Gia Winfield has taken entrepreneurship by the horns — or, in her case, by the nails.
The owner of the Purple Peach Nail Bar in Baltimore — which Winfield believes is the region’s first Black-owned full-service nail salon — said 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 the Queens borough of New York City. “I started doing manicures on my girlfriends and eventually it became my profession.”
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 head first.
“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.
She said seeing pop star Beyoncé’s lauded performance at the famed Coachella music festival in April further energized her and showed her that nothing “can stand in the way of a woman and her hustle to the top.”
The show was a signal for her to go full steam ahead with an 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, Winfield said.
“I’m always on the go and with me drinking coffee all of the time and putting so much time into coffee, 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 came 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 said 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, and everybody isn’t trustworthy,” she said. “In building a brand, not everyone is going to applaud you.”
With that, Winfield said her advice to young woman who aspire to start their own business is to stay focused and surrounded by 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.”