Tell us, who is Tenia Henderson, what’s your story?
I’m an ambitious mother, balancing corporate America and building a brand. I was born and raised in Dallas TX , no degree or prior knowledge of operating a business or the ins and out of the fashion industry. I’m a fashion and SNKRS lover.
You’re the owner and creator of one of Dallas’ hottest brands, POPOUT BRAND. Tell us how you started this brand and the inspiration behind the name.
“POPOUT” always been slang amongst me and my friends (2014), one year my New Year’s resolution was to add another stream of income and I was in the hair salon thinking of ideas and my hairstylist at the time asked me what I liked to do and what I was passionate about and my exact response was, “I don’t know, I just go to the malls get dressed and POPOUT.” And then a lightbulb went off in my head like, “I could be a stylist.” (2015) Everyone had already been asking me for advice on what to wear for numerous occasions so I figured, why not give it a try. From there, the slang term led to me styling to thinking now that I have a few clients and I’m running in and out of the mall I need a “uniform” so I began to brainstorm on what I would wear when I was working. My clients loved my tee so much they began to request their own, so that led to me saying I can use the tees to market myself. I remember my first shirt saying “ASK ME HOW TO POPOUT” I got bored quick with the standard design so I began to brainstorm on a more creative design that I needed for a Jordan release and that’s how the “FASHION KILLER TEE” was birthed (2016)… haha. My very own version of a rock band tee, then from that tee I came so many other tees that related to music or other Jordan sneaker releases, it was a great run and the beginning of so many other levels and opportunities that I didn’t plan. I met so many people, networking, K104 was super supportive with wearing shirts to concerts and local events, POPOUT really began expanding faster than I could’ve ever imagined.
You took some time off and came back with some heat. Tell us the importance of taking the time off for yourself.
When Nipsey said he went through every emotion working towards his goals I felt that on every level; happy, sad, challenged, betrayal, wins and losses. LITERALLY EVERY EMOTION I have a story for it! I became so overwhelmed with the “NAYSAYERS AND HATERS” the daily obstacles of parenting and adulting that I began to force myself to believe I wasn’t built for it, so I put my dreams on hold to get my thoughts together. When I finally started to see the light at the end of the tunnel I began to give myself “homework” to acquire more skills because I knew the more I learned, the more confident I would become and the less likely I would be relying on anyones opinion or skills to build my dream. I attended workshops, did webinars, researched manufactures, attended trade shows, watched movies and interviews and journaled every single day. I gave myself a new topic to learn every day in all lanes of business, customer service, sewing classes, economics, fashion laws, marketing, accounting, domestic and international shipping, contract writing, taught myself how to create my own website – man, the list goes on. The whole time I just wanted to keep my brain active and find my purpose and why I wanted to have a brand, it was almost like I put myself in boot camp. I knew that if I got through it I would come out better and if I couldn’t stay focused and be consistent I knew didn’t want it bad enough… and I want it, my legacy depends on it. It’s never how you fall off, it’s how you comeback , that determines your impact.
What do you think separates POPOUT from other brands in the city?
POPOUT is birthed from a woman with a humble beginning that never lost her reach within the community. I realized really quick that no one wants a product that has no story behind it. So with every release I made sure there was a take away from it, a message to boost confidence or inspire some type of self improvement. POPOUT isn’t really about clothes with me, its only surface level of a way deeper connection to my customers. I really want everyone that shops with me to understand and believe we all can beat the odds but it starts with US, if you feel good on the inside, lookin’ fly on the outside is just a PLUS! I promote confidence, drive and OWNING moments. Walking in a room and demanding another level of respect.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start their clothing brand today?
Decide what you want to do, don’t ask for any second opinions, research every day, document your journey, don’t get cocky when you start to see your progress and don’t give up when things get tough! The goal is to establish a solid foundation, create everyday, build lasting relationships and partnerships with people you trust, be able to recognize when its time to switch up the game plan andkeep what works and throw away what doesn’t. KEEP HUSTLING, KEEP LEARNING, KEEP IMPROVING AND ELEVATE YOUR GAME EVERY RELEASE!
You’re pretty fashionable yourself, how did you get into fashion and what do you love most about fashion?
Honestly I didn’t tap into fashion or caring about shoes until I transferred from Duncanville High School to David W Carter. Had I not made that transition I may have never been so heavy on my shoe game. I’ll never forget the days we skipped classes to go to BIG MIKE’S to get Jordans before the official release day, to wear back to the school. The culture and fashion in that high school hallway will always hold a special place in my heart. As I grew up and got to college I stayed on all the blogs, I’m super big on being TAPPED into blogs, conventions, pop ups and I literally OBSESS over all things fashion 24/7/365.
Who are some other designers and brands that inspire you and what is it about them that motivates you?
I’m inspired by all black owned designers. My favorite brand and boss lady would be MILANO the owner of MILANO DI ROUGE! I have been a fan of her for many many years, I still remember her first campaign and blog, I dragged my friends with me to Philly to her fashion show and I got to meet her and she has also helped me with my brand this year. LOVE HER ALWAYS! My second fav is VIRGIL, the collaborations he has with NIKE , LOUIS VUITTON, music artist etc are all inspiring to see. I get HYPE every single time he previews a new drop! I got a chance to hear him speak at COMPLEXCON one year and would you believe I end up running into him at the airport, it was a CRAZY moment I will never forget. Both designers really prove anything is possible and to never count yourself out.
Looks like you’re also a sneaker-head. What are your 5 favorite sneakers?
My Melody Ehsani 1’s. I love JORDAN 1s. LIKE LOVE THEM, since they were $75 and everyone was leaving them on the shelves in the malls because they were “the cheapest Jordans”, haha.. Old days, now you can barely win a pair off SNKRS APP. My other fours picks would have to be the Off-White Sail Jordan 4s (really all the OFF WHITE collabs are LIT) , Travis Scott Airmax 270, gotta love Yeezy ( no 350s though ) and im on a really crazy NIKE DUNK SB wave right now.
You’ve already had some amazing people wear the brand such as Karen Civil. How does it feel to have Karen #COSIGN you?
Karen Civil in POPOUT was one of those opportunities I created for myself. I try to attend a lot of events with special guests and I love Karen’s hustle, so when I heard she was coming to Dallas I asked my friends if they wanted to go and randomly decided to bring her one of my outfits. I did a meet and greet with her and gifted her with some biker shorts and a top and within like two to three hours my notifications were going crazy on IG because she tagged me wearing them out in Dallas and at the airport, it was such a great feeling. I honestly didn’t think she would wear them, so I was caught off guard. I love when celebrities or big influencers accept gifts and tag small brands, to me that speaks volumes! I was super appreciative of that. So many other influencers have worn POPOUT – locally. I would say the whole K104 family for sure, TRAPBOY FREDDY, TITI ( KWAYLON RODGERS ) and so many more. I try not to force my brand on anyone, I believe in the universe aligning those moments, so my focus isn’t too much of a celebrity route but, when those opportunities come up because of word of mouth or by them just reaching out to support it really really means a lot to me. Super thankful.
Outside of POPOUT, what’s another Dallas brand you #COSIGN?
Outside of my clothing line, I #COSIGN the brand #ICON. @ICONTHECOLLECTION super fly streetwear, ran by a super humble and fly dude, SHOUTOUT ICON!