So, what else is new for “anything goes” La Vegas? For Alison Wainwright, founder and president of Las Vegas Mannequins, being creepy is just the solution she needed to not just defy and insulate her from the ravages of the recession, but experience rapid growth as well.
Although mannequins make the flesh crawl for many people, she has the distinction of having Las Vegas’ only full-service source for the purchase, rental and repair of mannequins, torsos, lower bodies, heads, glossies, poseables, plastic, fiberglass, faceless ciphers, and full-featured dummies. Made in men, women, teens and children models, she even takes it one step further, offering “sexy mannequins,” which are “bigger.”
Some of her sales – full-size mannequins sell for between $150 and $330, with rentals for a only a little less – go to adult entertainment businesses and burlesque dancers who arrange their costumes on them.
Las Vegas police officers buy mannequins for use in car crash demonstrations, faux planted officers in cars to slow down drivers on freeways, and provide lifelike shooting targets.
Others use the creepy bits and pieces for Halloween displays and haunted houses. Students like them for art projects and movies. But far and away, the bulk of Wainwright’s business comes from conventions, especially clothing expos.
The convention business is where Wainwright started out in 2004. Since then she has rented a storage unit, and then moved into a warehouse just west of the Wynn Las Vegas.
Sales have been up 100 percent, just as they have been every year since she opened. And in the last two years her mannequins have made it possible to buy her a new house.