Her mom was a schoolteacher and a principal. Her mother was also an entrepreneur who sold cornbread in Liberia. According to Clarke, she picked up the spirit of entrepreneurship from her mother, who died of cancer and congestive heart failure, Black Business reports.
She said her mother taught her the importance of having multiple streams of income, therefore, becoming an entrepreneur did not come as a surprise to her. Six years ago, Clarke founded Millie’s International Creations, an online fashion boutique that sells high-end, handcrafted African-themed jewelry and handbags, according to Black Business. She sources her materials mainly from Africa.
Initially, she had wanted to return to Liberia to open a boutique, but circumstances surrounding life, work and family prevented this. Clarke started Millie’s International Creations after becoming a furloughed government employee working in Washington, DC. On a trip to South Africa, she developed a strong passion to help women, particularly in developing countries, achieve their dreams. She targeted female artisans in Africa to work with.
She now has a team of female designers who are all located on the African continent to help with her line of necklaces, earrings, bracelets, headwraps, handbags, and more. According to Black Business, since partnering with local artisans from Ghana, she has seen a growth in her business from $5,000 in monthly sales to more than $50,000 a month.
Her business reportedly took off during the pandemic in 2020. She attributed the boom in her sales in part to the Black Lives Matter movement and her association with 7th Pro Solutions, a digital marketing agency that she hired to help her revamp her website and run very profitable Facebook ad campaigns.
“When I started working with Edwin Jardin (the founder of 7th Pro Solutions), he really helped me to create a sales funnel for my website that has literally increased my revenue by 500%. My company now gets sales every single day, and it’s a challenge to keep up with inventory,” she said.
Aside from her business, Clarke is also a philanthropist. Proceeds from sales she makes on her website are given to various nonprofits in Africa and beyond who are into women empowerment.
“Millie’s aims to bring quality merchandise by women designers and artisans at an affordable price to the U.S. market,” the entrepreneur says on her website.