Mannequins have been a part of the design and display world longer than you may think. The earliest example of the use of a mannequin dates all the way back to the days of King Tutankhamen, when in 1923 archaeologists discovered an armless, legless, wooden torso in the ancient pharaoh’s tomb.
Thousands of years later, the simple mannequin is still a vital tool for store owners across the world. Judi Henderson Townsend, founder and owner of Mannequin Madness, knows the importance of these humanlike pieces, but has brought her own twist to them.
From The Beginning
Judi got her start in an interesting way; through a Craigslist ad. After looking around for Tina Turner concert tickets, she discovered a man selling mannequins. After visiting the man and talking to him for a while, Judi discovered that he rented mannequins. On a spur of the moment decision, she decided to buy all of the man’s mannequins, and start her own business.
When she started her business of selling, renting and repurposing used mannequins, there was no one in the San Francisco Bay Area doing this same business. She started out renting out mannequins part time, but it soon evolved into a full fledged business, working with both major chain stores and small businesses.
Used Is The New Black
Judi gets most of her mannequins from large department and retail stores, who usually throw away their mannequins when they become worn or out of style. In less than six months, Mannequin Madness’s inventory went from 50 to more than 500 mannequins, all collected from retail stores who were ready to throw them out.
The used mannequins appeal to everyone, from multimillion dollar chains to small businesses on a budget. They even started shipping their mannequins across the U.S., and even internationally to places in China! And the inventory is constantly growing and expanding outward.
One of the more unique aspects of Judi’s business is her use of mannequins as a decorative piece, rather than just a display for inventory. Her DIY projects include using mannequins as centerpieces of floral arrangements, garden décor, and even Christmas trees!
Mannequin Madness makes great use of social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Their Pinterest account is a great place to find all of the wonderful designs and customized mannequins for anyone who’s interested in trying this out for their own business.
More than 40 different boards make up their Pinterest page, and Judi said that their business receives hundreds of emails asking about their custom mannequins and how store owners can make creations of their own. Judi said she always directs people to their Pinterest page, because it’s a great way to promote creativity and ideas.
Tips For Business Owners
As far as how business owners can use mannequins for more than just product displays, she had these tips:
Use mannequins to create high impulse purchases from customers walking by on the streets.