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Why Founder Pinky Cole Opted Not To Use Traditional Marketing To Spread The Word About Slutty Vegan

As Pinky Cole continues to reach the pinnacles of success as an entrepreneur, she also lifts others as she climbs. The Slutty Vegan founder and CEO has never been afraid of taking risks and betting on herself, even when the odds are stacked against her. Her Atlanta, GA-based restaurant has been wildly successful, even though she created the concept as a passion project, initially launching the company as a food truck without focusing solely on profit. “I pinch myself every day,” she told AFROTECH™ in a recent interview. “Sometimes we’re so immersed in our work that we don’t realize the blessings happening around us. I think about how Slutty Vegan opened the door for me to partner with PepsiCo on the Pepsi Dig In Campaign to support Black-owned restaurateurs. As a leader in this space, I can help provide the support they need.” Cole added, “It’s all been a passion project for me because I get to help people reimagine food in a way they never have before. Every single day, I’m humbled...

Jun 3, 2024

OpenseedVC Raises $10M To Support Operators Launching Technology Companies In Africa And Europe

OpenseedVC, run by Europe’s first Black solo general partner, has raised $10 million in its first close. Per its LinkedIn, the London, England-based firm exists to invest dollars in operators, those previously involved in daily operations of a startup, who are launching new technology companies across Africa and Europe. “We exist to back the most talented and experienced operators from day zero,” OpenseedVC Founder Maria Rotilu wrote on LinkedIn. “ As an angel-style fund, we are designed for one founder profile. Operators just as they take the leap to start their tech companies. We are driven by *pure merit* (hence the name OpenseedVC), and our goal is to back the most experienced operators and builders as first investors, especially at a time where the need to build truly groundbreaking and impactful solutions is critical.” She continued, “It is a tough fundraising climate, for funds and startups alike. However, we believe this is the best time to invest in the most visionary and...

May 22, 2024

The Beyoncé Effect Has Led Black-Owned Businesses To See A Spike In Cowboy Apparel

The Beyoncé effect strikes again! The world is still processing the brilliance behind the Houston, TX-born artist’s latest album “Cowboy Carter,” which features singles including “Blackbiird,” “Texas Hold ‘Em,” and “Riiverdance.” The album is certainly making its mark in music, breaking records as the most-streamed album in a single day on Spotify in 2024 when it was released, People reports. It also debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, the eighth time for the star on the chart. To no surprise, “Cowboy Carter” could be a contender for next year’s Album of The Year at the Grammy Awards too. While its status in music is clear, the album is also making its way in business. According to NBC News, Black-owned businesses have experienced an increase in demand for cowboy apparel following its release. This includes athleisure brand KIN Apparel founded by Philomina Kane, who jokingly shared as an April Fool’s prank on Instagram that the brand would be selling satin-lined cowboy...

May 21, 2024

Uncle Nearest Whiskey Purchases Vodka Brand Square One Organic Spirits

Uncle Nearest’s presence in the spirits sector continues to rise. The whiskey company, established in 2016 by Fawn Weaver to honor Nathan “Nearest” Green, a formerly enslaved man who taught Jack Daniel how to make whiskey, has scaled into 30,000 stores, bars, hotels, and restaurant s in 12 countries, as AFROTECH™ previously reported. In its latest report, Bloomberg notes Weaver aspires to own a larger share of the spirits market. This stance has motivated the company to purchase vodka maker Square One Organic Spirits. Additionally, she mentions a settled legal dispute between Diageo Plc and Sean “Diddy” Combs concerning his vodka brand as a contributing factor for her latest acquisition, noting a void in the market and the importance of having a Black-owned vodka occupy space. The market is heavily dominated by major players such as  Diageo PLC and LVMH, with valuations totaling nearly $79 billion and $423 billion, respectively, the outlet mentions. Uncle Nearest continues to gain a...

May 21, 2024

How Shayna Atkins Founded Atkco, Which Was Named The Third-Fastest-Growing Company In The Midwest Of 2024 By Inc. Magazine

Shayna Atkins is a multi-generational entrepreneur now leading the third-fastest-growing company in the Midwest and the fastest in Illinois of 2024, according to Inc. magazine. She credits her interest in entrepreneurship to her mother, who owned several businesses on the West Side of Chicago, IL, including a pager shop in the early ‘ 90s. During this time she recalls being exposed to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) as she would program beepers at the shop. “I used to program beepers when I was young. Like those were some of my early science experiments for school, and also help her out at the shop,” Atkins shared in an interview with AFROTECH™. “I would actually program, like turn on and turn off, pagers using a DOS program at a very, very young age. Those two things I think really reduce the barrier of fear around both STEM as well as entrepreneurship.” In high school, Atkins developed a liking towards physics and selected the field for her...

