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“IF I DON'T, WHO WILL?”

Writing about the beautiful things Hayley has envisioned and accomplished seems impossible. I don’t know how to capture her beauty in black and white words – words are limited to a certain meaning, and to write about Hayley, I need to the sky to be my notebook and the clouds my pencil.

At the time a recent college grad, Hayley conducted a casual online search for a “reclaimed fashion line.” But the search produced something different than expected. She stumbled upon the blog of a US missionary serving the poor abroad. In an entry that deeply impacted Hayley, the woman explained how important underwear is to women in the region in which she served. Underwear was a physical symbol of protected women. Wearing it meant that the woman was protected by a father or brother, and that her family had means to protect her. A study even reinforced that women wearing underwear are less likely to experience sexual assault.


It’s hard to imagine that this very basic item (which I take for granted every day) could dramatically change the life and future of women. And no I haven’t met these women, and neither had Hayley – at the time. But borders meant nothing to Hayley. To Hayley, these women were her sisters. 
 
She dug further into the cause, and learned that underwear was the least donated and most needed item in shelters. “So when you see the need – then what?” Hayley asks. And with that she set out with a “different and unique” approach to give women this most basic human necessity. But necessity is an understatement. Hayley understood from day one, that underwear meant so much more. 
 
“Unless life altering challenges happen to someone really close to you, it doesn’t really touch your world. But for me these pieces were coming together, and I wanted to step forward to fill this need,” Hayley reflects.
 
“I didn’t mean to be an entrepreneur,” she says. And though she has become one, that was never the point. “Literally anyone can stumble upon something and be the person who starts the change,” Hayley tells me. Her mission was to help women in need both locally and abroad.

So Hayley founded MADI Apparel, an intimate apparel store with locally produced and environmentally sustainable garments. These beautiful products made of viscose from bamboo are soft, staple and calm to the touch. “For every item sold, any item, we donate a pair of underwear to an organization that requests it – these include domestic violence and homeless shelters, disaster relief organizations, and sexual assault clinics and hospitals.” 
 
To date, Hayley’s initiative has donated nearly 6,000 pairs of underwear.

Hayley has strong ties to local women and the Kansas City entrepreneurial community. She wanted every part of production to be thoughtful. One example is a program under the MADI Donations non-profit arm that was created to teach local women facing life barriers how to sew garments for MADI, giving them skills and a living wage. Their products go to conscious consumers and to local women in need of a little extra love.



Complementing her local focus, Hayley also donates her products to women abroad including charities and refugee camps. The best part is that Hayley doesn’t just stick the items in a box and send them there in blindness. Hayley and her team stand witness to over ninety percent of the underwear drop-offs. She has hand delivered her products (the exact same ones MADI Apparel sells to consumers), to women in Haiti, Ecuador, and Cuba, among others.
 
“That’s what separates us from other ‘buy one, give one’ stores,” Hayley tells me. These women are given sustainable, beautiful products which are also highly practical. This commitment creates a space of safety, respect, and indulgence for women who otherwise are struggling or marginalized.
 
Hayley recently delivered to a home for women in drug and alcohol recovery. Some of these women had been there for a short time, others for longer. Many had children. But when Hayley comes in, the magic happens. She looks directly into the beauty of each woman. She helps them to feel – to know – that the community supports them. She shows them they are not a statistic, but beautiful, unique, and deserving of love, respect, and contentment.

She painted the picture of a typical donation process, “We partnered with a florist who made flower crowns, and a photographer who set up a really cute booth outside amongst the greenery. They offered to photograph anyone interested – these were amazing natural photos of women in their element.” Hayley also collaborated with a company who donated additional food, shirts, and other fun items to create a (no charge) shopping experience for the women, and a break from the constant demands of life and motherhood. It is so much more than donating a product. It is creating a holistic experience of love and compassion.

“Sometimes we write handwritten notes and wrap the underwear up with the note. When we donated in Ecuador we wrote the notes in Spanish. We want to show them we believe in them and they’re beautiful, because they might not be hearing that all of the time,” Hayley says.

That’s how Hayley became an entrepreneur. It was the side result of her true passion to support women. And she does both fantastically.
 
Hayley explains that she didn’t have traditional “business skills.” Empathy, she told me, was the quality that has helped her most in her career. “We’re all really different and I get help from others in areas I’m weak in. My strengths grow as I get older. I listen to my gifts and I make myself a resource for others,” Hayley tells me. Next up, she’s working to create a men’s line. Bringing in men as allies is important. They have a unique role in the cause; they can build women up and support them. 
 
Hayley’s endeavor is not something to merely look at and fawn over. It’s a call to action. Hayley’s call is that every person “ask themselves what they care about, what moves them. Then, don’t be afraid to start. If you don’t who will?” 
 
Hayley reinforces her message by example. She has an intense and incredible commitment to be emotionally and physically behind her work. She is unrelenting in creating transparency and authenticity. 
 
“I’ve struggled and overcome,” Hayley says. And every day she helps other women do the same.

HAYLEY'S 3 FAVORITE THINGS

ADVENTURES

Hayley loves traveling with her husband. Their trips offer a respite to recharge, feel more alive, and learn about other people and cultures.

WORLD WAR II NOVELS & NONFICTION

Hayley told me this genre is her favorite way to escape, destress, and focus on something totally different. I laughed when she told me, "That's very specific!" I said, "I'm not sure WWII would be my way to escape." We both laughed.

SKIN KC PRODUCTS

"These all natural beauty products make me feel like I'm in a spa!" Hayley says about this local KC company. Check them out here.

SHE IS

empathetic

The Hayley jumpsuit accents the beauty of the feminine form. Its color calms and supports. While wearing this jumpsuit, you'll tap into your inner strength and use it generously.

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