How Two Sisters Went From Failure To Shaping The Natural Hair Movement – Forbes

Miss Jessie’s

Miko Branch in her salon.

Miko Branch was destined to be an entrepreneur. From a young age she and her sister Titi were dreaming and creating with their grandmother, Miss Jessie, in her kitchen. And their father taught them to be strong and to take every opportunity they could.

“He came from the civil rights era so he saw freedom not only in our ability to do what we want to do, but he also thought that us being free in our minds was so important,” Miko said. “By the time we were in our 20s, it wasn’t a foreign concept for Titi and I to be entrepreneurs because our dad thought that being an employee was not for us.”

Years later, the company they built together, Miss Jessie’s, revolutionized the hair care industry for women with curly, kinky and wavy hair. But even though it feels destined now, building Miss Jessie’s wasn’t easy.

In 1997 the sisters combined Miko’s talent for hair with Titi’s communication skills and opened their first salon in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Customers poured in.

“When we first started out we actually specialized in straight hair,” Miko said.

As their client base grew, the two-chair salon started to feel small. So the sisters decided to move to a six chair salon up the street. “We didn’t take the time to plan that move we were just flush with our own success and we were really focused on growing,” Miko said.

When that salon failed after less than a year, they kept the business running from their home. “Luckily we purchased a Brownstone in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn in 1999 and at the time, in ‘99, Bed-Stuy was known as the hood and it was also not known as the beauty capital.”