May 20, 2024

Jatee Kearsley Made 'Elevated Foods' Accessible To Her Community By Opening A Pastry Shop That Also Allows Customers To Pay With EBT Cards

Jatee Kearsley refers to herself as a “generational starter.” The Queens, NY, raised pastry chef is the owner of Je T’aime Patisserie, a business located in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. The naming of the restaurant was intentional as her love for cooking was born in her teenage years while hosting weekly bake sales in front of a building she used to reside in. “You’re a kid and you want money. So what do you do when you want money? You do what you’re good at. And I was always good at baking cakes and cupcakes for my family,” she tells AFROTECH™ during the Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit. “I would invite my friends over and they’ll come and eat cupcakes. I’m like, ‘You know what? I’m going to make money.’ So I took a table outside and just started selling these cupcakes that I was making. Then it just elevated into a passion.” Kearsley would continue to opt for self-teaching even as she pursued culinary education, honing her skills in baking intricate pastries such as macarons and...

May 13, 2024

This Luxury Handbag Company Founder Not Only Turned $5K Into $2.3M In Revenue Within 4 Years But Also Received Beyoncé's Approval

Founder Wilglory Tanjong has Beyoncé’s attention. On April 7, 2024, the “Cowboy Carter” singer took to Instagram sharing two posts where she is seen wearing a Willie Nelson T-shirt, platform boots, and a jacket with a print of the American flag. She also accessorized the look with a luxury handbag designed by Tanjong and launched through the founder’s company, Anima Iris. This marks the second time Beyoncé’ has sported the brand since 2021, per CNBC. View this post on Instagram A post shared by ANIMA IRIS (@anima.iris) “ANIMA IRIS IS BEYONCÉ APPROVED… AGAIN !! Beyoncé really loves Anima Iris, no cap all facts,” Tanjong said on Instagram. “I know y’all will ask so YES, I’m releasing the bag we made just for Bey and I’m naming it the Cowboy Carter ZAZA. Available now on…AHHH BEYONCÉ APPROVEDDD.” While Beyoncé’s interest in Anima Iris is certainly noteworthy, it is also a testament to the labor of love behind Anima Iris, which was born while Tanjong was traveling in...

May 13, 2024

Piersten Gaines' Pressed Roots, Which Is Backed By Naomi Osaka, Now Has Four Locations Thanks To Expansion To Houston, TX

Piersten Gaines’ Pressed Roots is now on location No. 4 and counting. Houston Chronicle reports that the blowout bar for textured hair has opened a new salon in Houston, TX. Located in the Centre at Post Oak, the new spot accommodates 50 hair stylists, the outlet details. Before having four brick-and-mortar locations in Dallas, Arlington, Plano, and now, Houston, Gaines and the Pressed Roots team did popups around the time the company’s vision first came to life in 2018, as previously reported by AFROTECH™. After having her share of poor experiences at hair salons, Gaines created the company’s business model to fill the void of access to affordable, quality styling for textured hair of all types. “We spend a lot of money, a lot of time in salons, and the level of services just do not match the money we’re spending,” Gaines told Fortune. “Our goal is to make quality hair care accessible.” Moreover, to ensure that hair health, time, and top-tier customer service are prioritized for...

May 10, 2024

Tahra Grant Is Now The First Black Woman To Be Named Chief Comms Officer At A Major Hollywood Studio

Sony Pictures Entertainment has officially announced its next EVP, Chief Communications Officer, and the move is a major one… a historic feat, if you will. According to a press release shared with AFROTECH™, Tahra Grant will serve in the position, succeeding Robert Lawson who will relocate to the company’s headquarters in Tokyo, Japan as SVP of Corporate Communications for the entire Sony Group. Not only is Grant the first Black woman to be named Chief Comms Officer at a major Hollywood studio, she is also the only Black woman to hold the position at a major studio among the stars. Since joining the studio in 2016, Grant has “streamlined and sharpened corp comm ops, handling crisis and issues with def skills during Covid and the double strikes, before and after,” per the report. Within a year with the company, she was promoted to SVP of Media Relations and her expertise in the industry continues to expand. She has also worked on several Sony blockbusters, which include Little Women,...

