“The loan from PCV is helping me to establish a good credit history for my business so I can be in a position to take a bigger loan to build that facility.”
Judi Henderson-Townsend is the owner of Oakland’s Mannequin Madness, a sustainability-focused business that recycles mannequins for retail chains when they close or remodel stores. They rent and sell used and new mannequins, dress forms, mannequin heads, and limbs. Mannequin Madness is the largest mannequin liquidation business in the U.S., and the only one in the Bay Area.
Judi says she stumbled across her business by accident. “I saw a used mannequin for sale on Craigslist, and I was going to buy it for a garden art project. When I met the seller, he had 50 mannequins to sell and casually mentioned that now that he was leaving the state there wasn’t going to be a place to rent a mannequin in the Bay Area. Although I had never touched a mannequin or even worked in retail, I felt this was an opportunity I couldn’t resist. I had planned to only do this as a part-time venture, but once I started recycling mannequins in addition to renting them, everything changed.
Judi was recently profiled in Bloomberg and on ABC News. Her short term goal is to continue to host in-person art classes, as studies show that crafting is a very useful tool helping people relieve stress and anxiety. She says, “our headdress classes are not only a fun activity, but a healing activity. So some of the funds we received from PCV are for a campaign to promote the classes and bring in more customers.”
Her longer term goal is to move her mannequin warehouse to a plot of land in the East Bay that she could develop as a destination for agritourism to showcase her current and upcoming sustainability projects. “We want our facility to be “off the grid” and the structures will be repurposed shipping containers, some of which we will rent out (I am an Airbnb super host!). The loan from PCV is helping me to establish a good credit history for my business so I can be in a position to take a bigger loan to build that facility.”