Displaying everything from lingerie to elegant coats and gowns, mannequins can boost sales by showing off merchandise to its best advantage.
The number of mannequins you buy will depend on your budget, the size of your store, and the amount of clothing and accessories that you sell. These factors will also determine whether you want to go with full-sized models or torsos. Know your inventory and determine what types of mannequins will best accentuate your merchandise.
Most mannequins today are fiberglass. Some are adjustable, and others arrive in one set position. Typically, full-sized mannequins range in price from $150 to $1,000, depending on their quality and flexibility. Remember, you get what you pay for. Cheaper mannequins may not last as long as expensive models and may not provide the look you desire for your clothing lines.
While manufacturers have been making mannequins for decades, selling them through showroom in New York, Paris, and other key fashion centers, the Internet has also become a prime source for finding some of the many suppliers. Look at suppliers such as:
Through these vendors, you can select from a number of mass-produced models. The leading manufacturers also offer one-of-a-kind pieces, but they cost much more. Unless you have a very specialized product line or are looking to run a special promotion, such high-end, unique mannequins may not be practical. In fact, the most practical option is to purchase one of the positionable models.
There are a host of leading manufacturers worldwide that have made an art out of designing modern mannequins with style and elegance, enhancing the finest designer outfits. For example, Adel Rootstein mannequins are chic and created to “reflect and transmit the evolving fashion shapes by epitomizing ‘the moment’ as each mannequin is created,” as the company explains. Carol Barnhart, meanwhile, has been producing “sporty” mannequins for sportswear collections, while Decter, a division of Silvestri California that has been in the mannequin business for more than 80 years, has more than 3,000 proprietary molds; custom design and production make up over 50 percent of its sales.
Another veteran company is Greneker Mannequins, in business for 65 years, with customers including Macy’s and Sieman’s. One option Greneker offers is the Canvas model with no facial features. In this way, the clients can create their own distinctive looks. They also have a line of tween mannequins. Other companies include Hindsgaul, in business more than 90 years, and the Korean-based Miz International, manufacturing mannequins for 50 years with clients such as Giordano, Bossini, and DKNY. In short, there are numerous companies to consider in search of a look and style that suits your clientele and fits within your budget.
Used mannequins are also an option, provided they are in good condition. Mannequin Madness in Oakland, Calif., is one of several businesses dealing in used mannequins, and eBay offers another option. You’ll also find used mannequins at stores that are going out of business, and from retailers who are updating to newer models. While the look and hair style of some older mannequins may seem dated to some retailers, others find a retro-chic look appealing. The clothes make the mannequin, so you can enhance a used mannequin with the right fashion.
Whether you seek a realistic or an abstract look, you should be able to find mannequins to meet your needs. Finding the right location, using proper poses, and providing good lighting will enhance the possibilities of this standard tool. Also, placing mannequins on platforms draws more attention to the display. Finally, proper maintenance is essential: Cleaning, painting, and replacing worn or broken parts will keep your mannequins working for you for years to come — and you don’t even have to pay them Workers’ Comp.