georgia founders
Photo: Courtesy of Georgia
Four years ago Jodie Patterson, then a public relations executive, saw a documentary on black women's haircare and was struck by its overriding message: Though black women are big spenders when it comes to haircare and styling products, they're rarely satisfied with what they get for their money. Make that often dissatisfied. Wow, that's me, thought Patterson. Being the kind of woman who likes to make things happen ("She's a can-do person," says her friend and business partner, Kiara Ellozy), Patterson teamed up with Ellozy to create a salon experience and line of products that would give black women the luxury they'd been missing. That's how their small (two-chair) salon, Georgia (, on Manhattan's Lower East Side, was born. Here are a few pieces of wisdom they're glad to share:

1. What has been the biggest complaint with the salon experience for black women?

Patterson: Often the moment a black client walks into a salon, she's made to feel that there's something wrong with her hair that the stylist has to fix. That can be very demeaning.

2. What have you learned from your clients?

Patterson: Ask any woman what her problem with her hair is, and I guarantee she'll tell you "frizz," whether her hair is curly or straight or smooth. In the world of haircare, frizz is the catchword for "Help me!"

3.How do you work things out when you two disagree?

Ellozy: We disagree all the time, which is what you get with two strong-willed, passionate women working together. But we don't compromise. One of us usually gives in...knowing that we'll get our way the next time around.

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