There’s More to Miko Branch than Miss Jessie’s and Beautiful Hair
Miko Branch is CEO and creative director of the successful hair-care products company, Miss Jessie’s LLC, which she co-founded with her late sister, Titi Branch.
The sisters, with a Japanese mother and African-American father, learned as children how to deal with what they describe as “wildcurly hair,” taking note of how their paternal grandmother, Jessie Mae Branch, concocted products in her kitchen to help tame her granddaughters’ multi-textured hair.
As young women, Miko and Titi founded Miss Jessie’s Hair Salon in Brooklyn and it immediately became the go-to place for women of all ethnicities who wanted expert care for their naturally curly hair. The hair salon became the birthplace of Miss Jessie’s hair products, which has names such as Curly Pudding, Coily Custard, Pillow Soft Curls, Baby Buttercreme and MultiCultural Curls for people with a wide range of curly and kinky hair textures.
Miko’s 2015 book, "Miss Jessie's - Creating a Successful Business from Scratch...NATURALLY," became a best seller, and the stunning author became a media star in addition to a successful businesswomen. The book is a delightful combination of business guide and memoir that intertwines touching family stories with hair care tips and business advice as it showcases the resiliency, determination and independence of both Miko and Titi as they built their business from the ground up. The book is now available in paperback.
In the midst of travel to Paris with her son, Miko took time to respond to a few questions from BeGeorgeous.
BeGeorgeous: Miko, what are you passionate about?
Miko: Living my best life! My sister Titi unexpectedly died more than two years ago. I thought that there was so much life left in her, and it was a wakeup call for me. Be grateful for the time that we have. Nothing is promised. And so now, I wake up every morning feeling excited and loving every minute of my life.
BeGeorgeous: What has been your greatest challenge?
Miko: I do not think that I am unique, but I struggle with finding a meaningful balance with everything in my life. I have a business, a son, a family, and my own needs as well as trying to have a love life. That is a lot of competition for my time and attention. So, my challenge is taking care of everything and everyone else while also taking care of myself.
BeGeorgeous: What has been your greatest achievement so far?
BeGeorgeous: What makes you angry?
Miko: DISHONESTY. It is so unnecessary. If we cannot own what we say or do, then we should not say or do certain things. It is so much better to be truthful. Who can be upset about the truth?
BeGeorgeous: What gives you joy?
Miko: A content and happy son, good/positive people in my life and a safe environment free of chaos. I also enjoy making others happy.
BeGeorgeous: What inspires you?
Miko: Life. I was given a wonderful life and I am fascinated by all aspects of it. I tend to be inspired by life’s circumstances and experiences, whether it be my own or others, as a tool to create something new with a Miko twist. I am also inspired by the desire to grow and change. The willingness to learn and discover life motivates me to come up with something unique and new.
BeGeorgeous: Miko, it is widely known that your sister Titi suffered from depression and her death in 2014 was reported as a suicide. What do you feel that we as mothers and sisters and aunts and girlfriends can do to help the women in our lives deal with depression and other mental illnesses?
Miko: We must continue to love and support our loved ones who are suffering from depression and mental illness. Support can come in so many forms, including: constantly talking about it, patience, understanding, seeking more education via the internet, books and publications, and talking to others who may be depressed. Normalizing the subject of depression makes your loved one feel more accepted. These are just a few ways to help someone that you care about. But the biggest way to be supportive of someone suffering from depression is LOVE. If all else fails, I believe an overabundance of love will do wonders.
BeGeorgeous: If you had a chance to do something over again, what would that be?
Miko: I would have been more aware and willing to learn more about mental illness and health during my sister’s lifetime. I believe my full understanding and support of my sister’s illness could have made a difference in her life.