you will feel it on every single level. Nonetheless, business will be beautiful for you as long as you continue to learn and grow and pick the right team.

What’s been your favorite moment of owning a business?

Ooh, there have been so many favorite moments. My most favorite thing is doing interviews like this. My background is in TV, so for 10 years I was behind the scenes – a television producer, a casting director, I worked on your favorite shows, all the shows you could ever think of. So now, to be able to be in front of the camera and understand interviews and what people want to know and hear about but doing it on the flip side tells me that I can literally do whatever I put my mind to. This is a message to all entrepreneurs: you never have to limit yourself. You can literally do and dream and execute all of the desires of your heart and I’m a living witness, I got to do that and I’m doing it now.

There you have it! Thank you so much to Pinky for taking the time to answer these questions and for doing everything she can to give back to the community and fellow entrepreneurs! Learn more about the Pinky Cole x Varo Bank sweepstakes here.

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