Do you want to start a mannequin company? If YES, here is a 18-step guide on how to start a mannequin production business with no money and no experience. To a layman, mannequins are dolls or dummies that are used to show the latest trends of a store. They are important tools of retail business. These things communicate with the customers through visual merchandising even before they enter the shop.

Displaying fashion apparels of the store is the first step to attract prospective customers to the store. It also gives free publicity of the store’s collection. If a customer sees the window display of the store first, they can decide to enter the store on the basis of the information they gathered from the window display. Mannequins add value to the merchandise. They draw attention to the collection of the shop and lure the customers to buy garments and thus generate income for the store.

But you need to understand that displaying is not the only purpose of mannequins. Mannequins can give a complete understanding of the utility of the product. For instance each occasion needs different clothes. Like sportswear is needed while playing games, bridal gown for wedding or a swimwear on a beach. Mannequins can effectively showcase which apparel to wear; when and how.

18 Steps to Starting a Mannequin Production Business in the US

1. Understand the Industry

The global mannequin market shows an impressive CAGR throughout the forecast period, 2017 to 2022. Revenues from mannequin sales across the globe will surpass US$ 13,000 by the end of the forecasted period. Just like most of the manufacturing domains, the mannequin industry is striving to start using recycled materials so that retailers will have no need to compromise while seeking eco solution.

Within the past few years, the figures of mannequins with same position and pose were created by manufacturers for creating visual impact. But with competition and innovation, mannequins are set to become more dramatic, with rising levels of movement, fun, and dynamism.

Also with environmental credentials becoming the key to several mannequin manufacturers, they will continuously seek new materials for production as well as packaging of mannequins, while keeping their carbon footprint in check. A handful of industry players are also using water-based paints, recycled cardboard & paper, and bio resins wherever possible.

Most key players in this business are supporting clients across the globe, and are also focusing on extending their services toward untapped markets. Also the suppliers in the market are adjusting their focus toward increasing their brand awareness, with mature buyers moving toward supplier consolidation.

Interesting Statistics About the Industry

A key trend being observed in the market are mannequins equipped with facial recognition software, which track the race, sex, and age of retail customers for companies to market and rebrand their stores accordingly. When it comes to industry revenues, Asia-Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ) and Europe will continue to be the most lucrative markets for mannequins.

The market in North America will register a relatively higher CAGR than in Europe, and lower CAGR than in APEJ through 2022. Also between the mannequin markets in Japan, and Middle East and Africa (MEA), the former will reflect a slightly higher CAGR, and the latter is likely to hold a comparatively larger market revenue share during the forecast period.

Statistics has shown that fiberglass will continue to be the most attractive material used for manufacturing mannequins across the globe. Sales of polyethylene and polypropylene-based mannequins will also register an impressive expansion in the market through 2022.

Wood and metal will remain the least profitable material used for manufacturing mannequins around the world. Between foam- and chrome-based mannequins, sales of both will register nearly similar CAGR through 2022. However, chrome-based mannequins will remain more lucrative in the market than foam-based mannequins.

Also note that based on product type, the sale of full body mannequins are expected to account for the largest revenue share of the market within the next few years. Demand for full body mannequins will further witness a significant rise by 2022-end. Upper body mannequins will continue to be the second most lucrative product in the market.

2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The mannequin production business is a great business for creative individuals. A lot of businesses in this age need both advertising and visual representation, and a Mannequin can do both. A successful business owner should have a good perspective for branding, packaging, and forward-thinking designs.

He must be imaginative, hard-working and have a good eye for environmentally friendly designs. Note that customers in this industry are different depending on the niche and industry you plan to serve. This is why it’s important to focus on your business’s market segment. You need to understand that getting into the market is mostly difficult.

Luxury markets may require minimalistic designs, whereas accessible markets tend to be far more flexible. High-end department stores, meanwhile, can have a variety of markets. The ideal consumer-base is a stable one, and it exists in a stable market.

3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On

The more realistic and humanlike the mannequin is, the more it costs to produce.  Mannequins that are hand sculpted can cost $1,000. These are the brands of mannequins you find in window displays at high end stores. They feature realistic features, fluid poses, eyelashes, and human hair wigs. A lot of Chinese importers have tried to copy these styles using thinner layers of fiberglass and plastic fittings instead of metal.

