Zibby interviews Pinky Cole, the founder of the wildly successful restaurant chain Slutty Vegan, about her honest and inspiring advice book, I HOPE YOU FAIL. Pinky shares the inspiration behind her unconventional guide, drawing from her own challenges and failures and her philosophy to view them as opportunities for growth. She opens up about her journey as an entrepreneur and overcoming countless obstacles (including lawsuits against her). She touches on the importance of friendship, resilience, and authenticity. Finally, she reveals what she is working on next.


Zibby: Welcome, Pinky. Thank you so much for coming on Mom's Don't Have Time to Read Books to discuss, I Hope You Fail, 10 Hater Statements Holding You Back from Getting Everything You Want.

Pinky: Thank you. So happy to be here. 

Zibby: Congratulations. 

Pinky: Thank you. 

Zibby: I really love this book both as a guide. I am an entrepreneur as well. So all the entrepreneurial advice and statements and the success and the failures and all that, but also your personal story, which was so inspiring. And, you know, and of course the way you flip everything on its head by putting it in the negative, you know, you, you know, you hope someone cheats on you and all of that.

That's great. Genius. Love it. We need a new kind of advice book. Uh, it's, it's fabulous. Why don't you tell listeners a little bit about the inspiration for this book and, and what you wanted it to be? You're doing a million things and, and now this, so why? 

Pinky: You know, it's funny. I have never called myself an author.

I never imagined that I would write books, let alone sell them, and share my testimony with other people. So it's funny because I was the commencement speaker for Clark Atlanta University, my alma mater, two years ago. And the theme of my speech was, I hope you fail. And I can remember telling the president of the institution and he was like, you sure that's what you want to do?

And I'm like, yep, that is what I want to do. And I wanted to talk about my experience navigating through college and then going out into the real world, right? As the queen of the school, I had all the accolades, all the things that you could think of, but I couldn't find a job. And then as I maneuvered through life, I started a business.

I lost it. Car got repo, got kicked out of my apartment. Wages got gone. Just like all of the things that you could imagine could happen to a person that is walking through life for the first time, right? Happened to me. But. What I realized is, okay, I can reverse engineer all of this negativity and make it positive by just training my mindset to do so.

And when, when I identified that I could do that, I'm like, I can put this in a book. Like, this is just bigger than a commencement speech. And when I put the book together, it really came from a vulnerable place. I have been through a lot, right? And when I say a lot, I've had the highs, I've had the lows, everything that you could So I believe that my story is a quintessential example of what it looks like to triumph in spite of the tribulations and that's literally what this book gives just like you said it's a guide it's a blueprint and it's practical it's not one of those books that's going to have like 500 pages and then you don't understand you got to read cliff notes this ain't that what this is is something for you to make you feel better on a cloudy day and just really give you a roadmap how to just re engineer your mindset on on negative situations. 

Zibby: It's amazing.

You do this all the time, not just in the book, even on social. You had a video that you posted, which I absolutely loved. I was like, I have to do something like this where you just hold up papers and you're like, yes, you know, I've raised 25 million and I've been on all these magazine covers and you know, the Times 100, but I've had so many failures along the way.

Talk about just a couple of the obstacles that you felt like were insurmountable at the time and yet somehow you forged through. 

Pinky: You know, it's funny. Yeah, I always tell my friends when I was a kid. I'm like, I want to be famous. I want to make it, but I never knew making it and being famous and successful came with getting sued.

Right. And my lawyers hate when I talk about this, but I feel like it is necessary because as an entrepreneur, when you continue to elevate in your career, There are things that are going to happen. Some of them include litigation, right? And a lot of the people shy away from talking about that, but like, I'm an open book all the way.

I mean, you're going to love me or leave me alone. And I feel like it's important to share these things and my experiences so that somebody else can avoid going through the same thing that I did. But I feel like one of the hardest things and my growth and elevation as a restaurateur and an entrepreneur was getting sued, right?

Like I was watching the golden globes. And then when the golden globes came off. I was headline news and I'm like, what is happening here? And I was learning, I was learning the information just like everybody else at the same damn time. And I'm like, hold up, wait a minute. So not, not only was I pregnant, right?

Okay. So, you know, being a mom and an entrepreneur is like, That's a whole nother job description in itself. So I'm hormonal, I'm emotional. I'm also curious because I'm trying to figure out what's happening. But then I also have to lead a team. And then I also have to feel like, find out what's happening.

