Moving Flint Forward with 1:Eleven
It’s been 13 years since Miracle McGlown first learned to sew while incarcerated. In the years that followed, the Flint native was granted clemency from former President Barack Obama, returned home, and put his skills into use as the founder of 1:Eleven Leather Goods, a business specializing in bespoke handbags.
Miracle sells his products online and in the recently reopened Shops on Saginaw in downtown Flint. His is one of the businesses selected for the latest round of Moving Flint Forward, a grant program from General Motors and the Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance that supports revitalization efforts in Flint by strengthening local businesses.
In Miracle’s case, he used his grant funding to purchase materials for his products and start trademarking his business. The funding also paid for tools that allow him to work on his products from home after his usual workshop, the Factory Two makerspace, has closed for the day.
“I have a day job that I work from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” he says. “And then I work on my products until 10 or 12 each night. I don’t get a lot of sleep, but it’s exciting for me. I love that I’m able to do this here.”
He adds that the Moving Flint Forward has provided more than just funding for his business.
“It’s been huge for me – not just financially but motivationally,” he says. “I can call people like Tracy Joseph (of the Economic Alliance’s Small Business Help Desk) and get advice on what I can do to get to the next level.”
Looking forward, Miracle notes that one thing will stay the same regardless of how big 1:Eleven gets—a limited run number for each design “If someone purchases a bag from me, they will know it’s one of just 11 of its kind.”
To learn more about 1:Eleven, visit 1elevenleather.com.