The stores were segregated, with ethnic products in one place and other products for curly hair in another. There was no in between.

Wendi Levy, the daughter of an African-American mother and a Jewish father, had long shared her frustration.

So Etheredge and Levy decided to create their own hair product line -- products that would appeal to women of all ethnicities. Two years later, they launched Mixed Chicks. Their tag line is 'Are you tired of defining our race rather than our curls?'

They plan to add other products to the line and currently are working on a shampoo.

Both women have traveled a long path to their current venture. Levy, 36, grew up in Atlantic City.

She has been doing hair since she was 7, learning about ethnic products from her mother.

Levy began combining products, mixing hairdressing grease with mousse, leave-in conditioner, 'with a touch of Dippity Do.' She was changing the mixture all the time.

Etheredge, 34, was born in New York and raised in Culver City, Calif.. She recalls growing up in a condominium complex with many multiracial neighbors.

She spent years straightening her hair with a blowdryer. She keep her hair under control using a combination of Aqua Net and Dippity Do.

Now a public relations consultant for NFL player Terrell Owens and R&B artist Keith Sweat, she spent many years as a television production coordinator, working on numerous sitcoms, talk shows and pilots.

After moving to California four years ago to pursue a career in the music industry, she met Etheredge.

The two women began experimenting with products.

So they did some research, found a good chemist and brought some of their favorite products. It took five trips back to the lab before they found the perfect concoction -- 'a little of this, a little of that.' Their curly friends served as guinea pigs. But even their straight-haired friends have become fans.