Let's all lift our spoons for the adversities that Pinkberry co-founder Shelly Hwang has endured. From this puff piece in KoreAm Journal, we learn that Hwang attempted several restaurant concepts in LA before she landed on the success that is Pinkberry. But oh, what a bumpy road to success it's been: The product wasn't understood at first, then neighbors complained about traffic and litter, lawsuits popped up, bloggers claimed Pinkberry stole the idea from Red Mango (ahem). Hwang, the trooper, just took it all in stride:
"I wasn't stressed about the lawsuit or the blogs - I was stressed about keeping up demand without compromising the quality. I had to serve 2,000 to 3,000 cups a day. I couldn't think about the other stuff. Now, those stories are gone."Um, yeah, if by "gone" she means the company settled the lawsuit for $750,000, the "chilly bliss" was finally approved and deemed actual yogurt by the Dept of Food and Agriculture after it was reformulated and mixed in a dairy facility like they're supposed to, and all more than two years after the first swirl was cast. "Gone" because the issues obviously made an impact, changes were made, and there's nothing more to talk about. Except this: Now, backed by infusion of $27.5 million from Starbucks founder Howard Schulz's venture capital firm, Maveron, Hwang is looking to expand across the country, the borders, the world "It could be 1,000 or 100,000?I want to be the next Starbucks," she says. Wait...our swirly heads just exploded.
· Our Pinkberry Obsession [~ELA~]