Earl J. Mackie is a New Orleans native who was born in the lower 9th ward & grew up in Gentilly. He Co-founded/owned and operated a local record label -Take Fo’ Records until taking the family roofing business serious in 2012 and making Mackie One Construction his #1 priority.
Mackie One is a full-service roofing, and construction company that provides the best possible solutions to roofing problems and offers a large depth of experience and knowledge in replacing, repairing and new roof construction. “With over 50 years of experience in this industry, we are a preferred supplier of roofing systems and repairs. We are committed to fulfilling our customer’s needs. We create flexible schedules to accommodate each customer on an individual basis. We have built a solid reputation for excellent work and our customers are always fully satisfied with every project at every step. “
Q: How long has your business been in operation? Is this business your main source of income or do you have other jobs or ventures you also participate in?
A: First incorporated in 2004, but not taken seriously until 2012. This business is my only source of income.
Q: How did you get started? Tell us your motivation for starting this business.
A: I am a second generation roofing contractor. My father and uncle ran a very successful roofing company (Mackie Roofing) in New Orleans from 1965-2005, until Katrina struck New Orleans. As a young man, growing up in the family’s roofing business, I wanted to do anything but the family’s roofing business. I started several different businesses before I realized that “roofing tar” was in my blood. I have been compelled since then to recreate and restore the family legacy.
Q: As an African American/Black entrepreneur, what were some of the biggest challenges and/or surprised you faced when starting your business?
A: Most of my family and peers thought I was too sheltered growing up and did not think that I could handle the stress and pressure of running a “hands-on” blue collar type of business. In addition, most of our potential African American customers pre-judge our ability to execute our service compared to our traditional competition. Many African Americans expect us to give below market prices in order to do business with us because we are an African American company, but they expect a higher standard of workmanship and performance than our competitors.
Q: New Orleans is such a “robust” entrepreneurial ecosystem. What are the resources (people, networks, organizations, programs, books, articles, etc.) that you have found most useful in starting and/or growing your business?
A: I continue to take in business seminars and positive motivation from Goodwork Network, Urban League and now Propeller. These organizations are trending toward equal opportunity growth potentials from a multicultural and diverse group of people. Unlike the traditional “Old New Orleans”, “Good Ole Boy”, “Neptunism” culture that was in play in New Orleans pre-Katrina.
Q: What are you most proud of (related to your business)?
A: We are able to give unskilled, low educated African American men an opportunity to learn a skill and earn a respectable salary to raise their family independently, without government assistance.
Q: What advice do you have to fellow African American/Black entrepreneurs starting a business?
A: You cant initially depend on family and friends to support you. You have to be willing to carry your business on your own shoulders and your own back until it grows. Family and friends usually show support after your business becomes somewhat successful. Then they will “Give you a play”.
Q: Is there anything you know now that you wished you had known earlier in terms of starting or operating your business?
A: Operating capital is gold and cash is KING. Banks do not loan money to people who need money. You must have money saved to manage your personal expenses without taking any money from the business for at least the first year.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share about your business or your personal story?
A: A true entrepreneur is someone who is not afraid of risk-taking. You don’t know when or where your check will come from. You have to have FAITH that you will succeed and don’t take failure as an option.
4014 Erato Street New Orleans, La. 70125