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

FLINT, MI – His day usually starts at 6:30 a.m. working at City of Flint Street Maintenance, cleaning the streets and paving.

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

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

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

Before 2008, he was on the streets, around the bad guys, which eventually led to a 20-year prison sentence for drug conspiracy.

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

“I bring a new look to fashion,” he said.

The term “1:11” has a meaning as a sign of angelic advice that means a chapter in your life is ending, and you are ready for something brand new. McGlown formed a close relationship with God while he was in prison and gave it to him for his turn.

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His birthday also falls on January 11.

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

Everything from sewing the leather to hole punching was taught, with no sewing machine.

“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 into class, but if they saw you were taking things seriously, you were more likely to get in.”

McGlown discovered his talent when he started making bags, put his own style in it, and attracted the attention of his teacher.

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

In prison, McGlown made a bag for her daughter, and created her name “Leilani” in the middle.

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

After he became a free man, McGlown started making bags for just his family, and then he expanded to sell bags to various people.

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This month, she held her website’s grand opening inside Flint’s Comma Bookstore & Social Hub, showing off her bags.

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

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

Flint is known for a high crime rate and poor economic development. McGlown wandered the streets of Flint for years, with no direction, and no path to success.

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

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

When Obama granted McGlown on January 17, 2017, he held the record for the most use of the power in a single day, granting 330 commutations, during his last day in office.

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

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

“Fourth quarter, last second of 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 his non-profit 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 more than 100 bags made in his life, the best is yet to come.

“My best ideas come when I’m lying in bed,” McGlown said.

Follow the McGlown Company online at 1elevenleather.com.

Read more The Flint Journal:

Local charities offer free clothing to the Flint community

Two Flint sisters meet privately with Pope Francis

Local charities offer free clothing to the Flint community

Parade, fireworks will take place in celebration of Linden holiday

Volunteers were looking to drop off flowers at Great Lakes National Cemetery

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