Paying Attention To An Opportunity

The mannequin queen: How one woman built a business out of retailers’ trash

In November of 2000, Townsend was browsing Craigslist for Tina Turner concert tickets when something unusual caught her eye.

“There was this mannequin,” she says. “I thought, ‘Oh, that’s weird; I’ll use it for a mosaic project in my garden!’”

When she went to pick it up in San Francisco, she was greeted by a strange scene: A dingy, dark warehouse with dozens of fashion mannequins strewn about in various poses — some limbless and disassembled, others regal and pristine. “I was kind of horrified,” says Townsend. “I was like, ‘Where’d you get these and what do you do with them?’”

The seller, she learned, was a former window-dresser who’d started a mannequin rental business — and as it so happened, he was getting rid of his inventory and moving to Vermont.

“He casually said, ‘Too bad I’m leaving; I’m the only one doing this here,’” recalls Townsend. “And a lightbulb went off in my head.”

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

There are two lessons in this great story:

1) You want to be the only.

2) If you can’t make a living in America, you’re not paying attention.

Plus what Orison Swett Marden said:

Previously here:

Human Variables category

This entry was posted in Human Variables. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Paying Attention To An Opportunity

  1. zach_r says:

    Thanks for this post. I originally came to this blog over a year ago for alt wheels posts and stayed for little insights like this. I understand you’ve reached a bit of a crossroads recently regarding the future of your blog, but just know I read and appreciate what you put out. All the best!

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