May 1, 2024

Mented Cosmetics, A Black-Woman-Owned Beauty Brand, Has Been Acquired

Black woman-owned beauty brand Mented Cosmetics has been acquired by West Lane Capital Partners, Beauty Independent reports. The company, co-founded in 2017 by KJ Miller and Amanda E/J Morrison, offers products that cater to women of all complexions, its website mentions. According to Beauty Independent, Mented Cosmetics’ inaugural product was nude lipsticks created for women of color, which is still one of its best sellers. Mented Cosmetics’ products have since expanded to include mascara, blush, eyeshadow, foundation, and more, which can be seen on its website. Prices range from $16.50 to $30, the outlet says. The brand first relied on direct to consumer (DTC) distribution before landing in retail stores. As of this writing, its products are being sold in Ulta Beauty, Target, CVS and Walgreens but will shift its focus to DTC, the outlet notes. Over the years, the company has raised $9 million in venture capital funding, Crunchbase lists. However, there have been some growing...

Apr 19, 2024

Dr. Hokehe Eko Launches A Virtual Clinic That Offers Autism And ADHD Evaluations For Children

Board-Certified Pediatrician Dr. Hokehe Eko is launching a virtual clinic for children with autism. The mother of three boasts over 10 years of experience working with children of all ages as well as those on the autism spectrum. She also completed training to conduct autism diagnostic evaluations using the CARS standardized test, her website mentions. “As a result of my experience, I am better able to differentiate between neuro-typical and neuro-atypical behaviors, and can also help identify if there are other factors at play, such as ADHD, depression, anxiety, OCD, intellectual delays, or other medical conditions,” she said on her website. Based in Oklahoma, Dr. Eko’s virtual clinic, Glow Pediatrics, is now open for consultations and will see patients located in Georgia, Oklahoma, and Maryland within a week, Black News reports. This is significant as the average national wait time for families seeking autism diagnosis evaluation is 27 months, per The Journal of Pediatrics. “Early...

Apr 18, 2024

How The McBride Sisters Are 'Changing The Perception Of Wine Being Elitist And Exclusive'

Robin and Andrea McBride have done what most would consider unimaginable within the wine industry, but for them, like most big moments in their lives… every step of the process has been pretty kismet, according to Robin. In 2005, the McBride sisters started their wine journey when they began importing grapes from New Zealand (called Aotearoa by the indigenous Maori people) . By 2009, they began to cultivate juices together, and before they knew it, in 2017, the sisters began producing wine straight from their respective homes in Monterey, CA, and New Zealand under the McBride Sisters Collection label that they are known for today. When recalling what makes her most proud of this journey, Robin honed in on their initial vision and mission for entering the wine industry, and that was “changing the perception of wine being elitist and exclusive.”

Apr 11, 2024

Bookstore Owner Ymani Wince Launches A Free Book Vending Machine For Students In St. Louis, MO

Knowledge is power, but being able to access it can be an uphill battle for disadvantaged communities. PBS NewsHour reports on Instagram that St. Louis, MO, is a “book desert,” and the likelihood of retaining a significant number of books in a community is low. However, a determined Black woman business owner has stepped in to enact the change she wants to see. According to the outlet, Ymani Wince launched Onyx, a free book vending machine, at the Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club, located on the north side of St. Louis. Wince also owns The Noir Bookshop, which provides Black and people of color (POC) literature.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by PBS NewsHour (@newshour) “I started thinking about what were ways that I could get books in the community, and I instantly thought of vending machines,” Wince told PBS NewsHour. “The concept of reading is good, having literacy is good, and I think access to information is a human right, no matter what you look like.” This...

Apr 11, 2024

Former Walgreens CEO Rosalind 'Roz' Brewer Joins Black Economic Alliance's Board Of Directors

Rosalind “Roz” Brewer has joined a coalition of leaders to advocate for financial prosperity in Black communities. As AFROTECH™ previously told you, Brewer — an alumnus of Spelman College — formerly helmed as Walgreens Boots Alliance chief executive officer (CEO). This company, headquartered in Illinois, owns the retail pharmacy chain Walgreens in the U.S. and the U.K. However, Brewer exited her position in August 2023. She was the only Black woman to hold the C-suite title in the S&P 500 at the time, per Bloomberg. The former Walgreens CEO was also the third Black woman to lead a Fortune 500 company, notes Forbes. Before Walgreens, Brewer served in leadership roles for retail giant Walmart and then transitioned to its Sam’s Club division as president and CEO to advance digital technology and improve shoppers’ experience, a news release mentions. She also took on the role of the chief operating officer (COO) of Starbucks Coffee Company from 2017 to 2021. Her contributions included...

Apr 5, 2024