It has all the makings of the latest Netflix series set in the heart of KC – a city with an emerging reputation as a hub for socially conscious urban startups. The main character is Hayley Besheer Santell -- a gorgeous, loveable, hardworking millennial entrepreneur with a wide smile and even wider heart. She embraces challenges, takes risks, and has bull’s-eye instincts. Her mom is her supportive publicist, rockstar marketer, and non-profit subsidiary director. Hayley’s business model has a social conscience that puts people before profits, sustainability before mass-production, and Green before green. She hires and manufactures locally, employing at-risk women, and for every item purchased she donates a new pair of underwear to domestic violence shelters across the globe. Featured in Forbes, Fortune, and Entrepreneur, she personally designs her products sold online and in retail outlets. Hayley and her ubercool husband restored a mobile 1956 vintage “canned ham” camper to take products to festivals and fundraisers, furthering the innovative brand, and increasing awareness about the initiatives Hayley passionately supports.
Picture this new show with the expected hashtag audience, but your grandma loves it, too. It’s sweet, chic, and sexy – and it’s all about women’s underwear. Underwear with a conscience, that is.
Too fictional? It’s actually happening for this designer/CEO of KC’s retail sensation named MADI Apparel (Make a Difference Intimates). If MADI sounds like a woman’s name, it’s intentional. In fact, every bikini, brief, Brazilian, or boyfriend short is named for a woman who’s been influential in Hayley’s life because “women empowering women” is how this mogul is turning delicates into a durable cycle of growth and giving.
Founded in 2013, MADI has seen steady 20 percent average annual growth while donating thousands of pairs of underwear made from sustainable bamboo. For every purchase, MADI donates one pair of new underwear to shelters in the city the product was purchased. (Underwear is often the most requested item for at-risk women, and its impact both practically and emotionally cannot be ignored.)
MADI also employs and contracts local women (many at-risk) to cut and sew products.
“Once the fabric hits our door, everything is developed and produced right here in Kansas City,” says Hayley. “We truly care about making a difference in every area of our business model. We exist as a business to empower women and create products that have a positive impact and last for years, creating less waste on the environment. I wear my products every day, and the underwear has lasted over 200 washes and dries. Plus, they feel like clouds on your butt!”
Hayley says she creates intimates for women like herself -- minimalists who want versatile products with staying power.
“Our customers love these newer products (tank dresses, shorts, tie-back tops) that can be worn to bed, to the gym, or as daywear. They’re designed for comfort, confidence and simplicity — staple basics you keep in your closet for decades and never go out of style.”
Hayley says she is excited about the upcoming fall/winter collection.
“We contracted a local artist to hand-dye our products with indigo. Not only are we providing work to a local artist, but the results are spectacular.”
Another exciting upcoming event is “Runway to Impact 2018” on Oct. 11 in the Power & Light District. This gala will raise funds for the job training program for at-risk women through MADI Donations 501(c)(3) and will feature an exciting evening including a runway show modeling MADI apparel.
“I hope people smile when thinking about how their purchase donated to another woman in need.” Hayley Besheer Santell
Shop MADI four ways:
MADI Apparel store - 1659 Summit, KCMO 64108
Through retailers across the US and Canada
#MADImobile boutique at an event near you