Then I also have to talk to my lawyers. Then I also have to shut up because they don't want me to talk about it. But I'm also very vocal and transparent. And I'm like, well, what is it that you want me to do? So that was the first time in my life. Not to mention, I was slated to go on a big TV show and they pulled it because of all the headline news and I was really bummed about it.

But I can freely speak about this now and hopefully anybody that's watching this can just say, damn, like this is just another example of I hope you fail. I hope bad things happen to you so that you can re engineer it and think about the positive and find a way to get better from that situation. And guess what I did?

I have a policy and that is when shit happens, you put policy in place. And although we moved in best practices before, I really make sure that we move in best practices. Now, I hired a better HR team. I actually hired a firm so now that I can hold a firm accountable, right? So like it's not on the eternal company when something goes wrong, right?

Then I made sure that I focus more on employee initiatives and making sure that they're happy in the workplace. It's one place, one thing if they just show up to work, but I want you to be happy when you come work with me, not for me, right? So a lot of learnings along the way, but this is also described in the book, right?

So like when those negative things happen, it's a lesson learned and it just really builds up your testimony so that you can share it with somebody else. 

Zibby: It doesn't feel like that at the time though. It feels just pretty terrible. 

Pinky: No. It's effed up, if I could say it in the nicest way but, but guess what, when you look back at it, let me tell you something.

When I look back over my life, I'm like, you know what? I'm really glad that relationship didn't work out because I wouldn't have found my knight in shining armor and gotten married. I, this is a mom podcast. I can talk about this. Do you know that a doctor told me that it was gonna be difficult for me to have children, and I've tried before I met my husband and now I can't stop having kids.

I had three kids back to back. I had a baby 21. I had a baby in 22. I had a baby in 23. And now I cannot stop having kids. But I needed to go through that bad relationship so I can identify what it is that I wanted. What it is that I didn't want. So now here I am, I'm like, this is the best person for me.

Like I literally, this is my mirror here, but it took for me to go through some bad relationships. So again, the book also talks about that, which is, which is why it's so near and dear to me. You know, I did a cookbook before and the cookbook was cool. That was fun, . But this really was like my journal that I got to tell my story and be like, auntie Pinky.

So that I could tell people like, alright, this is what it is. No chasing, no straw. 

Zibby: I love that. You also really talk about listening to yourself, right? You wanted the name for Slutty Vegan and everybody told you not to have the name. And by the way, a lot of people told me not to name this podcast Moms in No Time to Read Books.

They're like, that's so long. No podcast names are that long. And what about all the other people? And I'm just like, I don't know. You know what? If I get all the moms in the world to listen to this, I feel pretty good about that market size, you know? So anyway, people are always saying like, they have better ideas.

And I'm like, okay, well, let's see your better ideas. And in your book, you were like, I don't remember any of the other names. You were like, I can't even remember what they wanted me to call it and I love that you just stuck to it and you did it. 

Pinky: Yeah, you know, it's interesting. Slutty Vegan is such a racy name and racy concept, right?

So from the names of my burgers to, I have a cup that says, Drink Da Fuh, right? But it's, it's, it's, it's not the cursing, okay? But, I realized that nobody is going to do your vision like you can do your vision, right? Everybody will have their opinions, but the reality of it is people project their own fears, right?

Uh, their own insecurities on you because they aren't brave enough to do it themselves. So my father always told me, nothing beats trial but a failure. If it fails, at least I tried. Right? And if it works, then hey, it's a win win for everybody. But success is like mud, you gotta throw something on the wall and something gotta stick.

And that's exactly what I did with Slutty Vegan. I came up with a name, and as crazy as it sounded, I'm like, oh, this is the one. Like, I knew this was it. Like, I come up with ideas all the time, but I knew this one was special because It felt right in my spirit, number one, because I spoke to myself and I'm like, all right, self, what you think about this?

And self said, okay, this is good. Okay. And then I'm like, all right, so this is the one, and I didn't want to share it with a lot of people. So, you know, usually when you come up with a lot of great ideas, you want to share with the world. This was the one that I kept here because I'm like, all right, something feels good about this.

And, and I'm moved by my spirit. And some people say like, that's not always the best way, but like, if my heart don't feel good, if my spirit don't feel right, I ain't doing it. I don't care if it's a bill, some billionaires in a room, if I walk in a room and the energy is wrong, I don't care how much money you got in your pocket.

