Yesterday, KoreAm Journal ran a profile/puff piece on Pinkberry founder, Shelly Hwang, and we discover it wasn't all smooth sailing for the lovely little millionaire. In fact she had to battle with a history of failure and once Pinkberry launched, numerous lawsuits, consumer skepticism, and a flurry of blog posts insinuating she stole the idea from Red Mango. But Hwang didn't sweat it:
"'I wasn't stressed about the lawsuit or the blogs - I was stressed about keeping up demand without compromising the quality,' she says. '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.'"Of course, as pointed out over at Eater LA, those problems went away because a) Pinkberry settled one of those lawsuits to a tune of $750k, b) they had to drastically alter their operations to get the official 'live culture' certification from the Dept of Food and Agriculture, and c) they got a huge $27.5 million investment boost from Starbucks founder Howard Schulz's venture capitalist firm.
But no matter. Everything's coming up roses now. Oh yeah, and they're planning on taking over the world:
"'It could be 1,000 or it could be 10,000,' she says with a laugh. 'Every store has done well, even the stores in New York in the wintertime. It's phenomenal.'...it's a phenomenon that will cross borders - the company's current plan includes opening locations in countries such as Mexico, Spain and London. And from there, who knows? 'I want to be the next Starbucks,' Hwang says decisively."Considering how many stores we've seen pop up all over NYC in the last year, we expect to see two doing business across the street from one another— like those 'Bucks in Astor Place— in no time.
· The Sweet Life - the Secret of Pinkberry's success [KoreAm Journal]
· The Pinkberry Story: From Humble Beginnings to World Ooze [~ELA~]