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Reflections on a dream that once was….

It’s nothing greater than not only having a dream, but being able to pursue it.  It’s truly a blessing.  And nowadays, its even more encouraging to step out with so many inspiring examples of people who have done it and are successful.  But what you don’t hear about as much is what happens when the dream you once had and pursued dies. How do you move forward when the dream you once felt so passionate about is no longer what you desire or what you feel you should be doing?  Where do you go from there?  Well, that’s exactly the boat I’ve been in the past few years.

As many of you know, I used to have a handbag business (Nneka Saran) where I made and sold bags.

Me at one of my trunk shows in NY

It literally started as a hobby that grew into a full blown business over time and I loved it.  I’ve always enjoyed making things and when I think back, I guess I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit.  I remember getting in trouble in elementary school for bringing penny candy to school and selling it to my friends lol.  So I guess it made sense that I would become an entrepreneur one day.


I started out like most though, my career goal was to climb the corporate ladder and ultimately make lots of money.  But after officially starting my handbag business and working it on the side, I began to have dreams of doing it full time.  The more my business grew, the stronger I felt about really going hard with it.  I was working in sales for Kraft Foods at the time and I distinctly remember telling my co-worker I wouldn’t be there for much longer.  Little did I know, the company was about to do a massive downsizing.  It was uncertain who would be laid off, but I was one of the last in so you know how that goes.  But as the good Lord would have it, they announced they would be offering severance packages for anyone who wanted to voluntarily leave.  After much prayer and discussion with my husband, we decided I would leave corporate and pursue my dream!  It was best decision ever and truly one of the most invigorating times in my life.  I traveled, met lots of people, was blessed with tons of awesome opportunities, featured in numerous magazines & televisions shows,  had lots of celebs rocking my bags, hosted women’s empowerment events, and even had a small commercial studio space I worked out of with a small staff, etc.  I had big dreams of blowing up into a huge brand one day and inspiring as many women as I could along the way.  I wasn’t making hundreds of thousands of dollars but I made enough.  I was happy, fulfilled, and in control of my own time.


After about 3 years, something started to change.  My passion for it started to fizzle out.  During this time, my husband and I  were having challenges getting pregnant so I figured maybe that was affecting my desire to continue with my business.  Around the same time, a friend of mine told me about a program I should apply for.  It was a business program for female entrepreneurs  through the Tory Burch Foundation/Goldman Sachs.  There were hundreds of people who applied, so I told myself if I got in, that would be a sign from God to continue on.  Low and behold, I was selected so I kept pushing with my business but truth be told, there was still something missing for me.  By the time I got pregnant, something told me this chapter of my life would be closing soon.  Outside the fact that I had lost the passion for it, I knew with two babies on the way, I would need more stability financially.  Not to mention, a large part of my business involved traveling to do trunk shows and events and I knew I wouldn’t have as much time to do that anymore (especially since both sets of our parents live out of state so we had no real help).  Even with all that, the decision to completely dissolve my business was a hard one. It was like a death.  Not just the death of a dream, but of what I believed was some of my purpose too.  Despite the success and notable things I felt I had achieved, apart of me felt like a failure.  I kept thinking back to the big dreams I had for my business and all I wanted to do with it. I thought about how many people would tell me I inspired them and how I so often preached about having faith and stepping out on it. And here I was throwing in the towel on years of blood, sweat and tears I put in this business.  On top of all of that, the more time passed by, the more I was constantly reminded (via social media) how far every else seemed to be in their careers or entrepreneurial ventures now.  Meanwhile, I was stuck at a standstill in a rut in my mid 30s with a dream that was no more ….feeling lost, low on faith (at that time), and not much of an inspiration at all.


Going from having such a clear vision for the path you want to go to no longer knowing what you are to do is a very unsettling feeling.  Personally, I was sooo blessed and full.  I had a great husband, family, and friends.  I had prayed and prayed for a child, and the Lord blessed us with 2 at the same time.  Shouldn’t that be enough for me?  The more I wrestled with that question, the more I realized while motherhood is such a sweet blessing and has certainly become apart of my purpose in life, there is more God has for me to do…more to my purpose in this life. And I want to be completely sure I am walking in whatever that is.


Today I turned 38 and if you are wondering where I am with all this now, I’m still going through it.  However, I no longer feel like a failure nor do I feel lost and I haven’t for awhile now.  If I’ve learned one thing in my 38 years is that we all go through seasons in life but some are only for a period of time.   And when I think back to it all, I learned so much during that time of my life. My faith was stretched so much and I believe it truly helped me grow as a person and prepare me for what’s to come. Do I know exactly what that will be? Not completely.  But, I have no doubt in my mind the Lord has a plan for me and I already see Him working.

I’m a firm believer everything happens for a reason and while I am no longer in that particular season of my life, I absolutely believe I am right where I am supposed to be at 38 years old.  I don’t have it all figured out yet but it’s not my job to, it’s the Lords and I will follow the path He sets for me.  I completely trust in HIs plan and timing for my life even when things may not happen as quickly as I’d like at times.  My story is not over…..new chapters are on the way.  So if you are reading this and you find yourself in a similar boat, know that you aren’t alone and your story isn’t over either.


