We’ve all heard that knowledge is power, and that the more you know the more you will succeed. Melanin Origins was launched on this very thought process. The company provides quality educational materials to inspire young minds to aspire for excellence while embracing their heritage.
The goal of Melanin Origins is to become the largest culturally competent book provider in the America. They are doing this by sparking interest in books and encouraging readers at a young age; reviving the parent/child relationship through family readings, dialogue, discussion and debate; and by instilling a pure, strong, healthy knowledge of self at a young age.
Purposely Awakened is all about spreading the knowledge within the Black community, so I decided to dig deeper into the purpose of Melanin Origins with an interview with the President and CEO, Louie T. McClain.
Can you tell myself and the reader’s about yourself and the brand? Who is the illustrious President & CEO of the company?
Louie T. McClain II is a resident of Arlington, Texas and holds a Bachelors of Science. in Criminal Justice from Pensacola Christian College. It was in Pensacola where Louie first discovered his passion in life-coaching troubled youth. While volunteering with Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Mr. McClain took on an initiative to make tutoring a court-ordered sanction and found success with Juvenile Court Judges and Probation Officers alike. Louie went on to establish Humane Resources, Inc., a 501(c)3 organization with a mission to assist the formerly incarceration with job placement, a couple years later. Shortly after that, Project: Liberia Smile was formed which gave college age students an opportunity attend universities in Liberia, West Africa.
As a result, nine scholarships were granted over the course of two years. Other than his Passion Projects, Louie has over seven years of full time employment in Juvenile Justice, and is currently employed by American Airlines as a Development Partner. Furthermore, Mr. McClain is a proud father of two beautiful children named Serenity and Noah. Louie is intrigued by the resilience and tenacity of African American leaders who stand for truth, justice, and overcoming any obstacles placed in their way. Thus, he decided to create Melanin Origins LLC, a black owned global publishing service creating books for kids, to share messages of lesser-known African American pioneers to the children of the world and empower them to aspire for excellence and chase their dreams regardless of any complications they may face.
Booker T. Washington taught us how to be a leader amongst hard times. He showed that we can achieve our goals if we just take one step forward at a time. Ida B. Wells showed how to allow our thoughts to flow to our pen and she demonstrated the powerful effects of it. Her life is permeated with the notion of truth telling, journalism, perseverance, and standing tall for the down and out. Dr. Francis had a huge, loving heart. She tells of being studious and obedient to the heart’s call of service and loving others. These three individuals who I chose to write about teach lifelong lessons for children. Louie T. McClain II is humbled and honored to be able to introduce our children to their leaders in this manner through Melanin Origins LLC.
What influenced you to be an entrepreneur and start your own black publishing company?
Our mission is to provide quality education materials that inspire young minds to aspire for excellence while embracing their heritage at the same time. The vision of Melanin Origins is to be the largest Afrocentric book provider in the United States. We stand on the foundation of excellence lived through the lives of Marcus Garvey, Madame C.J. Walker, Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, Bessie Coleman, and the list goes on and on.
Dr. Umar Johnson’s messages inspired me to dig deeper and learn more about my heritage as well as being unapologetic in my approach, and Dr. Boyce Watkin’s overall theme of being your own boss and creating your own business is what presently motivates me to achieve great things. These two gentlemen changed my life and gave me the willpower to create a company that stands on such beautiful pillars as Melanin Origins’. I happened upon these gentlemen about at age 28; my children and the children of the world will be empowered with stories of greatness from actual historical figures beginning at 9 months. Simply put, Melanin Origins, LLC was founded with the purpose of sharing messages of lesser-known African American pioneers to the children of the world to empower them to aspire for excellence and chase their dreams regardless of any complications that may be in their way or come their way.
How many books have you published to date?
Our brand – which publishes children’s books about African American pioneers, has published four (4) books to date including Brick by Brick on Booker T. Washington, Power in My Pen on Ida B. Wells, Breaking the Sickle on Dr. Francis, and My ABC’s. For 2018 we plan to release books on The Tuskegee Airmen, Madame C.J. Walker, W.E.B. Dubois, Margaret Murray Washington, Benjamin Banneker, & Marcus Garvey.
Our imprint – which publishes books of any topic for any age range has published five (5) excellent works of art and we are currently project managing four (4) other book projects at this time.
Approximately how many books have you sold?
We have sold over 2,000 books and donated over 500 to charities and needy families.
How has being able to provide such a bright future & important necessity for your culture make you feel?
Nothing can beat the intrinsic feeling of satisfaction that comes from living out your dreams. Creating Melanin Origins LLC, writing books for children, helping other normal, everyday people achieve their dreams of becoming an author and making a bestseller’s list, providing community solutions, and engaging our children are just a few things that brings me joy every morning. I have the opportunity to chart a path for black community members and establish a vision for generational wealth for my own children and anyone else who may be paying attention to the moves that my company is making. It is an awesome feeling. I have never been one who is solely looking to benefit myself, so it’s an amazing feeling to take all my failures and shortcomings and produce this fun, literacy vehicle for our children.
Do you have any advice to offer the next generation of millennial?
I would encourage an entrepreneur to 1) surround his/herself with positive people and mentors (there is a difference in the two), 2) brainstorm a product or service that he/she wholeheartedly believes in, 3) write the business plan in full – don’t keep it all in your mind and don’t have bit and pieces lying around here and there. Research the SBA: Small Business Administration. The SBA is a governmental entity which will direct a person to one of its many Small Business Development Centers nearby and connect that person with a business professional that will walk them through business creation and sustainability processes for free. Yes, it is free. Actually your tax money is already paying for it, so why not make good use of it.
The major thing to consider is: IS IT FEASIBLE? I must emphasize this. Many times we have great ideas and we want to do it just because it sounds great to us, but the world might have difference of opinion. Sometimes we don’t have all the necessary resources at the time to accomplish our vision, but we still try to put it out there prematurely. This is a huge no-no. To thine own self be true, so we just have to be honest with ourselves regarding the “ifs” and “whens” of establishing a business. Lastly, do not fret at failure or disappointment, because this is expected during certain points in life and in business.
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