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

FLINT, MI – His day usually starts at 6:30 a.m. with the City of Flint doing street maintenance, clearing streets and sidewalks.

Her day usually ends around 11pm, handcrafting luggage, purses, shoulder straps, wallets and more.

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

The soft-spoken McGlone, 41, has led two very different lives.

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

After being released in 2008, McGlone got his life together, started working and recently launched his own website, 1:Eleven, where he says quality can’t be found anywhere else.

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

The term “1:11” means a sign of angelic guidance that means a chapter in your life is coming to an end and you’re ready for something brand new. McGlone developed a close relationship with God while in prison and credits him for his turnaround.

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His birthday is also January 11.

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

Everything from sewing leather and punching holes is taught, without any sewing machine.

“It was one of those things where I took a negative and turned it into a positive,” he said. “It was hard to get into the class, but if they see you’re taking things seriously, you’ll probably get in.”

McGlone discovered her talent when she started making purses, putting her own style on it and catching the attention of her teacher.

“My teacher started laughing and said, ‘You got it,'” she said.

In prison, McGlone made a book bag for her daughter and designed her name “Leilani” in the middle of it.

He said, from the prisoners to the guards, everyone asked, ‘How did you do that?’

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

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

A bag can take up to three weeks to make, but it takes McGlone about three months to make a double-patched bag.

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

Flint is known for high crime rates and poor economic development. McGlone wandered the streets of Flint for years, with no direction, and no success.

In many ways, spending time at the FCI Elkton prison in Ohio took him off the streets and saved his life.

“I’ve never done anything in my life,” he said.

When Obama granted McGlone clemency on January 17, 2017, it set the record for the largest single-day use of clemency power, granting 330 commutations in his last full day in office.

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

McGlone saw the news on CNN and the warden asked if he wanted to accept the apology.

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

As the father of three children, Nevah, Leilani and Miracle Jr., McGlone supports his wife, Dominique Strong, in any way he can through his non-profit Umo Strong Marshall Outreach.

When he finally puts his head down after 11 p.m., that’s when the creative genius really kicks in.

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

“My best ideas happen when I’m lying in bed,” McGlone said.

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

Read more at Flint Journal:

Local charities provide free clothing to give back to the Flint community

Two Flint sisters meet privately with Pope Francis

Local charities provide free clothing to give back to the Flint community

Parades, fireworks are set to take place in celebration of the linden holiday

Volunteers wanted to lay wreaths at Great Lakes National Cemetery

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