Meet the Kinna Thomas – The Woman Behind the Patti Labelle Pie

Patti Labell. James Wright

Walmart senior buyer Kinna Thomas turns idea into goldmine

While the Internet continues to debate whether or not Patti LaBelle owes James Wright Chanel credit for the success of her pie, the real mastermind behind the sweet potato madness is a little-known woman by the name of Kinna Thomas.

Thomas is a senior buyer for cakes and pies at Walmart, and says it was her vision to improve the superstore’s quality of baked goods. Two weeks into the job, she originally had the idea of creating a product birthed from her family recipe. But in the process of testing out pies, she got a better idea.

She ran the idea by Kerry Robinson, Walmart vice president for bakery and deli, and within 24 hours of reaching out to LaBelle, the partnership was a match made in heaven.

“We knew it needed Ms. LaBelle’s special touch as well,” Thomas tells Fortune.

Though LaBelle’s celebrity name gave the pie life, it was the golden touch of Chanel, YouTube personality and singer, that brought sales through the roof.

Though Walmart says sales were relatively well when it hit stores this past Spring, they sold one pie per second in a 72-hour span after Chanel’s online review parody went viral with millions of page views.

Still, there would be no #PattiePie on Walmart shelves had it not been for the vision and execution of Thomas.

Major shout out to this business-savvy sista making moves in her industry!