So I always move with my energy and my spirit. And that's what slutty vegan did for me. So I ran with the name and then shameless plug, I was a television producer for a couple of years. Okay. So I know what makes people pay attention. I know what they want to listen to, so I coupled sex and food together with my skill set of working in TV, and I ran with it, and when I tell you, it's been almost six years, and I, sometimes I got to pinch myself, because I cannot believe that I created a concept in my two bedroom apartment that is not only a household name, It's providing opportunities for at least four hundred and I got four hundred and I'm like, who would have thought and counting because I get to scale and is it all peaches and cream?

No, I have nice way. I'm like, forget this. I don't want to do this no more. Okay. Like I got kids over here. I got three babies and pampers. Okay. Like there's some days that I'm like, I don't want to do this, but then many days I'm like, you know what? It's so worth it. And I'm so glad that I named it. I'm so glad that it was racy because if I would have named it pinkies vegan.

I wouldn't have had nobody in line. So I'm just happy that I named it what I named it. 

Zibby: You have advice in the book too about even being a good friend. And I found that really interesting because you don't often find that in advice books, career books, self help. And you're like, listen, take time out and listen to your friends.

Ask them questions. Don't let your success eclipse anything else. Like you have to be there for everyone else. Just like the good friend and good person you are. I love that you put that in there. 

Pinky: Thank you. You know, it's funny because most of us do it and we don't realize that we do it, right? We always focus on, like, if other people are good friends to us, right?

But are we good friends to other people? Do we show up for our friends? Do we support them? Do we provide them with constructive criticism? Do we give them what they need when they need it? I haven't always been the best friend. As I evolved, I realized, I'm like While I thought that I was being a good friend, I haven't always been the best friend.

Like, because I've been so busy, and I've been focused on me, me, me, me, me. But what about the people that always care about me, that always show up for me? Like, I need to make sure that they are good too. So in the book, I really talk about making sure that you check for the people who are checking for you.

It's not always about you, and as long as you can learn how to be selfless in your pursuit of friendship, you'll always have that cool group of people that are gonna show up in the trenches. They're gonna go to war with you. It's almost like what Forrest Gump did with Lieutenant Dan. You know the story of Forrest Gump and Lieutenant Dan?

Lieutenant Dan wanted to stay on that battlefield, and he wanted to die in his honor, but Forrest Gump wouldn't allow him to do that. He was that friend that said, you know what? I'm checking for you. I'm a g Even if that meant that he got shot in the butt with a purple heart. He got the purple heart because he got shot in the butt.

However, I just watched the movie, by the way. That's all I'm saying. 

Zibby: Yeah, I figured. I was like, wow, what did we call from whenever it came out? Like 1987 or whatever. 

Pinky: But it's so symbolic. It's so symbolic because I want to be that kind of friend and I feel like everybody who reads that book needs to be that kind of friend, even if it means that you give of yourself to make sure somebody else is good, you're going to do that.

Even if it means that you get shot in the butt. 

Zibby: Amazing. Go watch Forrest Gump, whoever is watching. Yes, this is the, uh, the takeaway from this. Can I read this one section? Because, you know, the flip side of having people in your corner and supporting you is all the people who can't sort of handle the success and aren't in your corner anymore.

And you call the section the hater you know. And you said, I really can't prepare you for this because no one can. But I want you to know that your success is going to expose the people around you who don't want you to have it. I don't care if you have the same grandmama, if you grew up on the same street, or if you've been friends since your mamas were pregnant with you both.

If they are jealous of you, it's going to come to light. Understand that sharing DNA doesn't mean you share dreams. All our lives, we've heard about crabs in a barrel. Your family can be those crabs. Unfortunately, sometimes even they can put you in a box and try to limit your potential. When you live beyond those limitations, then it's a problem.

Tell me more about that. 

Pinky: I have a lot of siblings and I realized that some of us got dropped on the head. Okay. I'm like, you sure that we all came from the same place? Because I feel like people are wired differently and whether it's friends or family, what I realize is as you elevate There are some people in your life that want what you have and because it didn't happen for them, sometimes they aren't genuinely happy for you and I don't think that it's intentional.

