Jasper High grad Garnes, 25, is top entrepreneur
When Ridgeland native Katrina Garnes enrolled as a first-time college student in Florence, she had no idea she'd be graduating as one of the most celebrated young entrepreneurs in the region.
At 25 years old, Garnes has developed her own video marketing company, serves as a communications director for a local church and is Board Director for an organization that helps homeless families transition to a life of independence.
Garnes said while she has already accomplished many of her personal and professional goals, she has so much more planned for the upcoming year.
"My goal for 2015 is I want to go broader than my current reach," Garnes said. "As far as community issues in this area, what's going on with new businesses, an inside look at events in the area...I plan to continue covering that, but go to neighboring areas as well."
Garnes graduated from Jasper County High School in 2007 and enrolled at Francis Marion University that fall. While at college, she created a web-based talk show on YouTube called "What's Going On." The show covers essentially what the title says, what's going on in the community.
She hosts, shoots, and edits all content.
"I started my web show really as a way for me to practice and learn all the aspects behind the camera and this was all while I was in school," Garnes said.
She switched her major once before declaring her major as mass communications with a focus in broadcasting.
She said while the curriculum taught her the essentials, she wanted to know more.
So she reached out to local videographers until one agreed to let her shadow. She taught herself how to edit videos by watching online tutorials.
And in 2011, Garnes earned an internship with WMBF news in Myrtle Beach.
"I would travel one hour every week to intern at the news station," Garnes said. "And I also interned in radio with Quantum Communications."
Garnes' mother Karen Garnes said while Katrina had many situations that could have stopped her from reaching goals, she always pushed right through them.
"I am extremely proud of Katrina," Karen said. "With her modeling, and TV show, and Cold Storm Productions, it's just phenomenal. She's worked hard in life to accumulate what she has."
Karen said her daughter's bubbly, outgoing personality and go-getter attitude are huge assets to her career. And a strong family support system with siblings Kavon and Kadrea and grandparents Adolph and Katrina Simmons help keep her motivated.
"You know whenever I see young people here, I always tell them you can come from Jasper County and achieve a lot," Karen said. "Because all of my children are, I think, very successful."
By the time Garnes graduated from Francis Marion in 2013, she had built so many professional relationships by shooting and editing free promotional videos and commercials for Florence businesses, that it inspired her to start her own company Cold Storm Productions.
On Sept. 10, 2014, Garnes was honored by She Magazine in Florence with the "Young Entrepreneur of the Year" award.
According to a press release for the award, it was her ambition and "overcoming all stigmas that have tried to resist her growth in the field of video production, which is commonly known to be male-dominated," that earned her the merit.
Garnes said she was shocked and excited to receive the award.
Currently living in Florence, Garnes said she will be launching her "What's Going On" blog and relaunching her website to further expand her brand in 2015. She will also continue to work with philanthropic groups like Family Promise of Florence.
Garnes said although Jasper County is small, there are a lot of talented individuals residing there. She has encouraging words for success.
"I would say if you want to do something, you need to learn every aspect of it," Garnes said. "No dream is too big for you to achieve."