Meet MADI Apparel, for every pair of underwear they sell, they donate a pair to a woman in need. Why? Because underwear is the most needed, under-donated item of clothing. MADI Apparel is a women’s undergarment brand with the dedication to Make a Difference domestically and globally. MADI was founded upon the principles of American manufacturing, self-sustaining fabrics/packaging and global impact through underwear donations.
The MADI brand was developed around the core values of Heart, Confidence, Comfort, and Wear-ability. The styles were created with simplicity in mind. Each style is named after a woman – symbolizing the impact women can make in this world if they’re able to achieve their full potential. The goal at MADI is to create positive worldly change with the help of a garment everyone needs – underwear.
MADI does an amazing job in all aspects of their eco-system. The most impressive part of this eco-system is taking the time to develop a domestic manufacturing relationship. American made fashion has long been outsourced by major brands, who actually have the ability to set up domestic production, but choose not to do so due to profit margins and pressure from stock holders. It is so refreshing and exciting to see MADI’s approach out the gate to take on domestic manufacturing and impact local lives within her own community.
Below is a quick interview with the Hayley Besheer, founder of MADI Apparel.
Lets talk about how MADI was born. Take us through the idea process and when you decided to really launch your social enterprise brand.
The idea of MADI was born in New Smyrna Beach, Florida where my friend Molly and I moved on a whim after graduating from the University of Missouri. I had degrees in Journalism and Fine Arts and she was finishing her degree in Fashion Merchandising. We were both bartending at the time, really just living life after previously facing pressures to seek a corporate job that “fit our majors.” So, we both started talking about fashion and Molly brought up how her college professor gave a sermon on recycled fabrics.
That interested us, and upon further investigation, we came across the statistic that underwear is the most needed, under-donated item of clothing. Around the same time, a family member of mine revealed that over 30 years ago before her longtime marriage, she fell victim to domestic abuse in a previous relationship. Domestic violence wasn’t in the media much at this time, so I didn’t know much about it.
However, I did learn that survivors of domestic violence come in many forms – and this time she came in the form of a strong, beautiful, successful woman who was once manipulated by her abuser. These two details were tied together after learning that underwear lands on the most urgent needs list at almost every domestic violence shelter and other women’s organizations across the country. We wanted to do something to fulfill a need and make women feel great. Because, after all.. It’s not just underwear — it’s dignity! Molly is no longer co-founder, but she organizes many of our donation drop-offs and has attended at least 10 with me.
MADI‘s products are made in Kansas City. how important was it and how difficult was it to get domestic manufacturing accomplished?
Take us through the eco-system of MADI. Where and how are the products made? Who makes them? And finally, when a product is purchased what organization(s) does that impact?
Products are designed in-house by me, and are cut and sewn in Shawnee, Kansas! We purchase viscose from bamboo fabric and luxury laces from a US supplier, but they are the only goods we import. However, our fabrics are also a very important element in our cause-based structure. They reduce our waste on the environment because of how long-lasting they are – this means less cycling through underwear and tossing in the trash. Our viscose from bamboo fabrics are high-quality, fast-drying, odor-preventing and durable – allowing the undies to be washed and hang dried overnight. Our original manufacturing team was in South Carolina, but last February we started production in the Kansas City area! We wanted to find the best way to involve customers in the giving process. So, in addition to domestically producing MADI Apparel and using durable, low waste fabrics, we also donate a pair for every pair sold. TOMS shoes was the originator of this give back model. I owned a pair in college and became inspired by the donation + fashion elements. I knew this would be a giving model that customers would quickly understand.
As a social enterprise you sort of have to wear two hats. One hat is running a business and the other hat is making sure the social good aspect of the brand is staying up to par. How do you manage both aspects and do you find yourself concentrating on more on one hat than the other?
As MADI continues to grow, do you plan on branching out to more products such as swimwear, bras, and more lingerie?
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