Pinky Cole has always been authentic, even about the lows most entrepreneurs would keep to themselves.
Her recent comments about her growing healthy convenience food empire, Slutty Vegan, being the target of lawsuits proves how real she’s willing to keep it.
“Imagine having 450 employees and making sure that you’re serving all of their needs,” Cole said, according to Black Enterprise. “Some people going to slip through the cracks. We might not always get it right, but we do the best we can.”
This year the company was accused of withholding wages by former employees of Cole’s Bar Vegan company, an off shoot of Slutty Vegan. The brands are also facing allegation of paying employees less than minimum wage and taking a portion of their tips.
“I made the biggest mistake of hiring family in business and I will never do that again,” she admitted at the summit. “And I love my family. But it also just tells me that [if] you want to build a multi-million dollar company, you have to move like a multi-million dollar company. You have to move like a corporate entity. You have to move like the big conglomerates move. And be very clean in your approach in everything that you do.”
“Luckily, I have an all-star legal team,” she added. “Luckily, I’ll have an all-star accounting team that protects us every step of the way because I’m moving into the billion dollar space.”
In 2022, Cole announced with Forbes the Culture that she raised $25 million in Series A funding, which pushed her brand’s valuation to $100 million. The round was led by Richelieu Dennis’ New Voices Fund and Danny Meyers’ Enlightened Hospitality Investments.
“I got the Michael Jordan of food on my team,” said Cole in an interview in reference to Meyer. “He has proven that you can scale a business, and it can be unique.”