I had a great pleasure of getting to know Catenya McHenry, a reporter, stylist, and an inventor. Through our collaboration we have created another lovely addition to her magnetic sock collection! Catenya finds art which speaks to her and incorporates it into her sock designs. You can check out her unique idea for magnetic art socks here. She has kindly agreed to an interview to share what she has learned and what drove her to be a successful entrepreneur.
A little bit of Catenya’s background:
She is a relatable, real woman- a single mom of three children just trying to get out the door on time everyday. In her other life, she’s a sought after TV Host and Restyle Expert, making regular television appearances as a guest on dozens of top-rated shows nationwide. She’s also a go-to expert for restyling your wardrobe and home. Catenya believes ‘you don’t have to spend a lot to look like you did.’ She’s a master at engineering new ways to style one piece.
Born+raised in Los Angeles, California, the hub of film+fashion, Catenya was destined to be the mix. Her Dad owned a video production company and from there, her love of stories and storytelling ignited. She began her journey as a TV news reporter in Lafayette, Louisiana. Within eight months, she was advancing to an education reporter position in Austin, Texas and later became their morning show anchor. As a news broadcaster with a career spanning two-decades, Catenya has logged thousands of stories and TV appearances for all the major networks, including NBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX and the CW. Her constant curiosity and aspirational ambition framed her next challenge. She flipped her skills and quickly ascended to corporate executive level to become a PR executive, communications+crisis communications expert, media trainer and marketing expert and later using that experience to open two PR firms+ a production company. Never satisfied with just one thing at a time, Catenya’s love of film and the creative process prompted her to probe the industry which yielded tremendous success. She is SAG credited for principal roles in two films, Miss Congeniality and The Life of David Gale. She’s also appeared in dozens of industrial commercials for TV, corporate and print campaigns and has been voice-over talent in a host of radio commercials.
Catenya’s love affair with fashion+glamour is life-long. Her instinctive ability to accessorize and pair prints, patterns and color is organic. While in the news business, Catenya had to dress up everyday on a less than rockstar budget, so she was savvy at repurposing and restyling her wardrobe, keeping secret her pieces were the same, just styled new ways. Viewers thought she had a celebrity wardrobe. Friends thought so too. One by one, they asked her to overhaul their closets+restyle new looks for them. Eventually, friends became clients and now all of her clients are friends.
When she’s not making TV appearances, overhauling closets, lending style tips for clients and various media outlets, or collaborating with brands, Catenya is an accomplished entrepreneur, inventor, documentary+series producer/director, adjunct professor, freelance writer and managing editor at Catenya.com. Catenya’s production company, Trifecta Films+Media is committed to producing original, real content for television and digital platforms. Her current projects are a style/lifestyle show and a cooking show. She’s also busy growing her sock company SoleMate Sox. In 2015, Catenya invented the world’s first magnetic socks that stay paired in the wash, as a solution for lost socks.
Catenya stays active as a marathoner and rollerblader. She and her three children love to explore the outdoors and run together as well. They’ve finished several 5K’s and she and her 9-year old daughter are training to run a marathon in 2017.
M&S-What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I knew I wanted to do something in broadcasting and television. I thought maybe I wanted to be a host but I really didn’t know. I’ve always been extremely curious and asked lots of questions and I absolutely LOVE stories, story-telling and I love television.
One of the rituals I had with my Mom was watching the news every night, if not at 6 then definitely at 10. She had to know what she missed and what was going on in the world and in the community. The more I watched, the more I thought, I think I want to do that, be a television news reporter. I had no idea that all my life, I was being groomed for that exact profession.
Growing up, my dad would write screenplays, with full script and directions. He would film the entire movie (which we still have on VHS and it’s part of joy and good laughs we share when we’re all home).
Later my Dad owned a production company so I began to understand to evolution of stories and storytelling.
My first semester in college, I knew, without a shadow of a doubt I wanted to be a reporter.
M&S-What is the best piece of advice you remember a grown up give you when you were little that stuck with you as an adult?
Always trust God for whatever you need and pray.
M&S-What was the most difficult moment in your life & how did you grow from it?
Realizing my marriage was failing and i was raising three little ones on my own. Growth is still in process.
M&S- was the happiest moment in your life & how did you grow from it?
There isn’t one happy moment that I can say was the happiest. Obviously when each of my three children were born- each was simply miraculous! The day I went Skydiving on my 40th birthday. When I was told I was “brave.” When I found my soul again after a tough relationship. When I remembered my own strength and when I found inner peace again.
M&S- moments of self doubt, what strategies work for you in keeping a positive attitude and continuing to move forward?
I don’t really have time to wallow in self-doubt. I have to work. If I don’t work, we don’t eat and believe me when I tell you, that would not go over well in my my house. I have three growing children and one of them is a teenager, so I have to work, they eat constantly. I do sometimes think what am I doing or how can I improve today. What I think most often is, what can I do today that I didn’t do yesterday. How can I do something differently to achieve a more successful result. I think big and I always think things will just work out.They don’t always. Many times I work myself to the bone only to realize at the end that I should’ve trusted God first.
M&S-What does success mean to you?
It depends on the day. Sometimes success means getting out the door on-time and making sure one of the children doesn’t miss the bus. I’ve learned to celebrate the little successes. But really, these are big successes because how you begin your day will many times determine the mood and ambience of your entire day. I always think about how I send off my children to school. If we’re stressed in the mornings, they take that with them during the day and that’s not what they need to focus and have a good day.
