MADI Makes: Empowering women in KC March 22, 2019 15:10
Give a woman a fish and feed her for a day.
Teach a woman to fish and you feed her for a lifetime.
At MADI Apparel, we are proud and honored to be run by women. And as part of Women’s History Month, we want to recognize and honor the women who came before us and those who will come after us—plus the men who helped us along the way.
Women in history
Throughout our history, women have had many different experiences and successes. Women have been warriors and artists, housewives and political champions. We have Marie Curie, Rosa Parks, Frida Kahlo, and Margaret Thatcher. Ada Lovelace, who is considered to be the first computer programmer; Cleopatra, the final Ptolemaic ruler of Egypt; Nellie Bly, an 1890’s investigative journalist.
Whether it’s big inventions or small happenings, what women have done throughout history has paved the way for women of today—and every year, more and more women are joining the workforce because of it. In fact, we have more lady bosses today than every before; more than half of management positions are held by women (you go girls!)
At MADI, we believe in helping women be the best they can be—that’s why we launched our MADI Makes program to help train and employ Kansas City women facing barriers.
MADI Makes: Andrescia
"When there are no ceilings, the sky's the limit. So let's keep going. Let's keep going until every one of the 161 million women and girls across America has the opportunity she deserves to have." —Hillary Clinton
In May of 2018, our non-profit arm (MADI Donations) launched MADI Makes, a seamstress job-training program for at-risk women in Kansas City. This program was designed in partnership with Hope Faith Ministries to help empower women through vocational training.
Our goal was to help women facing barriers and to help end the cycles of chronic homelessness and unemployment in our community—by giving women a skill they can use for the rest of their lives. The women in our program each face unique life challenges and we are with them every step of the way through goal-setting, financial training opportunities, mentoring, and more.
Andrescia is the first graduate of our MADI Makes program. She has long had a passion for sewing and creating something from nothing—she even has a fine arts degree from University of Missouri Kansas City! MADI Makes gave her an outlet for that drive.
“I first started getting into sewing because I wanted to make my own coat,” Andrescia said. “Then it went from making my own coat, to ‘I can sew anything and probably have sewing as a job’.”
And that’s now exactly what she does. After graduation, MADI Apparel hired Andrescia to be a part of our local production team in Kansas City. Now, she'll get to use her skills to help those in need—and get paid doing what she loves. After much perseverance and dedication to show up day after day, this week she started sewing her very first round of underwear that we will pay her for on a contract basis! She's now officially one of our contracted employees!
She loves having the opportunity to explore her passion in a way that not only benefits her, it gives back to others as well. And for Andrescia, this opportunity is a little more personal: She has met many of the people who are on the receiving end of the underwear she has produced through our program.
She knows how they feel and what it’s like being able to receive a basic necessity for free.
“People who can’t afford underwear, people who can’t afford this and that—I really wanted to learn how to do it for them … Now I’m doing a good job for people who need it,” Andrescia said.
When she’s not at work, Andrescia loves hanging out in Midtown (where she lives), hanging out with her cat and visiting JOANN Fabric and Craft, looking around for new and exciting designs to help inspire her next creation.
Helping women—Do your part
"Feminism isn't about making women strong. Women are already strong. It's about changing the way the world perceives that strength." —G.D. Anderson
To celebrate Women’s History Month, we encourage you to go out of your way to support brands that provide employment opportunities for women! Whether you identify as male or female, you can do your part to help change the lives of many women like Andrescia—just through your buying habits.
Some of our favorite women-empowering brands include:
- The By Grace Foundation: This company educates, employs, empowers and elevates women in need.
- Luna Blu Mar: A portion of profits helps educate girls locally and in developing countries
- A.R.E. Soaps: 20% of your purchase goes toward Uganda and India economic development + employing women
- Prosperity Candle: Each purchase provides training and a fair wage for refugees.
- Marie Mae: Each purchase equals one hour of training at the Marie Mae Business School, which helps educate and train young women entrepreneurs.
- Willow Tree Roots: Purchases provide entrepreneurial women with training, education, and financial skills in Kenya.