Judi Henderson-Townsend

Seizing the Opportunity

“I had gone through an entrepreneur training program and learned all aspects of running a business. I had a different business in mind, then the mannequins came up. The class gave me the confidence that the mannequins could be viable. Fortunately, I only had one week to make a decision. Otherwise I might have talked myself way out of it.”

Aggressive Marketing

“When I bought the mannequins, the business owner didn’t leave me his client list. This made me more aggressive in my initial marketing. I looked to the web to reach customers I never would have thought of marketing to. I learned that my website was a moving target and needed lots of updating. I added a blog, shopping cart and tuned my site for search engine optimization.”

Savvy Spin

“We look at Martha Stewart as an example. She is a savvy marketer. We weren’t the first to sell used mannequins. We put a different spin on it. We marketed heavily and used the internet to help get the word out.”

Swag(gering) Ahead

“We were creative about our marketing. We’d send out promotional tools like boxcutters with the company name to department stores’ visual merchandisers. So many people told us that every time they pick up the boxcutter, they think of us. We’ve used this bottom-up approach quite effectively, starting with lower-level people to get into high-end department stores. We also personally make our own Christmas cards with mannequins on the cover.”

Sustaining a Creative Business

“Even if you’re starting a business based on passion, you need to go through all the normal procedures. For creative types this doesn’t always come naturally. The trick is to stick with your skill set and hire people for the things you don’t know how to do.”

Entrepreneurial Dreamer to Business Realist

“There’s a time when you switch from entrepreneur to small-business owner. As an entrepreneur you’re in an inspirational phase. But when you have employees and overhead and you move your business out of your home, you’re a business owner. At this point you set systems in place so the business can run without you. You create a lasting legacy.”

Mental Shift

“I think I’ve shifted. Part of it is also a mental shift. We once thought we were a mom-and-pop enterprise. Now we’ve shifted to more of a business system.”

Colleagues and Business Coaches

“I always found it very valuable to connect with other small-business owners. As an entrepreneur it’s important to have support. And/or, you might hire a business coach to help you because you don’t know what you don’t know. A coach can give you discipline you may not have.”

Continuing Education

“I’m a lifelong student. I love the learning process. It’s easy for me and it’s great networking, so I’m always going to free and inexpensive seminars.”

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