So success means a lot of things to me. It just depends on which day you’re asking. :-)
M&S-What habits helped make you successful? I love running. I’ve done marathons and half’s but I lost motivation for it in the last two years. I think starting a company zapped a bit of my motivation but exercising makes me feel so good, clear-minded and more energetic, so I try to run or do a workout at home either in the morning or before bed. I sleep better and just feel internally healthier. I also have to stay organized. I can’t begin something if my desk is a mess or I’ve not planned out the day. Taking a few minutes to scan my schedule the day before and figure out what I’m doing is crucial to success.
M&S-When you need to get your creative juices flowing, what is your true and proven way to get inspiration?
Nature is a major inspiration for me. Being outside, taking a run, listening and observing God’s creation is inspirational and spiritual.
Meeting people and connecting with like-minded human beings can be inspirational too, especially if we share similar life experiences.
Being in an energetic environment like home in LA or in New York gives me a MAJOR creative boost.
A good cup of coffee never fails. Sometimes that first sip, is orgasmic. :-)
M&S-What mindsets helped make your successful?
Staying truthful in everything I do. That doesn’t just mean telling the truth. It also means saying no to something that I don’t feel comfortable with or good about or saying yes when I really mean no. That also means speaking up about something or saying how I feel about it. Being outspoken and having the guts to say or ask what everyone else wants to is also being truthful. I LOVE asking questions but not just for the sake of asking them. I need information. I love learning and I really want to know more about things.
Being realistic and practical are important mindsets too.
Those are successful mindsets to me.
M&S-How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
My product SoleMate Sox, is the only bamboo magnetic socks on the market. We’re patent-pending so we don’t have direct competition. There are dozens of sock companies but none are selling products that keeps socks together and from getting lost. I’m still learning and executing marketing and PR strategies that will help us continue to grow.
M&S-Name a person whom you admire and look up to.
I love my Dad! He is amazingly wise and insightful. We are so much alike and he raised me to be just like him. He’s been through so much and is so amazingly strong. I call him constantly and ask for his advice about lots of things but not everything. The things I do ask him about, he tells me what he thinks and he always tosses it back to God and uncovers a meaningful, relevant, purposeful life lesson.
M&S-What resources would you recommend for someone starting a creative business?
There are tons of books, seminars, webinars, and so on but what I find most successful is relationships. Who you know and who knows whom are the keys to helping you start a business or take it to the next level. I enjoy meeting new people and finding out their story. It’s through communication and genuine conversation that you can learn about who you should be connecting with. Taking a meeting, whether it’s over coffee or lunch, could lead to something big for you. Don’t be afraid to explore networking events and opportunities and ask for the information, whether it be a person’s contact information or how they were able to accomplish a certain thing. If there is someone doing that thing you want to do or are thinking about doing, ask them where and how they got started. Don’t be afraid to just make the phone call or start the conversation. Don’t be afraid to ask friends for information or if they know someone that can design a web page or handle social media or what should you charge. Find people that will be honest with you.
M&S-When I was going through cancer treatments I felt that a lot of the time people were afraid to say something inappropriate, or “wrong”.
What advice would you give to someone who is dealing with a diagnoses of a serious illness?
This is a tough one. I don’t ever feel I can give advice to someone dealing with a serious illness. I feel like the illness is enough for them to deal with. What I think is more appropriate is to let that person know you love them and show them. Give them hope by praying for them but most of all, be honest, be present and go with them through the process of emotions.
M&S-What advice would you give to the loved ones of someone who is dealing with a diagnoses of a serious illness?
Just be there. Listen. Don’t hang around just for the glory and recognition of saying you were there for them but love them. Give them whatever they want and understand what’s happening to them. Support their family because the family is also dealing with the stress of the illness. Just be human. Empathize. Sympathize. Be present and just feel.
M&S-What advice would you give someone who is thinking of starting their own business?
Do something you’re passionate about. Spend the time researching, asking questions and making sure it’s something you really want to put time and effort into. Starting a business is not for the weak or faint of heart. There will be some days, many days you question what you’re doing or why you did it in the first place. Investigate why you want to do that particular thing. Soul search and make sure it comes from a place of honesty and authenticity. Investigate what the end game is- what are you giving the world and how will you do it differently. In what way are you helping others? Most of all, be passionate about it and be willing to understand that failure is not a bad thing. Sometimes set backs and failure help you find whatever is better that you didn’t know you needed to discover. Sometimes being forced to find a better way is success and turns the tide on what you thought was a failure.
Don’t let others deflate your sails. Sure, get feedback but don’t let it zap your enthusiasm and excitement. There will always be naysayers about your goals, dreams, and your intentions. The naysayers have a problem with themselves first and not you. Believe in what you’re doing. Be willing to accept a situation for what it is. Be willing to accept no but don’t let that stop you from finding the yes. Be willing to hustle. Be willing to work for it. Be willing to figure it out. Be willing to give it all you’ve got everyday and be willing to keep going and not give up. Stay the course and never settle. Understand your worth!
M&S-What words do you live by?
Love. Joy. Positivity. Faith. Peace. God’s Grace. Forgiveness- of yourself. Authenticity. Truth. Kindness. Enthusiasm.
I want to thank this gorgeous talented lady for taking the time to do this interview and I know that once you read it you will feel inspired and rejuvenated. I know I was!