My name is Kasondra “Kaseii” McConnell and I’m from California by way of Atlanta. If I could think of a word that describes everything I encompass it would be Freedom. I realized early in life that I marched to the drum of my own beat and sought out the sort of freedom only a small child experiences.
A creative person stuck in a conventional family, I attempted to take the “safe path” in life. Attending University of Georgia, majoring in business, and gaining acceptance to law school. Shedding my own interest for that of what my parents and society thinks I should do to be “successful.” Right before going to law school I decided that taking on so much debt without practical legal experience wouldn’t be smart, but deep down I knew I was in for something different, something more creative.
If I could yell at my former self from the pit of my belly RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN AWAY FROM THAT LIFE, I would. During this year of “self discovery” I first heard the little voice within me speak. I knew almost 2 months into working at the law firm that it was horrendous and I wanted out so I could take a stab at corporate America and start a business.
After interviewing and applying to what felt like thousands of jobs I felt defeated. I left work one day an emotional wreck and heard a voice from within say “never allow anything control over your happiness and livelihood, create your own business, create your own life.” In that moment I realized I needed to listen to my heart and follow my dreams.
Shortly after finding an opportunity to shadow a small boutique, I was laid off from the law firm and I dedicated nearly every day of unemployment to my business.
3 months after being laid off, my website was complete and Huria Boutique, which means Freedom in Swahili, was open for business. I had maybe 2 sales online the first 6 months, but I knew my business would work if I had a brick and mortar. Eventually an opportunity to open in a small warehouse flex space presented itself, and I jumped at the chance.
Once I opened up I realized that there was a demand for my products, but the warehouse space was too small for what I envisioned, so I left after 7 months to search for a traditional brick and mortar. After 6 months of searching, failed bids, and many other setbacks, I found the location I’ve been in for two years now
Even as I type this, things are constantly changing. A few days ago I received notice from my landlord that they are choosing not to renew my lease. But as a true visionary I see something far greater ahead.
My heart has been set on being a musician since childhood. After taking 2 years to write songs, 4 years to learn how to run a business, 10 years of building a network, vocal lessons, piano lessons, playing in an orchestra, and 24 years of dancing, I’m currently recording my debut EP, ASC. I’m very passionate about creating music and I am embracing this journey with the warmest smile and most open heart. If it’s anything like the journey and success I experienced with Huria, I know I will excel in it and become an even more rocking person.
One thing I’ve learned through my journey as a dream chaser is there will be setbacks, but you must persevere. Everything you’ve done sets you up for success in the future. You only get what you want out of life, so try out what you want.
If I am not able to be free then I’ll only be stifled.
To anyone who’s afraid to follow their dreams, the phrase “the only thing you have to fear is fear itself” is a little naivete. The road is not easy and if you knew the struggles you are bound to face you may not go for it, but I promise in the end it’ll be worth it.