And instead of starting with a human figure that is sculpted in clay and then a mould is made, they start with a mould like if you were making a doll. The difference is obvious and so is the price. This industry is very competitive and to secure a market share you need to specialize on a particular niche. Below are few niches in this business:

  • Male Mannequins
  • Female Mannequins
  • Baby Mannequins
  • Teen Mannequins
  • Youth Mannequins
  • Toddler Mannequins
  • Headless Mannequins
  • Featureless Mannequins
  • Abstract Mannequins
  • Lighted Mannequins
  • Transparent Mannequins
  • Plus Size Mannequins
  • Inflatable Mannequins
  • Flexible Mannequins
  • Realistic Mannequins
  • Maternity Mannequins
  • Museum Mannequins
  • Custom Mannequins
The Level of Competition in the Industry

The demand for mannequins has grown with the rise of clothing brands. Looking at the regional expansion of the mannequin market, Asia-Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ) is likely to retain its spot as the largest market for mannequins.

Have it in mind that almost one third revenue share of the worldwide mannequin market belongs to the sales made in the APEJ region. Based on these statistics, the APEJ market looks quite promising during the forecast period, followed by North America. Also note that the market in Europe stays comparatively more profitable as compared to North America, but less lucrative than APEJ during the period between 2017 and 2022.

It’s very necessary to state that mannequins are prepared using a variety of materials. Some of the popular material types include fibre glass, chrome, polyethylene, foam, metal etc. Experts in this industry expect body mannequins to become the most promising product type in the global mannequin market.

Also, sales of full body as well as upper body mannequins are likely to register the firmest expansion by the period until 2022. Demand for full body mannequins is going to witness a steady rise by the end of the forecast period. According to the same report, the primary target group for mannequins is the adults segment.

Statistics has it that the adults segment might account more than US$ 6,000 Mn by the end of 2022.  Also note that the infants & toddlers segment remains the least profitable group during this period. Innovation and development has led to the availability of inflatable mannequins, which is one of the favourite versions in terms of features.

4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry

  • ABC Mannequins
  • Cofrad
  • Global Display Projects Limited
  • Bonami
  • Larosaitaly
  • Shenzhen Huaqi
  • New John Nissen Mannequins S.A.
  • Mondo Mannequins
  • Pentherformes Group
  • Window Mannequins
  • Hans Boodt
  • Retailment
  • Bonaveri
  • Almax, Goldsmith
  • Bernstein Display
  • Atrezzo
  • Norlaine
Economic Analysis

Note that a Mannequin Production business profits from positioning its designs effectively. Although the business can make money by advertising products alone, its long-term success will rely on a firm understanding of appeal.

If a mannequin Production business has a slew of prototypes, markets effectively, strikes solid partnerships, and creates memorable mannequins, it can grow wildly. The world’s most successful mannequin Production businesses are international, using massive marketing campaigns, sales kits, and partnership networks to grow exponentially.

5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

A lot of people willing to start a business think that the only way to pursue a business acquisition is by starting from the scratch. Apart from situations that need extensive innovation or highly unique value propositions, it’s usually less risky to buy an existing mannequin Production business.

Have it in mind that a known Mannequin Production business is a known quantity; a start-up is less certain because its expectations rest on estimated outcomes. In a best case scenario, you’ll be able to locate a turnkey operation with proven profitability and a well-oiled business model.

Statistics have shown many times over that achieving your business goals are high when you buy a franchise and make use of their successful brand and track record. Note that when planning to start and run a mannequin Production business, the best option is to research whether there are good franchise opportunities available that might increase your chances of success in the industry.

6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

These doll-like products play a very important role in the fashion industry. They have a great influence over the sales of any fashion store and they also influence the consumer’s self-image. These lifeless figures have been synonymous with the society’s perception of an ideal/perfect body type.

Note that the average mannequin measurement has continually shrunk over the years. In the post industrial revolution, the mannequins were big busted with extremely thin waist exhibiting the beauty standards of that time. Today, mannequins have shed a lot of weight. Barriers of starting this business in the United States may include;

  • Capital
  • Suitable location
  • Raw materials
  • Understanding the market
  • Production knowledge
  • Rigorous legal processes

7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)

When weighing your options and planning for your mannequin Production business, note that you have just two legal entities that seem to suit the business squarely- sole proprietorship and the LLC. But you will need to know that the legal entity you choose out of the two should be based on the size and scale of the business.

If your business is all about the income and interest of your clients, the LLC is the best legal entity for your business be it small, medium or large. It’s important to state that the advantage of creating an LLC typically outweighs any perceived disadvantages.

