Judy Hartford started her first clothing store—Bananas, in Martha’s Vineyard—after she and her husband, both psychotherapists, relocated from Long Island's north shore.
It was a chance to reinvent their lives, to take a risk, and explore new passions in lieu of retirement: “We didn’t know what we were going to do,” Hartford says. “I was 59, he was 61, and we went to reinvent ourselves, on a wing and a prayer with no retail experience, “
Now, years later, they’ve taken on another reinvention with Hartford’s current boutique: Red Mannequin, on Warren Street in Hudson.
With Red Mannequin, Hartford’s vision is a welcoming space for diverse customers that provides “comfortable, soft fabrics, unique designs, and things you don’t see in department stores.” It’s the kind of place, with its antique, vintage vibe and thoughtfully-selected designs, where customers can walk right in off the street and find something they connect with.
“It’s colorful, it’s warm,” Hartford says, “My goal is to create an environment that is personal, respectful, a place where you feel welcome and really want to come back."
She notes that while it's an inclusive, fun, and welcoming environment, it may not be for everybody, aesthetically. "It is not a store for everybody. But, the people who get it, they really, really get it," she says. "I want to stay true to the vision that I have and also be aware of what people in this area are looking for. It’s a steep learning curve—but it’s a lot of fun.”
Between now and Labor Day Weekend, the store is holding its first annual summer sale with deals on brands like CP Shades, Fly London Shoes, Sula, Alquema, James Perse.
Hartford also has one rack that she refers to as a “you must be kidding!” sale, because the items, which are the last of their kind in the store, are discounted enough to inspire a genuine “you must be kidding!” reaction.
Interested in checking out Red Mannequin? Visit their location at 508 Warren Street in Hudson and follow them on Instagram @RedMannequin_Hudson.