It's like you, it's like you smell the hate, okay? It's like you, you, you, you, you smell the insecurity on somebody else and I've grown to realize that It is not them. It is a makeup of the trauma that they have experienced in their lifetime that causes them to exude this level of non supportiveness as it relates to the success of the people that are near to them.

Right. I know that was a mouthful, but, but hear me out. I've had people in my life that support me when like, Things aren't popping, right? Like when it's okay, when it ain't moving and shaking, but when I'm moving and shaking, they disappear. So I'm like, well, what happened? Will you go? But I also realized that everybody in life are trying to figure it out.

They're trying to figure life out. So there's some people in life that. If it hasn't happened for them when they want it to happen for them, but it's happening to the person next to them, they got a problem with that. So I am mindful on who I decide to share my energy with. Because energy is important.

Energy is so important because it will affect the course of the day. If I'm super happy and super motivated and super driven, but then I have somebody next to me that's just sad all the time, because it's okay to be sad here and there, right? Because we're human. But all the time, if it's negativity, all the time, if you're not supportive, all the time, if you're just drowning in your own misery, That's not conducive for my spirit because I have to continue to grow and I have to continue to build and I have to be able to pour from my cup to get to my children, to get to my family, to get to my husband and all of the people that are important to me.

So you have to put a caution sign around people that you feel that every time you do something great in your life. They are unhappy, and that includes family, too. Sometimes people think that we have to build relationships with family. I'mma always love you if we share the same DNA, right? Like, our ancestors made it a point to make sure that we came out the same womb, that we come from the same bloodline, but they did not make it a point that I had to be your friend.

They did not make it a point that I had to work with you if The relationship ain't relationship in, right? So I've come to a place where I realized that, and that's okay. You do not have to feel guilty to not to be around people that you've grown up with people that you've called friend for years. If they are not supportive of you, then you have to be around people that can be what it is that you need so that you can be all that you need so you can be successful.

Zibby: I love it. Pinky, why you? Why do you think that this success has happened for you? Why do you think that when you fail, you can get up and other people just stay flattened? 

Pinky: You know, nobody ever asked me that. I'm gonna give you the purest, honest, answer that I think. It might not be the right answer, and I don't, I don't even know if this also is my own personal trauma, but I have a complex that I feel like, it's not a complex, I take it back, I feel like God speaks to me through people, right?

And whoever is watching this, whatever, God, you believe in this is my secret formula that I'm publicly saying for the first time, God speaks to me through people, especially homeless people. Oh, it's bad. Right? So I cannot see people struggling and hurting and not help them because I feel like God is testing me.

And when God tests me, it's almost like, all right, right. Are you going to help? Are you going to be a steward? Are you going to bless this person? Or are you going to walk away and let this person suffer? Because if you let this person suffer, then I'm just going to stop giving you the blessings. It might not make sense.

And a lot of people are going to say, well, that's not, that philosophy is retarded. It don't make sense. But for me, 

how I have always lived my life. 

Zibby: No one is saying that. No one is saying that. 

Pinky: Okay. I've always lived my life to the point that I always, It is my responsibility to bless people who are in need because I feel like that is what God would do.

So the more that I bless people, the more blessings come my way. So it has always been just a natural formula in my spirit. I gotta do right by people, because if I don't do right by people, the blessings are going to stop. And I never want the blessings to stop. I want God to see my good work. I want God to see the things that I'm doing.

When I say God, I mean whoever it is that you believe in, whoever your God is. So when you ask me, why me? I've asked myself that question. I just like to think that I have a heart for people like it, but but sometimes it gets abusive. I'll be honest, like somebody will DM me and I'm not saying to do this, but somebody will DM me and say like, I'm about to get evicted today.

I need 1000. I'm going to be on the street with my kids. Like, I can't read that. And I help that person, even if I don't know them, because I feel like that is God testing me. So again, I preface this by saying it might be a little bit of my trauma, but I'm okay with that because God always continues to bless me.

And that is my answer on it. 

Zibby: I love it. I love it. Nobody thinks that that's a bad answer. It's your truth. I mean, it's amazing and it's beautiful. I will caution you to stop giving a thousand dollars to everyone who DMs you. This is not a good pattern. We need some vetting. You need some vetting here. 

Pinky: I told you it was trauma.

Okay, everybody look at me like pinky. You need to stop. You have a problem, but it's okay. God. God is always I've been so fortunate and so blessed emotionally, spiritually and financially that they got to take it up with God if somebody is abusing that. 