  • Flexible management structure
  • Few restrictions
  • Protected assets
  • Heightened credibility
  • Limited compliance requirements

8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below

  • Super Mannequin
  • King dolls
  • First choice
  • Mantle Mannequin
  • CC mannequins

9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

A Production company needs insurance to safeguard its workers, protect itself and its owners. You need to understand that the mannequin Production Business has so many pitfalls, and one can never be too careful. As a business owner who wants to make profit and protect his investment, you need to protect your business, supplies, customers and employees by making sure you have the best business insurance. Insurance you will need may include;

  • Mannequin Production General Liability Insurance
  • Mannequin Production property insurance
  • Mannequin Production Equipment Breakdown Insurance
  • Mannequin Production commercial auto insurance
  • Mannequin Production umbrella insurance
  • Mannequin Production Workers’ Compensation
  • Mannequin Production crime insurance

10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

There are a lot of mannequin Production companies in the United States and the industry is highly competitive due to the need to differentiate one brand from the other. It is for that reason that you have to come up with a brand name for your mannequin. It’s advisable that you devise means to make it easy for customers to differentiate your brand from other brands.

So, in order to patent a name for your brand, visit the patenting office which is under the library board in your county. Just like a lot of new entrants in the business world, you might think it’s not important for your business, but note that filing for intellectual property protection for your Mannequin Production business  goes beyond protecting your company’s logo and other documents, but also protecting your investments, ideas, style, and of course the name of your company.

If you really decide to protect your intellectual properties and also register your trademark in the United States, you have to start by filing an application with the USPTO.

11. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

To avoid business shut down and problems with government authorities, it is advisable that you take this issue seriously. The legal aspect of a business is something you shouldn’t joke with when starting a business/company. If you have visions for your business and you want people to take you serious, then you have to research and acquire all documents needed to run your business hitch freely. Documents you will need to run a Mannequin Production business in the United States may include:

12. Raise the Needed Startup Capital

In this line of business, you need enough capital to set yourself up for success. If you can get the necessary capital/resources on your own, then much better. But if you can’t, you do not need to worry too much, there are always individuals, companies, investors who are willingly to invest in or go into partnership with you. You should investigate reliable sources of funds which could be accessed. Possible sources include:

13. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

One huge decision every production business has to make is the choice of location for the business. Most production sites are sited in the outskirts of town, which is why you need to make sure you get a good warehouse that will accommodate all the equipment and other things needed for your mannequin Production.

You can look out for an industrial estate that is away from a residential area. But ensure that your realtor gets you a place that can accommodate all the equipment that you have, and do not forget that you would need space that can serve as a lounge for your factory workers. Other things to consider may include;

  • Demographics and Psychographics
  • Accessibility
  • Safety
  • Capital

14. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs

To succeed in this business, creativity, design and experience are must-have qualities. As a start-up, you’ll need to get in touch with local providers. Always ensure that your mannequin represents the product’s needs effectively. By understanding a product’s price point, you can create memorable mannequins which serve multiple purposes.

Mannequins just like we stated above are realistic doll models that are used to model clothes and accessories. They should be to give designers and consumers a hint of how certain clothing, material or accessories will look on an individual. Mannequins are made from a variety of materials.

  • Wood

History has it that the very first mannequins were manufactured from wood. Wood is very sturdy and may have been used primarily for this very reason. These mannequins were made with balls and sockets to make joints that form the leg and arm to function. These mannequins can also be painted to present a life-like image.

But some disadvantages of wood mannequins are their heaviness, which may cause the transport cost to rise. Note that even though wood can be painted to be life-like, the wood itself does not offer this look, due to it being an abstract material. Also with time, wood mannequins tend to crack and tear, which is almost impossible to repair or even hide.

  • Polystyrene

Polystyrene is a strong plastic that is indestructible and its durable. This plastic has been used to produce mannequins for roughly the past 15 years. Polystyrene is also lightweight and transports cheaply. This type of material may be injected with dyes to create a variety of eye-pleasing colours.

Companies in need of many mannequins at one time benefit from purchasing polystyrene mannequins because the material is cheap and easy to transport. But one disadvantages of polystyrene is that it cannot be sprayed over and can be expensive due to the restrictions on styles and moulds.

  • Fiberglass

This is presently the most widely used material for producing mannequins. This material has a balanced ratio of weight and sturdiness. Fiberglass mannequins also transport for a reasonable price and can last for a long time with proper care.

Fiberglass is easily painted or painted over and can be changed into different looks when necessary. It’s very important to state that paint smoothly covers fiberglass to make simple life-like renditions on the fiberglass model. This material can also be affixed with balls and joints—enabling the model to look even more realistic.

The Service Delivery Process of the Business

In the past few years, mannequins were made of wood, plaster and other heavier materials. But with the advent of technology, lighter-weight yet resilient materials made fiberglass mannequins the standard. Reports has it that the emergence of fiberglass allowed for the mass-production of display mannequins that we currently see.

Display mannequins are available in all shapes, styles and sizes… from abstract mannequins painted in all white, to highly detailed, realistic mannequins complete with musculature and makeup. Also the use of fiberglass gives room for more detail where it’s wanted, as well as making the mannequins simpler to assemble by being lighter weight.

