When it comes to beauty and business, Purple Peach Nail Bar and Purple Peach Energy Drink owner/creator, Gia Winfield, is on top of her game. Her Baltimore-based, full service nail salon and energy drink companies are 100% black owned and operated. Why is that relevant? Because according to data published in a study by Statista, in 2017, approximately $8.53 billion was generated by the nail salon industry. Another study published by Nielsen indicates that African-Americans currently make up 14% of the United States population but hold $1.2 trillion in spending dollars power. Those Black dollars are spent on a variety of consumer goods and services, which include but are not limited to beauty products and services, and refrigerated and shelf stable juices and beverages.
It’s no secret that African-American and Hispanic women do love their manicures and pedicures, but don’t have many options of getting their “nail salon needs” met in shops run by women who look like them. Shouldn’t the biggest spenders be able to recoup some of that capital back into their communities? That’s where Gia comes in. She’s pioneering the industry and she’s leading the way, in true entrepreneurial spirit.
We talked for a few minutes about everything from her humble beginning, to upcoming nail trends.
I had a few questions and she gave all the answers. Here’s what she had to say:
DON DIVA: A lot of nail salons in urban areas like Philly, NYC and Baltimore are owned and run by all non-black staffs. What made you decide to open a black owned nail salon in an otherwise, non-black dominated industry?
GIA WINFIELD: I’ve been in the fashion industry for a while, since I was a teenager. I love fashion. I love everything about the nail industry and that’s basically what prompted me to go into the fashion world. As far as the nail industry, I love everything about nails. I love color. I love glitter, the shapes and things like that. That kind of made me interested in wanting to go to school for nail artistry. I was working in the field since I was 14. I took an apprenticeship with a guy that ran a very popular nail salon in Queens. One of the workers worked for Diddy. That nail salon was very trendy and very fast paced. I saw a lot of celebrities come through there, so that took my liking as well. Basically, I opened up my own nail salon when I was 18. That was in Queens. I had that salon until I was 24. I sold it and then I came to Baltimore. It was called The Purple Peach as well.
DD: They’re two very different types of businesses. How did you go from opening a nail shop to creating the first black owned energy drink?
GW: I get this question all the time. What prompted me into creating my own energy drink is that I’m always on the run. I was thinking of something that was a little more creative than what other people were doing to stand out. Since I drink coffee a lot, I was thinking “Well, hey. Why don’t I create an energy drink? No one is doing that.” I didn’t know what it took to create an energy drink until I started to get into the making of it. I had to get a chemist, and sample flavorings, and colorings and things of that nature. I wanted it only for my customers within my nail bar, but fortunately, it went out into the night clubs and they liked it. I got into the distributing part of it. Now it’s in night clubs and liquor stores. It’s a straight energy drink and the great thing about it that sets it from the rest is that it’s a six-hour time release so there’s no crash with this energy drink. There’s less sugar and salt. So you’re getting this great energy drink that you can either sip on its own or mix in a cocktail.
DD: What’s been the biggest obstacle in your journey as an entrepreneur?
GW: This is a man’s world. That was my biggest obstacle. Going to the table and meeting other entrepreneurs and they’re looking at me like. “You’re just a Black woman. You know, you got a product but we’re not looking at you seriously because you’re a Black woman.” My biggest obstacle was breaking those barriers down.
DD: Being an owner of multiple businesses, you must be very busy. What’s a day look like for you, from start to finish
GW: Busy. Always on the phone or multi-tasking with something.
DD: How has the experience of opening your own businesses empowered you? What have you learned from your experiences?
GW: Time. You gotta make time for everything. Time is very crucial and you can’t get time back. Also, building relationships that make sense.
DD: What advice or resources do you recommend to young black people that want to set out on the path to entrepreneurship?
GW: For one, stay in school. Get your degrees. Build your credit. You must keep your credit good in order to get funding and lending from different out sources [and] for you to open up a business. Also, keep positive people around you. You want to keep people like-minded like yourself in your circle because those are the ones that are going to push you. I always go by this saying: “You are the company that you keep”
DD: Whats some nail trends we should look out for in summer and fall of 2018?
GW: I’d say different color acrylics. Different color glitters [and] ombres. Sculpting, a lot of sculpting. The new hottest trend that my salon is doing now, that no salon in Baltimore is doing, is polygel. Polygel is very popular in California. We’re doing that in Baltimore. I learned the technique. It’s less fumes. It’s very light. It’s very quick. It isn’t harsh on the nail bed. This is for natural nails.
DD: What’s next for you? Where do you go from here and what can we expect to see from you in the future?
GW: I am thinking of branching out. A Purple Peach Nail Bar chain. Also, I’m going to create a sugar free energy drink. The one I have now, it isn’t sugar free, but it’s low in sugar. A lot of my customers are asking do I have a sugar free one. That’s what I’ll be working on. I want to do more conferences, just to bring the awareness to Black entrepreneurs, especially Black women that would like become entrepreneurs.
DD: Before we wrap up, do you have anything else you would like to add or say?
GW: I just [want to] give advice to the young Black women, especially the girls that are growing up today. Stay focused and never lose hope. Don’t let anybody [down] your dreams. Keep your dreams alive.
Word on the street is that is that even a few reality television stars are sipping on Gia’s beverages. An insider from her camp shared, “Celebrities such as Mariah Lynn (VH1’s Love & Hip Hop New York), and model/former TV personality, Deelishis, covet the fun and sexy drink!” If you’re looking for a place to step your energy and nail game up while you’re down in Baltimore, go get your first (or next) 100% Black owned nail salon experience at the Purple Peach Nail Bar. While you wait, enjoy one of her Purple Peach energy infused cocktails while you let Gia and her crew get your “game back tight,” next time you’re in town.
Don’t forget, tell them Don Diva sent you!
Follow Purple Peach Nail Bar via Instagram @purplepeachnailbar and Purple Peach Energy Drink @purplepeachenergydrink. For more info, visit the websites for each: www.thepurplepeachnailbar.com and www.purplepeachenerydrink.com