To all my many supporters and customers during those years, words can’t express how grateful I am to you all!  While I don’t see myself ever going back into the handbag  business full time, you guys know I love to make things….I’m a creative and an entrepreneur at heart so there’s always a chance I’ll whip up a bag or two and post them for sale lol 😉



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  1. Hey Nneka, I was rereading some of your posts for DIY inspiration and came across this one. I’ve been in the same boat for a few years now. I’m burnt out from researching and blogging about bags and after having my second child, I still haven’t been motivated. I have another passion project I’m excited to pursue but can’t get passed the feeling of failure. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s right on time. I need to let go and embrace the next chapter. Cheers to much success with One Handy Momma! xoxo

  2. I can’t even express in words how much this touched me just now!!! You are a blessing to so many without even knowing the struggles of your audience!!!
    When I get a house…..I hope to have a Nneka chair!!!! For now I will forever cherish my TWO Nneka Saran bags & my caboodle!!!!!
    In the meantime enjoy Gods purpose…..quality time with your children and husband.

  3. I didn’t have a moment to read this intently until now and I wanted to be able to take it in. Thank you for being such a willing vessel woman of God. You truly understand the power of your test-imony to not only encourage others but to allow people to see God and not just you. You are an amazing woman with amazing gifts. Eyes have not seen, ears have not heard nor has it entered into the hearts of man the things God has in store for You!

  4. Kudos to you for your transparency and courage to share a piece of your story. Though you may not be using your gifts the way you used to enjoy doing, you are still blessing many others with your gifts of creativity and sharing. Your website still allows you to do just that! The fact that you are even making time out of what i KNOW must be a super hectic schedule of raising a family to share what you create is the gift in and of itself (to yourself and the rest of the world). Keep Creating! All us other folks out here who share the same feelings and motivations as you are inspired. 🙂 xoxoxo

  5. Thanks for sharing Nneka! I know that feeling all so well! I know that opening my stores in the early 2000’s was definitely my purpose for that time and leaving my corporate job to fulfill it was what I was suppose to do. I also felt that sense of failure when I closed the doors but God has a way! You just keep hearing His voice and walking in His purpose and Eyes haven’t seen what’s in store for your latter days! I’m just excited to see how your family will be blessed because of your obedience! Love you Lady!

  6. Happy Birthday! Your testimony will help so many including me. Thank you for having the courage to share with complete transparency. I remember having you and your husband on our 365 Girl Radio show years back, so I know how big of a deal that part of your life was….But God! I know this journey too from a personal standpoint (courageously closed my brick and mortar Dec 31st) and I am only 11months out…one thought about the process….humbling but hearing your words today made me not feel so alone in this journey…THANK YOU! On time word for this place in my season:)

    Mind blowing Blessings your way,
    Tracey Sydnor

    1. Wow yesss I remember that years ago! Thanks so much for your kind words Tracey! Im blessed hearing what I shared blessed you. xoxo

  7. Happy Birthday!!! Thank you for sharing your truth. Your strength is absolutely remarkable, you are truly blessed.


  8. Your transparency and bravery in sharing is awesome. I’m currently in this place of not knowing the next step. I devoted my heart, time etc to one dream…experienced some beautiful successes, and later found myself walking away from it. It’s true….it did feel like a death. I mourned it. I hold nevertheless to God’s beautiful plan for me which isn’t over (because I’m still here). So….it’s an exciting time to see what’s next. Your blog was inspiring and reassuring that I’m not alone. Thank you Nneka and I look forward to seeing what’s next for you!

  9. Nneka,
    Happy 38th Birthday!!! Thank you for sharing your story. Your willingness to be authentic is a blessing in disguise. Your babies are blessed to have you as their mom. Everything I have seen you do is full of life and creativity. I have experienced the same road of letting go of one dream but I can tell you that you definitely blessed so many woman young and old during your time of being obedient to your purse business. I believe God is going to open so many doors because you are choosing to let him guide you to your next journey. So, because of that you will win triple fold. I will continue to support you because your such an inspiration so continue being you, “One Handy Momma”.

    Tamika Michelle

  10. Thank you for the transparency and truth! Continue to walk in His will and He will reveal more about your purpose. It may even happen soon, because you released this transparent moment. Btw I would love for you to whip up a bag or two and online shopping is the business now, so you wouldn’t have to travel as much! Blessings

  11. I needed this! Thanks for for sharing Neka!! Wishing you a wonderful birthday🎉🎊 Can’t wait til you’re creatinf new bags again because I will be definitely purchasing a Nneka Saran original!! Be blessed…..♡

  12. You are truly a BLESSED AND CREATIVE young lady. Remembering you from your younger years. Continue to follow GOD’S plans for you and your family. YOU HAVEN’T SEEN ANYTHING YET!!! WONDERFUL THINGS ARE ON THE WAY!!! STAY WITH YOUR EYES AND EARS ON GOD!!!

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