Black History Month: Hair care entrepreneur Miko Branch on her inspiration

Adam Warner
January 28, 2019 - 4:35 pm

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – Entrepreneurs Miko Branch and her late sister Titi Branch were the brains behind Miss Jessie’s, a hair product line that has become a go-to for people with curly hair.

Their inspiration was their late grandmother, Jessie Mae Branch – the most “tell-it-like-it-is” woman and the “cookinist” woman in Poughkeepsie.

The Branch sisters came from a mixed race background – their father was African American and their mother was Asian American – so their hair had some challenges. “Miss Jessie,” as their grandmother was known, had just the answer. She shared her homemade recipes with them on their summer visits to Poughkeepsie.

“She made it her business to make sure we got special treatment that she could make at her kitchen table, like mayonnaise and molasses and a little bit of egg, just to make sure our hair was cared for,” Branch said.

Miko Branch
1010 WINS

The Branch sisters were inspired by those recipes at their salon business in Fort Greene, Brooklyn – an endeavor that expanded to 25 stores. One day they got a call from Target. The two sisters went to the retail chain’s headquarters in Minneapolis for a meeting.

“The woman said, ‘I know who you are, I know the special products you’re making,’ and she said, ‘I want to order everything.’ And with a handshake we became multimillionaires,” Branch said.  

Miss Jessie passed away in December 2001, but her legacy lives on through the recipes she inspired that are helping curly haired people of all backgrounds everywhere.