Mannequin Madness’s Judi Townsend on turning a B2B eCommerce business into a retail business (plus much more!) (episode 007)

mannequin madness podcast

Here is our first American guest! Judi Townsend started Mannequin Madness in 2001 and has built it into an award-winning family business specializing in everything related to mannequins. Selling the most extensive range of mannequins available online, as well as renting, recycling and repairing.

Definitely at the niche end of the Product Range Scale! Mannequin Madness is an Online Only eCommerce business, although you can make an appointment to view the warehouse.

Click to tweet: Mannequin Madness’s Judi Townsend on turning a B2B business into an #eCommerce business on @eComMasterPlan Podcast

Subscribe on your Favourite Podcast App

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
Listen on Google Podcasts

About the business

  • eCommerce Business Structure – Online Only (with private viewings of the warehouse)
  • Product Range Scale – VERY niche, and over 600 lines
  • On a Shopify platform
  • Close to a $1,000,000 turnover
  • 50:50 mix B2C and B2B sales
  • A lean outsourced model, with virtual team, and contractors
  • Based in California USA, sell mainly to USA and Canada
  • Key widgets in the website:
    • YOPTO – for reviews & customer engagement
    • Shopify POS – for integrated payment and inventory when customers visit the warehouse
  • Started in 2001, moved into eCommerce in 2006/7

Most Awesome Thing Right Now

There’s 2!

  1. The environmental difference Mannequin Madness makes – taking unwanted mannequins from retail stores, repairing, and then selling on again.
  2. Sites like Pinterest making it easy to find and inspire customers with unique ideas. Leading to increased demand and more sales.

On the Radar for the Coming Months

Digital Downloads.

Guides to how to do different DIY projects with a mannequin – like turning a Dress Form into a Christmas Tree!

These will be for sale on the website for just $5, and get customers into the buying habit.

Lightbulb Moment

Starting the business – didn’t want to be the Mannequin lady, but stumbled across the business idea, decided to for it within the next 2 weeks, and here we are!

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Pinterest – pictures cross language barriers, and you don’t get the negativity of Facebook

Tool Top Tip

  • Texting is great for keeping in contact with the virtual team
  • to find virtual talent

Start Up Top Tip

  • Look at the eCommerce sites you like to shop at, and see what they do that you really like. Your website will need to speak to your brand.
  • Make sure you choose the right eCommerce platform to start on. Really do your due diligence on the functionality and the back end.

If your business didn’t exist, which eCommerce Business Would you like to be Running?

  • Succulence – love the product, and lots of scope. Definately niche too!

Interview Links