cover image Miss Jessie’s: Creating a Successful Business from Scratch—Naturally

Miss Jessie’s: Creating a Successful Business from Scratch—Naturally

Miko Branch. Amistad, $24.99 (258p) ISBN 978-0-06-232918-9

This cheerful, encouraging entrepreneurial account from Miss Jessie’s co-creator Branch details the creation and growth of the natural hair-care business, sprinkled with inspirational nuggets for would-be entrepreneurs. Raised by a Japanese mother, an African-American father, and a “Southern-belle grandmother,” Branch and her sister Titi (who died in 2014 at age 45) grew up without much money, but were determined to create an independent, successful life for themselves. She goes on to tell the story of their childhood and of her time in hair school in the early 1990s. With the natural-hair movement just beginning, Branch saw an open space in the market. She and her sister started in a single room in a brownstone and worked their way up to launching their famous line of Miss Jessie’s hair-care products, named for their beloved grandmother. Interspersed throughout are life and business lessons, which are generally inspirational rather than prescriptive: “You don’t need money to transform an industry. You don’t even need privileges or contacts.” Branch’s peppy tone and passion for her topic make this an energetic and positive read, and by the time the sisters ace their historic meeting with Target, securing nationwide distribution and the future of their business, readers will cheer right along with them. Agent: Carol Mann, Carol Mann Agency. (Apr.)