From prison to entrepreneur, Miracle McGlown is an inspiration for Flint

FLINT, MI – His day usually starts at 6:30 am working at the City of Flint Street Maintenance, cleaning up the streets and pavement.

His day usually ends around 11 pm, hand-crafting luggage, purses, shoulder straps, wallets and more.

His name is Miracle McGlown — a Flint native that received a “miracle” clemency from former President Barack Obama that allowed him to pursue his dreams.

The soft-spoken McGlown, 41, has lived two different lives.

Prior to 2008, he was in the streets, around the wrong people, which ultimately led to a 20-year prison sentence for conspiracy of drugs.

After his release in 2008, McGlown got his life together, started working and most recently launched his own website, 1:Eleven, where he said the quality can’t be found anywhere else.

“I’m bringing a fresh look to fashion,” he said.

The term “1:11″ has a meaning as a sign of angelic guidance that means one chapter of your life is ending, and you are ready for something brand new. McGlown formed a close relationship with God while in prison and credits him for his turnaround.

His birthday also falls on January 11.

McGlown’s journey to entrepreneurship started in prison. He was offered to take a hobby craft class around 2011, teaching the basics of making belts.

Everything from stitching the leather and punching the holes was taught, with no sewing machines.

“It’s just one of those things where I took a negative and turned it into a positive,” he said. “It was hard to get in the class, but if they saw you were taking things seriously, it was more likely you would get in.”

McGlown discovered his talent when he started to make purses, putting his own style to it, and caught the attention of his teacher.

“My teacher started laughing and said you got it,” he said.

In prison, McGlown made a bookbag for his daughter and designed her name “Leilani” in the middle of it.

“Everyone from the prisoners to the guards asked ‘How did you do that?’” he said.

After becoming a free man, McGlown started making bags for just his family, and then it expanded to selling bags to various people.

This month, he held the grand opening of his website inside of Flint’s Comma Bookstore & Social Hub, showcasing his bags.

Crafting a bag can take up to three weeks, but a double-patched bag takes McGlown roughly three months to make.

“I’m designing bags no one has seen before,” he said.

Flint is known for a high crime rate and poor economic development. McGlown roamed the streets of Flint for many years, with no direction, and did not have a path of success.

In many ways, serving time in the FCI Elkton prison in Ohio saved his life by getting him off the street.

“I never had a job in my life,” he said.

When Obama gave clemency to McGlown on Jan. 17, 2017, it holds the record for the largest single-day use of the clemency power, granting 330 commutations, during his last full day in office.

He wrote Obama a letter about 50 times and was denied twice.

McGlown saw the news on CNN, and the warden asked if he wanted to accept the clemency.

“Fourth quarter, last second on the clock, I put my faith in God as always,” he said.

As a father of three to Nevaeh, Leilani and Miracle Jr., McGlown supports his wife Dominique Strong through her nonprofit Umo Strong Marshall Outreach in any way he can.

When he finally puts his head down after 11 pm, that’s when the creative genius actually begins.

With over 100 bags made in his life, the best is yet to come.

“My best ideas happen when I’m laying in bed,” McGlown said.

Follow McGlown’s online company at 1elevenleather.com.

Read more at The Flint Journal:

Local charity offers free clothing to give back to Flint community

Two Flint Sisters meet privately with Pope Francis

Local charity offers free clothing to give back to Flint community

Parade, fireworks set to take place at Linden holiday celebration

Volunteers sought to lay wreaths at Great Lakes National Cemetery

Leave a Comment