Zibby: I love that. Oh my gosh. What is coming next? You have ideas all the time.

What are some, what is something that's actually going to happen and what is some idea you've had lately that you're like, that's a great idea, but I'm just not going to do that. I can't do that. I don't have time for that. 

Pinky: You ask really good questions. Thank you. So I am going to, um, I'm actually working on it now.

I'm going to say secret society, but it's not that. It's not the Illuminati, guys. But I, I'm building an organization with the top leaders from around the country, but it's invite only. So basically, I, it starts with me. I invite somebody, they invite somebody else, and it continues to go down the line. And basically, I'm inviting people that are at the top of the food chain in their industry.

And what this is, is it becomes a resource, um, for entrepreneurs to be able to be amongst a group of people who are thought leaders, gang changers, changers, world organizers, that we can pool resources to be able to get to the goal, whatever the goal is. There are tons of groups like that that exist, but they ain't never had the pinky coal stank on it.

So, so I'm going to create that. That's what I'm working on in real time. And it's going to be called FIN. And Finn is short for dolphin, if you know anything about dolphins. Dolphins, they work together, I love animals, so they work together as a team. They don't leave each other. They support one another.

They are big, but gentle. 

All right. You follow me? So the organization is called F. A. N. We are big in stature, big in title, but we're gentle and we're humble. So those are the people that I'm going to have in that group. So it's going to be an organization, not a secret society, but it's only invite only. So that's kind of like the next big thing that I'm working on and I'm excited about that. 

Zibby: That is awesome. So P. H. I. N. Right. Or F I N. 

Pinky: P H I N. Nope. P H I N. 


Zibby: That is very cool. I love it. Yeah. You can swim with the dolphins, right? I mean, they're like friends. 

Pinky: You can swim. 

Zibby: The pinky coals stink. Love that. Okay. Any other books? Do you think you're going to write another book?

Did you like doing this one? 

Pinky: I did, but I'm about to write another. It's funny because my next book was going to be called, When Sis. W I N S I S, but I've since changed that because I just eliminated my entire C suite and I'm rebuilding my company in real time. Okay, so I'm actually going to vulnerably share that experience.

So I've changed that because in order for me to be authentic in my approach to leadership and entrepreneurship, I got to keep it real and I got to tell the truth. So my next book will chronicle everything that I'm doing. Doing now. So I've been journaling and I'm going to turn it into a book. Um, and it's going to talk about the fact that, you know, I, I built this 100 million brand.

And then even in building a hundred million dollar brand, what I realized is you can have all the people in the world with long resumes, but that don't mean that they'll love your business. Like you love your business. So I'll talk a lot about that in the book. So I'm excited about that. That is really going to be a very vulnerable piece, but I think it'll bless a lot of people, entrepreneurs and restaurateurs, especially.

Zibby: I love it. 

So cool. 

Okay, last question. What's the thing you say the most to, what's the one piece of advice for your kids that you want to make sure that they get? Maybe you say it now even though they're babies. Maybe you just think it all the time. What do they need to know when they go out into life?

Pinky: Put that down. Don't touch that. Put that down. And it's funny because I say that to them all the time, but like, if I can metaphorically say what that means, like, don't pick up stuff that you don't need, right? Like, put it down. Like, I've had to learn over the years that, like, and I'm still learning that I cannot, as much as I love to help other people, like, I cannot hold on to everybody's stuff.

You gotta put it down and let it go. And I tell my kids that all the time, but now that you asked me that question, like, put it down, let it go. Like, I want them to know that, like, they don't have to hold on to the bags of life. and put it down and they could let it go. 

Zibby: Look at that. Now we have a bumper sticker for you, you know.

Do they even make bumper stickers anymore? I'm dating, I'm dating myself. 

Pinky: I don't know, but that's a good business. I'm dating myself too. Might as well get some pagers with it too, right? 

Zibby: Pinky, thank you so much. I have so much respect for you. You are awesome and wow, the great work that you're doing in so many ways.

You know, there's like a little angel in there. It's really cool and I'm just really happy I got to connect with you. Thank you. 

Pinky: Thank you. It's been a pleasure and I hope to see you at Slutty Vegan one day soon. 

Zibby: Yes. All right. Take care. Have a great day. 

Pinky: Thank you. 

Zibby: Bye bye.


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