As part of our continuing series with The New York Times, today we feature a video and article on Judi Henderson-Townsend, who rents and sells mannequins through her Oakland, Calif., business, Mannequin Madness.
We were drawn to Henderson-Townsend because of the unusual nature of work — and were certainly not disappointed by her vast showroom (shown in our video) filled with arms, legs and torsos of all sizes. How often do you get to interview an entrepreneur who makes a living selling body parts?
Turns out, being in such a quirky industry has its drawbacks. Henderson-Townsend is trying to become a million-dollar business, but has had trouble finding similar businesses (there aren’t many) to emulate. And doing such an out-of-the-ordinary line of work can take a toll on your self-esteem. People sometimes call her “The Mannequin Lady” or “Miss Madness.” “I could not have done this when I was younger,” says Henderson-Townsend, now 56. But, “now I love the wacky, whimsical quality of being the Mannequin Lady.”
We do, too. Watch the video and read her full story here or as featured on the Times here. And if you’d like to share your own inspiring startup story, be a part of our 1,000 Stories campaign and use this form to tell us about your accomplishments and challenges.