Circling Back: Embracing Change Pays Off for Judi Henderson-Townsend

The owner of Mannequin Madness, first featured by The Story Exchange 4 years ago, has found that change can lead to new and exciting places — and once-elusive revenue goals.

Candice Helfand-Rogers By Candice Helfand-Rogers

logo-designChange can be scary — but that doesn’t mean it has to be bad, as Judi Henderson-Townsend, the woman behind Mannequin Madness, has learned.

When we first featured Henderson-Townsend in 2012, she had already been at the helm of her self-described “quirky” venture selling mannequins for over a decade. And when we followed up in 2014 for our feature on her in The New York Times, her Oakland, Calif., company was thriving, but struggling to scale past the $1 million mark.

Since then, a lot has changed. The largest business development is her move to a 4,000-square-foot location, which she undertook to accommodate an influx of mannequins from a foundering American Apparel in early 2016. The move doubled the amount of space she had to work with, igniting Henderson-Townsend’s imagination. She is now envisioning hosting trunk shows for her clients and will soon install a commercial kitchen to make it appealing for event rentals. She says the additional cash flow from these new initiatives should push her revenue into the previously elusive six-digit range.

In a big personal change, Henderson-Townsend also went through a divorce and her former husband left the company. Though tough, there was a silver lining in the people she hired to replace him, who have brought new life and fresh ideas to Mannequin Madness — and changed her attitude about having employees entirely. (“I tried the employee route; it’s not my temperament,” she asserted in our video profile.) Their innovations and social media outreach efforts have increased sales and brand awareness in previously uncharted territories, such as Scotland and Australia. She also brought on a business coach, who has helped her streamline how she runs her business day to day.

In addition to growing Mannequin Madness, Henderson-Townsend is also hard at work on a how-to book on launching and running an online business — due, in part, to requests she received from viewers of our video. She’s also in a new relationship. Indeed, there are many new adventures on the horizon, but after navigating a series of personal and professional shifts, Henderson-Townsend says she’s “fearless” about the future.

Check out Judi Henderson-Townsend’s TSE video profile:

Posted: November 3, 2016

Candice Helfand-RogersCircling Back: Embracing Change Pays Off for Judi Henderson-Townsend