Baltimore resident Gia Winfield has taken entrepreneurship by the horns— or, in her case, by the nails— and she is thriving.
The owner of “The Purple Peach Nail Bar,” which she believes is a first of its kind in Baltimore— 100 percent black-owned full-service nail salon. Winfield says her journey to become an entrepreneur began at the tender age of 14.
“I took a liking to the nail industry at a young age because beauty always seemed to surround my family,” said Winfield, a native of Queens, New York. “I started doing manicures on my girlfriends and eventually it became my profession,” she said.
From age 14 to 18, Winfield worked at a trendy New York nail salon. When that salon closed, it motivated her to start her own business.
“I had such a big following at the time, so I launched my own salon,” she said.
Admittedly, Winfield was a bit apprehensive, but she maintained a passion for the business and decided to dive in headfirst.
“I didn’t know what I was getting myself into by starting my own business, so there was a lot of trial and error, but I got past that,” Winfield said.
Recently, she says seeing pop star Beyoncé perform at the famed Coachella Music Festival further energized her. The performance last month drew favorable comparisons from critics to the late Michael Jackson.
Winfield says the “Formation” singer’s history making show proved that nothing “can stand in the way of a woman and her hustle to the top.” She further says that Beyoncé’s show also provided more evidence that women who are driven by their craft can reach untold heights.
Quite simply, the show was a signal for her to go full steam ahead with her new innovation. Her new “Purple Peach Energy Drink,” is the next-level energy supplement, and is the first high-performance energy drink owned and operated by an African-American woman, according to Winfield.
“I’m always on the go and with me drinking coffee all of the time, I wanted to invest in my own drink,” she said.
For Winfield, it’s all a part of being a self-made entrepreneur, a position that comes with its share of pitfalls, she said.
“My biggest fear was failing because here I was leaping out into a whole different world where all of the responsibility would now be on me,” Winfield said. “There was that fear because everyone was now looking at me. I was the go-to person and I had to wear many different hats.”
Winfield says she eventually came to realize that she couldn’t be everything to everyone. It was a lesson she had to learn and advises others to grasp.
“It eventually made me stronger. and I was able to build a strong foundation,” Winfield said.
“You can’t take everybody with you and everybody isn’t worthy of your surroundings. I learned that lesson. There are certain people you must deal with and certain ones that you must leave alone.
“My circle has become very small now, as an entrepreneur because I had to understand that you can’t trust everybody— everybody isn’t trustworthy. In building a brand, not everyone is going to applaud you.”
With that, Winfield says her primary advice to young women who aspire to start their own business, is to stay focused and be sure to surround yourself with like-minded individuals.
“The biggest thing is to keep your credit clean so that you are able to get loans for your business if you need it,” she said. “Sit down with a CPA and learn the things you need to do and not to do.”
For more information about The Purple Peach Enery Drink, locations where it is availabale, or to purchase the drink, visit: www.purplepeachenergydrink.com.