Earn Entrepreneurship

Pinky Cole Hopes You Fail

Haley Paskalides  |  February 19, 2024

It was only after Pinky Cole lost everything that she discovered her true purpose. Her vegan empire is now worth $100 million and growing.

There are countless situations in which risky behavior can be detrimental to your life. But there’s one area though, where risk can be a very good thing — sometimes life-changingly incredible. That’s with entrepreneurship and your career. In fact, not taking risks is arguably one of the riskiest things you can do in your career, and perhaps no one knows this better than Pinky Cole, owner of Slutty Vegan, and author of “I Hope You Fail: Ten Hater Statements Holding You Back From Getting Everything You Want.” 

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As founder and CEO of her restaurant empire, Pinky Cole knows exactly what it means to take risks, fail, and get back up again — even stronger than before. And sometimes the setbacks we face are actually exactly what we needed to get us better aligned on our life’s true purpose. 

For example, although Pinky has always followed a vegan diet, when she started her first restaurant, she served meat. “Pinky’s Jamaican American Restaurant” offered oxtails, jerk chicken, and curry chicken. And although it was delicious food and quickly became a hot spot, it just wasn’t her

“So full circle, I wasn’t in alignment and that’s not what I was supposed to be doing,” Cole says. “And I know that might sound deep, but the reality of it is that wasn’t the purpose that I was supposed to be walking in.” A sudden grease fire in the restaurant caused it to burn down, and it was a total loss — not just for the business, but also for Pinky’s livelihood. She lost her car, her apartment, and her relationship — but that didn’t deter her spirit. 

She slowly rebuilt her life and her finances with a job producing the reality show “Iyanla, Fix My Life.” It was a transition point for her, but a welcome one. “I got the chance to build back up my money,” Cole says. “I got myself out of the eviction, I started running five miles a day, and reading every day. People thought that I was crazy, but I was preparing for something… I just didn’t know it was going to look like Slutty Vegan.” 

Fast forward to today, and Cole’s vegan food empire Slutty Vegan is now worth $100 million, has eight locations and counting, and is backed by one of the greatest restaurateurs and businessmen in the United States, Danny Meyer.

Pinky doesn’t share her life story lightly — she says she hopes her journey inspires everyone to understand that life is difficult, and we’ll all fail in large and small ways. Failure is inevitable. But it doesn’t shape us — what does is how we learn from and bounce back from those failures. 

“​​I hope that job doesn’t work for you, because there’s a better opportunity or entrepreneurship waiting for you on the other side,” Cole says. “ I don’t want you to fail. But if you fail, here are the tools that can help you navigate through.”


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