Hayley Besheer Santell was surprised to learn that women’s underwear is often the most urgently needed and least donated item in shelters around the world.
After learning that a close family member had dealt with domestic violence, she was inspired to open local underwear and lingerie brand MADI Apparel (1659 Summit St., Kansas City, Mo. madiapparel.com). The model is simple: For every item purchased, MADI donates a pair of underwear to a local woman in need. The products are locally made using ethically sourced bamboo fabric. Last May, MADI partnered with Faith Hope Ministries to start a seamstress-training program for at-risk women in Kansas City.
“We only employ women to make our products,” Santell says. “It’s not some faraway thing where you don’t know where it’s going. We really care about the actual story of each woman our products reach.”