Miko Branch is a woman about business. The Miss Jessie’s hair care line co-founder is a woman about love, about family and about her roots and edges (in every sense), which is why she is successful in business.
Black women continue to start their own businesses at higher rates than any other group in the U.S., and Branch has a simple piece of advice for her sisters joining the entrepreneurship game: Speak when you see one another.
“I encourage us all to say hello, and introduce yourself,” Branch said in a recent interview with BrassyBrown.
For years now, Branch has been dedicated to sharing the lessons she and her sister, Titi, learned and the wisdom gleaned from their grandmother, Miss Jessie– the namesake of her company.
They wrote it all down in a book entitled, “Miss Jessie’s: Creating a Successful Business from Scratch– Naturally”.
As children, Branch and her sister would spend time with their grandmother as she cooked and created delicious dishes from scratch.
“When I think about my grandmother, Miss Jessie, I think about strength. See, my grandmother was a very independent-minded woman. She was a do-it-yourself woman. She was extremely feisty, highly opinionated, very loving, very talented,” Branch described.
“My grandmother was also the first CEO that I’d ever laid eyes on,” Branch said. “She ruled our family from her kitchen table.”
When the Branch sisters decided to begin their own venture, they always asked themselves, “What would Jessie do?”
Asking and answering that question has gotten Branch far. She and Titi built the Miss Jessie’s empire “from scratch” with no loans, no angel investors, no real contacts, but with their “God-given talent,” the understanding that they were beauty and hair industry influencers and the knowledge about natural hair that others simply didn’t have.
“The large message in this book is that if we can do it, you can do it, too,” Branch said.
The award-winning innovator knows what it means to be successful, and her definition of success has changed over the years, she explained.
“Right now success means happiness. It means wellness. It means good health. It means family, and it means allowing myself to do the things that I really want to do. And that’s separate and apart from money. And that’s separate and apart from fame or accolades or awards,” Branch said.
“If I didn’t have a dime or if I didn’t have anyone to call my name in recognition for something that I did, I would be thoroughly satisfied with that short list of important factors that mean success to me.”
Getting a shout-out from Facebook’s own Sheryl Sandberg would be success to some, and it was Facebook (and her sister) which helped Branch find love… again.
Recently, Branch has reunited with the first boy she ever kissed. He was her first boyfriend at age 13, but they lost touch and didn’t see each other for 27 years.
He was in California, and they were spending eight hours a day on FaceTime.
“I said, ‘You know what? This is killing me. I’ve got to get out there.’ I couldn’t touch her,” he said.
They were friends for eight years and have been an item for the last year and a half.
“I wasn’t planning on it,” Branch explained. “I was going through a lot. I think my approach to anything that I’ve ever wanted in life is just to put it out there and let the universe know that this is something that I want, and most of the time I get it.”
Proof that women (and yes, black women included) can have it all? Ms. Miko Branch.
It’s possible to build an empire, find love and maintain your natural, curly/kinky coils— which naturalistas know is quite an undertaking in and of itself.
Branch, who helped launch one of the premier, quality haircare lines for natural and curly hair, is real about the transition process, saying that it’s “daunting” and “can be expensive.” She’s a hairstylist first and explains that a sew-in can be one easy, no-fuss option to transition from processed to natural hair.
And yes, even Branch rocks sew-ins from time to time and she admits that even she has bad hair days sometimes, y’all.
“Hair is an accessory. You can do whatever you want to do with your hair. It doesn’t mean that I’m a bad person. It doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person if you want to wear a sew-in or your hair straight. I encourage everyone to look at hair that way. It’s really not that serious.”
Love your hair. Love your life. Love your love. Remember, it’s not that serious.
Thank you for the reminder, Miko.