CAU ALUMNA, AISHA “PINKY” COLE

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People from all across the United States are standing in line for hours to be “slutified” and taste vegan food made by a Clark Atlanta University alumna.

Aisha “Pinky” Cole is the founder of a plant-based vegan food restaurant called the Slutty Vegan.  Starting off as a food truck, Cole’s business quickly grew, allowing her the opportunity to open a permanent location within six months of business.

In May 2009, Cole graduated Clark Atlanta University with a degree from the department of Mass Media Arts. “After graduation, I was a teacher for about five days and I quit because I didn’t want to be a teacher. I knew God had a bigger purpose for my life,” Cole said.

She shared how the most important thing she gained was the relationships and the experiences. “It was the experiences and the people that I met along the way because I still keep in contact with them today. So those experiences are invaluable, I won’t take it for granted that I was able to be a part of the Mass Media Arts Department,” Cole said.

Along with the relationships that she made at Clark Atlanta University, Cole learned strong values that helped her become the successful business women that she is today.

Through the hardships, Cole finds motivation and strength in different ways.

“My friends, my family and my mentors. I have a whole pool of mentors who have always supported me from day one — good bad and indifferent. They are brutally honest with me and that is who I like to keep around me. People who are honest, tell me the truth and don’t sugarcoat things,” Cole stated.

“‘Find a way or make one.’ I use that mantra every day. There is nothing that I can’t do, especially being that I am a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated,” Cole replied when asked about the values that she learned from Clark Atlanta University.

“Every day is a hardship, but that is the beautiful thing about being an entrepreneur. You find challenges and break them down. It is beautiful to know that you can conquer that beautiful fear every single day,” Cole stated when asked about the hardships of starting a business.

The response towards Slutty Vegan has brought people from all over to taste the plant-based burgers. The typical wait for Slutty Vegan is three hours. Cole believes that people are willing to wait on the line to taste her food based off trust.

“There’s a motto ‘know love trust.’ So, they know the concept. They love the concept. Now, they trust the concept, so they know me. They love me. They trust me,” Cole stated.

In addition to trust, Slutty Vegan is very different from other restaurants. One reason is because the menu changes every day. There is always going to be something new every time a customer goes to Slutty Vegan.

“Slutty Vegan is basically an extension of who I am. I love vegan junk food and I love food and I’m vegan and I’m always pushing my agenda on my friends and family and I just want people to be healthy. I feel like my purpose in life is in alignment with health and helping people be healthier even if it starts at junk food,” Cole said.

Although Cole has established a permanent location, she does not plan to stop using the food truck. “The food truck was fantastic. It was definitely another experience that was tiring, but worth it,” Cole stated when asked about her experience working out of the food truck.

“The plan is for Slutty Vegan to be a household name. Hopefully, this year we will be in an airport and we will roll out at least ten restaurants this year,” she said.

A piece of advice that Cole had for Clark Atlanta University students was to focus on their brand.  

“Make sure you put everything in the brand and all the good stuff will come later. Focus on the brand. Build your brand. Find your niche and who your market is. Once you do all of that the good stuff will come later,” Cole stated.

Knowing sex sells, Cole also attributes her success to educating her audience on how plant-based eating could be cool and her good energy that keeps people coming back.

Learn more about Slutty Vegan on Instagram @sluttyveganatl or by visiting the Slutty Vegan website www.sluttyveganatl.com.

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