ATLANTA — Pinky Cole, the owner of Atlanta’s popular vegan eatery Slutty Vegan ATL, is taking her career to new heights by creating the first plant-based potato chip with Rap Snacks, a food brand inspired by hip hop culture.
Since December 2019, the chips have made its way into 100,000 locations across the U.S, according to rep for Rap Snacks.
Both brand names, founded by African-American entrepreneurs, are enthusiastic about the success of this vegan potato chip line as it aims to spread awareness around healthier lifestyle choices to a community who may experience less access to vegan options otherwise.
“It's unheard of to put two Black-owned businesses together in this way so that we could grow and be successful together,” Cole said. “It just feels good to be able to represent that through my restaurant to my brand voice. I'm just happy about the sales and the support.”
In an interview with 11Alive, Cole said the collaboration is a dream come true as she was already a fan of the Rap Snacks brand and creating her own spin on barbecue-flavored chips was the perfect pairing for Slutty Vegan’s popular burgers.
“It's a total blessing to be able to see my face, on chips in different stores. I always said when I was a little girl, that I'm gonna be a household name, and I didn't know that it would take on this meaning,” Cole said. “But I'm excited and I'm humbled about it. And I'm just grateful for the people who support me every single day, especially in the city of Atlanta.”
Rap Snacks CEO and founder James Lindsey is equally as excited to join forces with Cole.
“Slutty Vegan has been immensely influential in introducing veganism to the culturally rich community of Atlanta and beyond. It’s always exciting to join forces with a brand that shares the same underlying mission as we do here at Rap Snacks - to push culture forward through food. This partnership will create limitless possibilities across both the Rap Snacks and Slutty Vegan brands; more importantly, providing communities across the country who have limited access to vegan options, a health-conscious, alternative snack,” Lindsay tells 11Alive in a statement.
So, what makes it a plant-based potato chip? Cole revealed that many potato chips contain dairy and milk derivatives.
“This doesn't have any animal or animal byproducts in the chip, and I wanted to spread that narrative, especially in our communities that you can be vegan. You can be plant-based, and you don't have to compromise animals, even if it starts at potato chips. even if this starts and vegan comfort food,” Cole said.
Slutty Vegan ATL has become a celeb-magnet, as many actors, musicians, and athletes have praised the restaurant’s healthy spin on fast food.
“I think Slutty Vegan does a great job introducing that lifestyle to communities around the world. Because its just not Atlanta. We got people coming from Kenya, London, and we do that. And now we get to really do that with the Rap Snacks vegan chips,” Cole said.
At the start of the stay-at-home orders during the pandemic, Coleclosed her business for two weeks to create a safe operating environment for employees and customers.
“it's unfortunate how many people we have lost to COVID-19. What I will say is, it showed me that Slutty Vegan can be a weatherproof business, as an entrepreneur, it's never easy to make like quick, vast decisions, especially when you have a business,” Cole said. “Thinking about what the new normal is going to be is never easy for any entrepreneur. But we're doing it with style and grace.”
Cole has come a long way since starting her business in a ghost kitchen. The business owner anticipates her ”rapidly moving company” will have a total of 13 locations within the next two years.
“We are expanding our operational executives and just really bringing in people who have expertise to help us grow and scale this company. It's not about the money for me, It's about creating something so that we could tell a story on how we have helped people to re-imagine food. And we do that every single day,” Cole said.