By Chelsea Grant.
With March being women’s history month, it only seemed fitting to honor one of the most influential female entrepreneurs currently manning the helms of a multimillion dollar company. In the early 2000’s, Miko Branch and her late sister Titi Branch saw an avenue unexplored, and pioneered the age of hair products dedicated to the curl! You’re darn right; we’re talking Miss Jessie’s!
Since their debut in 2004, Miss Jessie’s has become a household name, extending beyond it’s salon in Soho to national distribution including retail giants such as Target and Walmart.
Last month Miko Branch, Co-Founder and CEO of Miss Jessie’s and New York Times Best Selling Co-Author of Miss Jessie’s: Creating a Successful Business from Scratch—Naturally, sat down with our VP of Marketing Chelsea Grant for an intimate conversation on being a female CEO and remaining a dominant player in the hair care industry.
Resident Magazine: What made you and your late sister Titi decide to start Miss Jessie’s?
Guest: We started Miss Jessie’s as a response to a need in the market. We discovered that many women, particularly with an African heritage had a tighter coiled kink, which is also known as a curl, needed to be serviced.
RM: Is there anyone in your family that you have drawn strength or inspiration from?
Miko Branch: The two women in my family that I have drawn strength from would be my sister Titi Branch and my grandmother Jessie May Branch. My grandmother Jessie May Branch was the first female CEO that I had ever seen. Titi was my older sister, I learned so much from my sister in business and I know as a human being there was so many qualities and traits in her that I thought were valuable and worth emulating.
RM: What was the most powerful moment you had as a female entrepreneur?
Miko Branch: As a female entrepreneur, there was a moment that I realized I had to be accountable for my end of the partnership with my sister Titi Branch. And as we got more immersed in our business I realized that I needed to play a larger role in order to make sure we succeeded in business.
RM: Have you ever been in the situation where your business expertise or credentials were down played maybe because you were a woman?
Miko Branch: My business expertise and my credentials as a woman were a plus and it helped me very much because I chose beauty as my business. In my mind, I felt like I had more advantage over any man in the beauty industry.
RM: How does Miss Jessie’s stay in the fore front if there are so many other competitors that are popping up now?
Miko Branch: Now that Miss Jessie’s has plenty of competitors, it is very important that Miss Jessie’s stays true to our brand. They focus more on what the needs are and we try not to be too occupied to what our competitors are doing, because many of them are doing what we’ve already done.
RM: Who is the average Miss Jessie’s client?
Miko Branch: In this present day and age, it is anyone that has curly, kinky or wavy hair. Miss Jessie’s has been around the early 2000’s and I think the word has gotten out effectively that we are great solution makers for people who have certain issues or certain challenges with curly or kinky hair.
RM: For female entrepreneurs who want to start their own business in hair care or any other business, what advice do you have for them?
Miko Branch: I encourage any female who is interested in starting a business to research as much as she can. I find women are special creatures and tend to be multi-taskers, and we tend to really have this gut, this eternal compass that leads up in the right direction.
Miss Jessie’s products can be found online at MissJessies.com and in Target stores across the country. The Miss Jessie’s Salon is located on 441 Broadway, New York, NY 10013.