This Black-woman took a side hustle and made it into a fruitful career!
Judi Henderson-Townsend is the founder and CEO of Mannequin Madness, a company that recycles mannequins from major retail chains when they close and remodels and resells them at discount prices. The best part? She’s making millions of dollars by doing so.
Based out of Oakland, CA, Mannequin Madness — the only Black-owned mannequin company in the country — is made up of a team of employees and contractors and Judi has made such a name for herself that people in the industry often refer to her as “The Mannequin Queen.”
“My clients include everybody from struggling fashion students to high-end department stores,” said Judi in an interview with Curious Business. “I’m the Jay-Z of Mannequins.”
After receiving her degree in journalism from the University of Southern California, she went on to gain over 20 years of experience working at Fortune 500 companies and notes that she never envisioned herself as an entrepreneur selling mannequins.
“When I started the business in 2001, it was a side hustle renting mannequins out of my backyard,” said Judi via the company’s website. “A brief stint at a dot com and a craigslist post changed everything for me. Now I have 4 employees, 4 contractors, a warehouse, and am referred to as ‘the Mannequin Queen’ due to my industry knowledge and online presence.”
Judi managed to enter the business after meeting the owner of the Bay Area’s only mannequin rental company and learning that he was leaving town at the same time!
From there, she purchased all of his inventory and the rest is now history.
Over the past 20 years, Judi proposes that her company has managed to recycle more than 400,000 pounds of mannequins.
Thanks to the company’s success, they’ve secured top awards like the Living History Maker Award from Wells Fargo and the Special Achievement Award from the Environmental Protection agency.
Learn more about Mannequin Madness by clicking here.