It is not as resilient as a piece of solid wood, but certainly stands up well to the relatively minimal abuse that most department store mannequins experience. In this new age, plastic mannequins have become more and more popular in the market comparing to traditional fibreglass mannequins. This is because plastic mannequins have the following advantages:

  • Most things used in the plastic mannequins are more environmentally friendly due to the fact that they are recyclable. At the end of the mannequin’s life cycle, it can be broken up to small plastic pieces to be reconstructed into another mannequin, or other plastic goods.
  • Fiberglass mannequins are very fragile when compared to plastic mannequins. Fibreglass is very brittle and can be scratched easily. If a fibreglass mannequin is dropped, it is very likely that the damage would be far too great to be restorable; while plastic mannequins have far greater strength and are less prone to damage. They are also far more scratch resistant and would have a greater life cycle compared to a fibreglass mannequin
  • Also from an economic standpoint, plastic mannequins would have a higher value for money. This meaning, when mass-produced, plastic mannequins could have lower cost compared to fibreglass mannequin. This is because plastic mannequins are factory-made with far less physical labour to construct. However, if only a few mannequins are required, the fibreglass option would be cheaper because the moulding cost of the plastic mannequin exceeds the moulding cost for fibreglass one.

15. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies

Where promotion and marketing are considered, a mannequin Production business needs to cater to industry niches. A Mannequin Production business needs to use tactile, materials, or structural elements to tell a story. Then, use your samples to grab the attention of local business owners. Once you’ve succeeded in the local realm, expand your opportunities by creating more retail-ready packaging.

  • Product Knowledge

This is without doubt a necessary requirement for marketing a mannequin Production business. Even if you outsource marketing or handle it in-house, the more familiar marketing personnel are with your products’ distinctive characteristics, the smoother it will be to create marketing strategies that differentiate your mannequin Production business in the competitive industry.

Have it in mind that this technique is very crucial that SMBs are advised to consult a marketing professional to identify and exploit their brands’ product-based value propositions.

  • Using Geolocation Marketing

The emergence of smart phones has made mobile technology a must-have resource for today’s consumers. In this age people use mobile devices for geolocation shopping. As a mannequin Production business owner, geolocation features can be a powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal.

Geolocation marketing is an emerging trend, although it is difficult for small businesses to get in on the action without the assistance of a marketing firm that is experienced in creating mobile-based marketing strategies. There are a lot of ways to influence consumers through mobile GPS.

  • Manage bad Publicity

Most mannequin Production business owners don’t know how to avoid or manage bad publicity. The worst way to handle negative buzz in your business is to put off developing a response until reporters are pounding on your door, demanding a comment from a company spokesperson. Experts advise that you have an updated crisis response plan in place at all times. In a crisis, accurate contact lists can be a lifesaver.

16. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win

Agreeably, the best ways to come wholly into the spotlight is to bring something new to the table; coming to the market with a missing piece of the puzzle. It’s very advisable that you check out what your competitors are doing, then look for something else.

Always be keen to discover something that may have the potential to sell but is yet to be produced. This is because the world is always looking for something new, the next best thing that can add even more to the uniqueness of Mannequin Production. Various means to outshine your competitors may include…

17. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers

It is the dream of every business to get to that level where there are known for what they offer and how they offer them. Having customers who stick to your business and talk about how good your products are can go a long way to help your business achieve success. This is why to retain your customers in the Mannequin Production business, you need to;

18. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

You need to understand that the road to mannequin Production business success is a long and tiring one. Run through your mannequin Production process endlessly, and revise constantly. If your clients aren’t interested in your designs, find out why. To compete in the mannequin Production business, you’ll need to have a good handle on customer mind sets. You’ll also need to develop compelling products.

You need to understand that the success of your Mannequin Production business means making a name for yourself. Interestingly, the social media is a fast way to build up any brand. You can start by identifying influencers and engage with them.

In little time, those individuals will create some buzz around your service. You can also use social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google+ to keep them and your customers up to date with your accomplishments.

  • Product Placement

Note that this most times involves ads placed within videos, shows, online stories, or other types of media. Be it links, written words, video, or visuals, the way you use it depends on your objectives and budget.

  • Resellers

A reseller is known to buy a batch of your products and sell them at a higher cost. But the benefit is that these partners often visit potential buyers in person and tell them about the product. But you will have to sell your models at a discount price to the reseller.

  • Online ads

Reports have shown that this technique also known as online advertising is one of the top ways a starting business can grow its brand and find new customers. You have a lot of options available in this particular strategy, such as pay-per-click, paid social media, display advertising, and in-app ads. Note that direct website advertising is also a good idea.

Ejike Cynthia