Penny Clarke, born and raised in Liberia, is the founder of Millie’s International Creation, an online fashion boutique that sells high-end, handcrafted African-themed jewelry, handbags, and home fashion.
She started the company six years ago when she became a furloughed government employee working in Washington, DC. Since then, after partnering with local female artisans in Ghana, she has grown the business from about $5,000 in monthly sales to now more than $50,000 monthly.
Penny says that it was during a visit to South Africa when she decided to bring her passion and desire to help women around the world achieve their dreams to fruition.
Now she works with 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.
Her business, like many other Black-owned businesses, really took off after the pandemic began in 2020. Part of this had to do with the powerful global movement to support Black entrepreneurs after the brutal killing of George Floyd.
However, the major part of her continuous sales growth has to do with 7th Pro Solutions, a digital marketing agency that she hired to help her optimize her website and run very profitable Facebook ad campaigns.
Penny comments, “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 – which is a great problem to have.”
Penny, who is the youngest of her mom’s 8 children, says that she named the company after her mom who was a schoolteacher and principal in Liberia, but also made and sold cornbread as an entrepreneur.
She says that her mom taught her and her siblings the importance of having multiple streams of income.
Sadly, her mom died of breast cancer and congestive heart failure in 2014, but her legacy of entrepreneurship and education lives on through Penny and her other siblings.
As a part of Penny’s commitment to women and the continent of Africa, proceeds from every sale generated on her website are donated to various nonprofits that she supports in the U.S. and around the world.
This article was originally published by BlackBusiness.com.