FLINT, Michigan — Having the means to take an idea and turn it into a reality is a remarkable feat. It’s not one that’s typically done alone either. It takes an entire community of collaborative effort, resources, and support. When it comes to the Flint entrepreneurial community, 100K Ideas
is a big part of that network. Founded in 2017, the group of hobbyists, thinkers, and inventors aims to help passionate innovators create their own products, services, and startups.
The eighth and latest episode in the 100K Client Storytelling series highlights three Flint entrepreneurs — Miracle McGlown of 1:Eleven Leather Goods
, Faith Cummings of International Cuisines
, and Timesha Brown of Mix it Up Spa Bus — as they share their backgrounds and experiences working with 100K Ideas.
1:Eleven Leather Goods
Miracle McGlown dreamed big and bright, even when he was in a dark, dismal place – prison. He hoped and prayed for his business, which started out as making belts and wristbands. While serving a 20-year sentence, McGlown took a leather crafting class in prison. He became inspired, and he started to elevate his craft by creating handbags. He started his company, a handmade leather handbag, wallet, and luggage company called 1:Eleven Leather Goods.
After sales rose, McGlown looked for more funding to expand his business and was connected to 100K Ideas. “It’s a phenomenal program. The greatest thing I can just say about 100K Ideas is that they never miss,” he says.
McGlown won $5,000 in the 100K Ideas pitch competition and says the resources and connections from that have been pivotal.
“Even more than the financial part, it was the networks, plugs, and the people you start meeting during the competition,” he says, “I cherish that type of moment. I met real good people who I'm working with to this day who are really trying to push me forward and put me in the right direction of business.”
As for his business, the designer loves to create something unique by putting his own distinct spin on things. “My plans with 1:Eleven is [that with] every bag, I want it to be one of 11 of its kind,” he says. “That’s my plan – to deliver something you’ve never seen before.”
The entrepreneur is proud to be a part of the ‘rebuilding stage of Flint,’ and growing his network of a creative, collaborative community. He recommends 100K Ideas to anyone with questions or a need for information.
“That’s one of the greatest things that I think as far as building a community can have,” he says, “something like that where anything that you want to know, it’s there to find out. The greatest thing about 100K Ideas is great people. Great energy, I feel great vibrations every time I come through 100K Ideas.”
As for advice for fellow dreamers, McGlown encourages anyone to have the faith to step out on their ideas.
“Whatever you have, whatever you feel, believe in it and go out and get to work and do it,” he says. “If you feel it, you believe in it, do it. It’s as simple as that. Don’t even take no for an answer.”
He hopes to eventually help students with their craft, hire employees, and grow the business.
“The vision just gets bigger and bigger every day,” he says. “I see myself as being one of the most influential and one most decorated designers that you’re probably going to see in the next 5-10 years. I definitely see 1:Eleven as one of the top designers in the world.”
Faith Cummings is the creator and owner of International Cuisines.
A month before graduating from the Mott Community College Culinary Arts Institute, Faith Cummings' business idea went on the fast track when she was approached with a potential building space.
“Being downtown Flint, working down here so much, and meeting everybody, it just seemed like the right place and the right time,” she says. “I am opening a restaurant called Cuisines
, it’s international cuisine, it’s all farm-to-table, local farmers and suppliers. It’s on Dort Highway, it’s the old Aloha Lounge between Court Street and Robert T. Longway.”
Cummings has diverticulosis, and can’t have the skin or seeds of fruits and vegetables. She’s also dairy-free and gluten-free, and can’t have processed meats, which makes eating out at traditional restaurants difficult. Her restaurant will be a safe haven for those with dietary restrictions, and welcoming to everyone.
“Any kind of allergy that you might have, we’re doing gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, a couple of vegan dishes, and it’s an all pork-free facility,” Cummings says. “It’s really family-oriented, so I want it to be for everyone to feel welcome to come in, no matter what race, religion, and no matter what dietary need you might have.”
Each day’s menu of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options will focus on a different region theme, in a fresh, healthy way. Options will include Taco Tuesday, Latin American Wednesday, Asia Thursday, Middle Eastern Friday, and Africa Saturday.
The culinary school grad also hopes to help out fellow foodies and students while they’re in school. “It’s hard when you’re in school to find somebody, especially in the field, to work around a school schedule so that’s one of the main reasons why I’m doing it,” she says.
Participating in the Pitch for K competition, Cummings received $5,000 but also credits the people she met there as invaluable.
“It gave me confidence, people believed in me,” she says. “It was really encouraging to know that the community was behind me in doing something like that. “There are a lot of people in the community that are willing to help, and that is something I did not know in the beginning. I struggled by myself for quite a while through my journey.”
Cummings says the emotional and mental support as well as business support she received from 100K Ideas helped her prepare for the next steps, and draft a plan for success.
“If you don’t have certain knowledge in the business, there’s people that will help you and walk you through it. It’s pretty much free,” she says. “They help you because they want to help, and that’s the best part. They just really want to see you succeed.”
Mix it Up Spa Bus
Timesha Brown is the owner of Mix it Up Spa Bus.
Timesha Brown is a mother of a special needs child. She understands the challenges, extra planning, and unfortunately, the events her family misses out on like many others dealing with the same thing. Brown’s daughter was born prematurely at six months and spent most of her birthdays in the hospital. During the pandemic, the need to shelter her and keep her safe from illness became even more severe.
Brown’s business, Mix it Up Spa Bus, aims to bring the party to the people. The custom-designed bus is suitable for ranging abilities of all kinds. There are different party packages including a spa party with manicures, pedicures, and drinks, a paint party, a build-a-bear, and a sleepover option.
“As far as my spa bus, there’s nothing like it,” Brown says. “I built my spa bus accustomed to abled and disabled kids so they can all have fun together.”
The entrepreneur enjoys “giving smiles back to the kids and parents because we go through a lot when it comes to our kids,” she says. “We have to go out with a smile every single day like nothing’s happened.”
Brown credits 100K Ideas for the network of people she was introduced to, that enabled her company to be what it is today.
“The pitch competition allowed me to open up and talk to people in front of an audience because I was not really good at that,” she says. “The money didn’t matter, it was just the people’s reactions. I got a lot of feedback, and people actually standing and waiting for me just to talk about my business. That positive feedback was what really gave me the encouragement.”
Brown is proud to be a part of the supportive Flint community, and being able to give back “just tops everything,” she says.
“I feel like the impact in this community of what services I provide is definitely for under-represented kids with disabilities. It’s always overlooked, so just to be a mother that has a kid with a disability, it’s easier to understand their needs for everything, and to give back to those kids because they deserve to live a normal life.”
Check out the full storytelling segment below.
This story is part of a storytelling series supported by 100K Ideas. To learn more, visit: 100kideas.org