Team kHinky got the chance to hear the CEO and co-founder of Miss Jessie’s, Miko Branch talk about entrepreneurship along with her new book, ‘How to Start a Business from Scratch- Naturally’ at the 92nd Street Y last Thursday.
Natural hair women, women wanting to learn how to go natural themselves, small business owners, entrepreneurs, Miss Jessie’s patrons and Miko Branch admirers filled the room where Cat Greenleaf, host of NBC’s ‘Talk Stoop’ interviewed Ms. Branch about her proliferating business and what it took to get there. With a crown of curls and an elegant yet strong aura, it’s no challenge to see how Miko executes in her business all while remaining graceful. Clad in a black dress with a pop of orange on her Hermes wrist bracelet, Miko shared inside business tips that covered topics ranging from how she markets Miss Jessie’s in a saturated natural hair market to how to handle business roles with a family member. Never letting us forget that her older sister Titi, who recently passed away, was an integral part in the Miss Jessie’s business, Miko shared with the audience how it was Titi who had the sharp business mind in the beginning stages of Miss Jessie’s that kept Miko on point. It was clear to see how much influence the Branch family had on the creation of Miss Jessie’s.
It’s known that Miss Jessie’s is named after her grandmother, but we were all surprised when Miko informed the audience that she was accompanied by her son, Faison, whom she accredits for helping her spark the idea of creating Miss Jessie’s during bath time when she could not keep her hair straight and wanted a solution for curly haired women. “Back in the 2000s there were no curly puddings on the shelf; Titi and I had to create them ourselves,” said Miko. Miko continued to give props to her family when she mentioned the aesthetic influences of her Japanese mother and attributed the cultural influences of the Black Power movement in the 70s to her father who used to pick out Miko and Titi’s afros with the iconic hair pick with a fist at the end. Both Mr. and Mrs. Branch were present as they proudly watched their daughter speak on behalf of her business. Mr. Branch even gave a proud father speech that got both Miko and the audience teary-eyed. Growing up in Queens, New York also influenced Miko and Titi’s business. After moving from a predominately black neighborhood to Whitestone, the sisters witnessed a theme of isolation among the girls at school which helped them realize that they needed to create a product and use a language that spoke to all types of women. They wanted to speak to the women who accepted their natural hair as well as the women who had pain rooted with their curls, kinks and waves due to societal or personal reasons.
Today, Miss Jessie’s is one of the top products in the natural hair industry. When asked if Miss Jessie’s products will evolve as Miko evolves as a woman, she smartly replied “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…but I may have some more products coming.” We’re definitely here for it, Miko!
So what’s next for Miko Branch? She would like to retire at the golden age of 50, go clubbing with a
boyfriend and travel with her son; wouldn’t we all love that! But, stay tuned for more projects from this
successful entrepreneur; Miko says that after writing the #MissJessiesBook she has a new found love for
being an author, so make a little space on your bookshelves!
‘How to Start a Business from Scratch- Naturally’, a book written to “influence women to tap into their