SOUTH LOOP — The two hair care shops in Bronzeville and the South Loop both feature similar organic products, an identical logo and even the same name: Curl Kitchen.
But while they also both have brightly colored storefronts and the same vision for their businesses, they aren't sister shops. In fact, the owners have taken out the legal long knives in a battle over the name and other aspects of the business.
Lizzie Schiffman chats with DNAinfo Radio about the controversey surrounding "Curl Kitchen:"
Peggy Arthur runs the Curl Kitchen at 1926 S. Wabash Ave., and Clare Jackson runs one at 3428 S. King Drive. For months, the two have been fighting over trademarks, logo copyrights and distribution contracts after dissolving their professional relationship and their initial plans to open the hair care business together.
Both say the dispute has cost them money and time and has baffled customers and suppliers alike.
"It's confusing" to customers, said Jackson. "They just think it's cruel, and honestly, I feel the same."
But Arthur blames Jackson for the confusion.
"People come in, and they're like, 'There's two locations?' Then there has to be some type of discussion, or a 'We're not at liberty to speak, it's a legal matter' type of situation, a conversation I don't want to have with customers who come here for a service."
Both Arthur and Jackson agree about the basic details of Curl Kitchen's origin.
The idea came when Arthur, a Kentucky native, visited her longtime friend at Jackson's home in New York City while both were recuperating from breakups. Arthur was getting ready to treat her own hair.
"It happened exactly like that scene in 'Orange is the New Black,'" Jackson said, where a character on the Netflix show improvises while in prison using natural ingredients to make a homemade salve.
"I saw her mixing up some oils, and I was like, 'What are you doing?' And she said, 'I'm mixing oils for my hair,'" Jackson said. "We used to come up with business ideas for fun, because we're both business majors. ... This seemed like a good one."
They decided to try to start a business that would promote natural hair care using local and organic conditioners, oils and other specialty products and hosting workshops and hair care seminars.
Arthur had recently relocated to Chicago. Last year, Jackson, who grew up across the street from her shop in the Lake Meadows Apartments, "moved back so we could start Curl Kitchen together."
But the two had a falling-out and dissolved their professional relationship in the fall.
Nevertheless, in November, Jackson opened her Curl Kitchen on South King Drive. Four months later, Arthur and her mother, Queen, opened their Curl Kitchen at Wabash Avenue and Cullerton Street.
In the ensuing legal battle, Arthur tried to claim rights to the logo design, while Jackson won a temporary restraining order to restrict Arthur's use of the Curl Kitchen name.
According to the Secretary of State's Office, Jackson owns an LLC under the "Curl Kitchen Holdings, Inc." name. Arthur's corporation file lists the entity name as "Truly Natural, Inc.," with Curl Kitchen listed as an "active assumed name" for the company.
Arthur said she has had to triple her workload because of the conflict.
"I have to do more, as in constantly having press, constantly blogging, just so the other name won't surpass ours [online] ... with search engine optimization," she said.
"It takes some hours that could be spent elsewhere. We are going to allow the use of our space to other beauty professionals — for example, a loctician in the neighborhood wants to offer classes here — we would like to be able to use those hours on developing those partnerships instead of this back-and-forth," Arthur said.
Jackson said the two locations have caused the same mix-ups with her customers that Arthur describes.
"They will be like, 'What's up with the one on Wabash? Why is she doing this?'" Jackson said. "A lot of my customers know I've been there since November."
Both women said business has been good, but they think it could be better if they weren't competing with identical brands in a niche market.
A motion to dissolve Jackson's restraining order against Arthur's use of the Curl Kitchen name is set to be considered in chancery court Tuesday.