When I received a press release detailing the setup of Gia Winfield’s Purple Peach Nail Bar in Old Goucher, I was struck by just how much was packed into the salon’s description: “With a trendy, upscale Mediterranean ambiance, all services at The Purple Peach Nail Bar are accompanied by complimentary wine, hookah, and libations mixed with the nail bar’s signature energy drink.”
Nails. Hookah. Wine. A signature energy drink. What was this place?
As it turns out, that wasn’t even half the story. As I’d learn over the course of a mani-pedi, entrepreneur Winfield thrives on seemingly incongruous projects. Though she got her start as a teenage nail artist in New York City, she now owns not only the Purple Peach Nail Bar, but the Purple Peach energy drink (the first to be owned and operated by an African-American woman), a chain of assisted living facilities, a forthcoming rehabilitation program for individuals with psychiatric issues, and a methadone clinic.
If it all seems a bit random, well, it is. But Winfield says her entrepreneurial choices all come down to two basic principles: meeting a need and helping her community.
“My passion is the nail industry, but the healthcare industry is a calling,” she says. “It’s a drive, it has to be a passion. I always wanted to help people and when I started to get older and saw a lot of my friends losing their lives from drugs and things of that nature, seeing that epidemic, I had to do something.”
She switches easily from this type of frank, serious discussion to a rundown of nail trends and styles of acrylics (the salon’s specialty – try the Poly Gel). Her passions are divergent but equal, rivaled only by her overarching interest in entrepreneurship.
“One thing that was instilled in me at a young age when I was moving into entrepreneurship was that if you’re around four broke people, you’re the fifth,” she says. “I have to be in a circle with those that are like myself, because there is no conversation that we can have if I’m dealing with an individual that doesn’t have the mindframe of trying to get somewhere in their life.”
It seems harsh, but Winfield is already working on a sugar-free version of her energy drink, which has been peddled by reality stars and has field-tested well in local clubs, and is also planning the expansion of the Nail Bar into multiple locations. As she’s fond of saying on her Instagram, “let the work speak for itself.”