The Accidental Entrepreneur
I am Judi Henderson the owner of Mannequin Madness. I work with a bunch of “stiffs and dummies” and I love it!
I have become known as “mannequin queen” because my website has become the #1 source for products and information about mannequins. If I don’t have it or know it, I can find it for you. What started as a side hustle in 2001 renting mannequins to customers just in the Bay Area has grown into full time international enterprise.
Mannequin Madness is now on the top 5 mannequin distributors in the county and THE largest mannequin recycling company in the US. We have 4 employees and 4 independent contractors and a 3200 square foot warehouse in Oakland.
Besides selling new mannequin products we facilitate the recycling of thousands of pounds of mannequins every month to keep them from going into landfills when retail stores close or remodel. We resell these used mannequins at discount prices on our website.
Almost every major retail chain in the country has used our recycling services on either regional or national basis. They are listed here. The Environmental Protection Agency gave us a special achievement award for our mannequin recycling efforts.
One of my favorite parts of the business is selling all the creative ways that non retail customers use mannequins for various DIY projects, like the dress form Christmas trees.
Note: If you are interested in making one we teach zoom classes and sell digital tutorials to show you how.
I stumbled into this business by accident. It is never easy to be a small business owner. And being a woman owned, Black owned business in a niche industry is especially challenging. But it is one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Did I mention that I had no previous experience as an entrepreneur and that my degree from the University of Southern California was in journalism, not business?
How does a middle aged Black woman find success in an industry that is overwhelmingly white and male? And how can a business with deep roots in the fashion industry be located in Oakland, Ca far away from the fashion capitals of NY world ?
For answers to those questions, check out our timeline here.