Miko Branch and her late sister Titi Branch are the co-founders of one of the most recognized natural hair care products, Miss Jessie’s. But while the jars of Baby Buttercreme and tubes of Coily Custard are now readily found on Target shelves across the United States, that wasn’t always the case.
The two siblings initially began mixing up moisturizing products on Titi Branch’s kitchen table. They opened a salon in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in 1997 before their hair products were put up for sale in 2004.
“My big break came when we got an anonymous call from a third party that told us Target wanted Miss Jessie’s on shelves,” the CEO explains to Atlanta Black Star. “At first we didn’t believe them because we didn’t see a ‘Target.com’ on the end of this person’s name so we thought that this call might have been bogus, but the good news is they kept calling.”
By the third time the anonymous representative called, Titi Branch asked where the meeting would be held. Soon, the sisters bought “the most expensive plane ticket” to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Target is headquartered. Rather than the Branch sisters having to pitch for the retail giant’s executives, the 10 people in the conference room already had a plan for them.
“Luckily, when we got to that meeting … they interrupted us and let us know, ‘we know exactly who you are and we want to order everything.’ So with a handshake and a couple of smiles, Titi and I became multi-millionaires,” Miko Branch recalled.
Today, Miss Jessie’s, which is named after the Branch sisters’ grandmother, is sold not only in Target but big-box retailers like Walmart, drug stores like CVS and Walgreens, as well as various beauty supply stores.
And while there are lots of competiting products on the natural hair care aisles in the present, Miko Branch previously told ABS that she and her sister’s company was among the first to put such items up for sale.
“You have to understand, Titi and I are pioneers, we are the first,” she said in November 2017. “Being the first, it has its joys, but it also has its challenges. Later on, when the competitors come, you have to keep up that momentum.”
The company has done that by continuing to introduce new products to keep curls, kinks and coils quenched. They include an extra-strength, flake-free edge control and a honey-based styler that moisturizes curls and locks in the shape of them.