Founder Hayley wanted to symbolize how vulnerable women can feel when they don't have access to new, clean underwear. On Christmas Eve, she stood in her underwear in a busy shopping area in Kansas City, MO to raise awareness.
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WHY DOES MADI EXIST?
Founder Hayley learned underwear is the most under-donated clothing item & formed MADI in 2012 after learning a family member was once a victim of domestic violence. Underwear tops the most urgent needs list at most domestic violence shelters and sexual assault clinics.
The roots of MADI Apparel began developing in 2012 when founder Hayley was having an intimate conversation with a close family member.
THE STORY IS BEST DESCRIBED IN FOUNDER HAYLEY'S WORDS...
"A few years back, a close family member confided in me about a toxic, manipulative, abusive relationship with a boyfriend from her past who threatened to kill her and her loved ones. This all happened in her young life, years before I was born and years before she met her now-husband of 30 years.
This conversation opened my eyes to the possibility that even the strongest of humans can find themselves sucked into abuse from a manipulative partner. Even the people you've always looked up to, the ones who seem so strong and confident, the ones who lead perfectly happy lives. When things turned really scary and my loved one was ready, she had supportive friends and family members step up and help her escape this life-threatening partnership. Not all victims are so lucky.
Around the same time, I learned a shocking statistic - that UNDERWEAR IS THE MOST NEEDED, UNDER-DONATED ITEM OF CLOTHING IN THE US. I did a little research with friends and started calling homeless shelters to follow up with this statistic. Turns out, it's true. Here's the part that feels like MADI was a true calling for my life. The homeless shelters suggested that we reach out to domestic violence shelters, as they are always looking for new underwear donations. The pieces matched up. We could help in such a simple way. Underwear is on the urgent needs list at almost every domestic violence and homeless shelter. Not only would underwear donations make a woman feel comfy and clean, but they would help bring back confidence.
I came up with MADI Apparel because MADI is a common woman's name. Anytime I meet a survivor and she thanks us for donating underwear, I picture my family member telling me her story, years ago. I wanted other women who buy MADI undies to picture a woman - with a name, who matters - and know that her purchase of underwear will help a woman in need.
In addition to domestic violence shelters, other organizations and situations like disaster relief and rape clinics are also calling out for underwear. It seemed like fate indeed brought this undie epidemic to my attention for the greater cause - to make a difference in the lives of women across the street and around the world.
Then, this whole idea evolved into wanting to create a brand that made a difference in ALL AREAS - not just through donations. I realized that this $30 billion dollar underwear industry was missing a brand that made a full impact. That meant domestic cut/sew productions where our brand would be able to create new jobs and oversee production of fair labor. That also meant using high-quality fabrics - not just for the women making the purchase but particularly for women receiving the donations. If I was going to start a business that makes a difference - why stop at the donations? My goal starting in 2012 was to begin developing MADI Apparel into America's Most Impactful Intimates!"