For many black or mixed ethnicity women looking for natural care for curly hair, Miss Jessie’s was the perfect solution. The New York based salon was opened by the two sisters, Titi and Miko Branch, who themselves are of mixed ethnicity.
With a Japanese mother and African American father, the two women have unique hair that caused them problems when trying to find a salon that could cater for them. This led them develop techniques in order style their own hair. These skills led them to open Curve Salon, later renamed Miss Jessie’s – a business that lasted one decade.
“It was from the salon that I really learned and understood what women with naturally curly hair really need and want,” said Titi Branch.
The salon also acted as a laboratory for the products that the sisters developed, such as their Curly Pudding, Curly Meringue and Baby Buttercreme. The salon provided clients with the treatment from the sisters’ silkener product – a relaxer that makes hair more manageable rather than completely straightening hair.
The salon closed on July 2, 2007, with rumors that there were problems between the two sisters; Miko Branch had left to work in DC shortly before the closure. As Miko had been responsible for styling, while Titi was the managing director and in charge of selling products, the salon was unable to continue running.
The closure of the salon caused upset to many of the sisters’ clients. Due to the uniqueness of silkening, those requiring a touchup were unable to receive one, as other salons are not licensed to provide this treatment.
Titi Branch commented that the closure was due to unexpected issues and the decision had been a “difficult one.” She promised that they would be sharing their styling techniques, including shingling, twist sets, silkening and finger-styling, through classes and symposiums for stylists across the country. Later, she also announced the plans to open a new salon in Prospect Heights, within the following months.
It was three years before the sisters finally resolved their differences and opened a new salon, this time in Soho. The new salon is very different to the original, which was a small room below the sisters’ apartment. Large, sophisticated and decorated with chandeliers, the atmosphere reflects the top of the range and expensive hair care with which Miss Jessie’s provides its customers.
But, all of that does not matter now. With the sales and outstanding branding of their product line, they are unstoppable.