Meet Hayley!

Meet Hayley! Hayley is the founder of MADI Apparel based out of Kansas City, MO. Haven’t heard of MADI Apparel yet? Well, you should. Talk about women empowering women. Hayley’s story (and company!) is so inspiring. MADI Apparel is a women’s undergarment brand who is dedicated to making a difference domestically and globally. MADI Apparel donates a pair of underwear for each intimate item sold. All products are designed in-house and sewn by local women in the Kansas City community. All intimate apparel pieces are made with quality, sustainable resources. Underwear is the most needed, under-donated item of clothing. And it’s SO important in our daily lives, no doubt about it. MADI Apparel supports domestic violence shelters, disaster relief efforts, hospital rape crisis centers and more. Hayley and her company are doing some really awesome stuff to empower women, both domestically and around the globe. While I don’t know Hayley personally, her name came through as a suggested female who I needed to feature, and I couldn’t agree more. I hope you enjoy learning from Hayley and her story (and be sure to follow the link below to read the full story of how MADI Apparel came to be!). 

Name: Hayley Besheer Santell
Age: Newly 30 🙂
CompanyFounder/Designer of MADI Apparel. President of non-profit subsidiary MADI Donations
Title: Founder
Currently Located: Kansas City, Missouri

Photo by Ruthie Stark Photography

Describe yourself in 3 words:
Loyal, Empathetic, Adventurous

Describe your business and what you do:
My business MADI Apparel empowers women to be their best selves.  We also focus on empowering the community to never settle on purchasing products that are harmful to the people who make them or the environment.  

1. For any item sold, we donate a pair of underwear to a woman in need (because underwear is the most needed, most under-donated item of clothing.)  We donate mainly in the US but also globally (Haiti, Ecuador, Cuba, Panama, etc – really anywhere that requests it,
we raise funds to travel to them). 
2. We cut/sew all production in Kansas City.  I design all of our pieces and we employ women-owned businesses + train at-risk women to cut/sew our garments in the city we’re headquartered (through our non-profit program MADI Makes). 
3. We focus on lowering our waste as much as possible by creating the highest quality, longest lasting, super soft garments.  Our intimates are made of viscose from bamboo and a few styles made from a combo of bamboo and luxury, long-lasting laces we produce in Florida. 

How did you start in this field?
Read (and watch!) all about it HERE

Did you know that this was something you always wanted to do?
Kinda a crazy and random story.  I never imagined starting a business.  I went to school for Journalism (magazine design) and fine arts.  Painting is one of my gifts and I love it, yet I haven’t painted much over the years as I’ve been so dang busy running this biz :).  Although, founding MADI Apparel has helped me discover gifts inside me that I never really knew I had.  Skills like: Empathy, determination, confidence, business ethics and morals, team builder, leader, etc.  I’m proud of all we’ve grown to, but it’s hard work and is never easy.  Maybe not easy, but totally worth it.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
With a little bit more of a work life/personal life balance.  I am a BIG promoter to friends starting businesses of “keep your personal life first”.  I’m always cheering people on to not feel bad about putting your personal life first.  Although I have to admit, sometimes I have to remind myself.  I’m known to be an “up til midnight on my computer workaholic.”  I had to implement a rule after I married my husband last year. Unless there’s some kind of very rare big deadline, NO COMPUTERS open when we get home.  My goal is to establish even more boundaries over the next few years where I’m able to travel more, enjoy life with my husband and friends AS MUCH as I want to.  Life by design, ya know?

What has been a dream job that you have had since you were a little girl?
Haven’t really had one.  Although – I kind of feel like I’m living in one now.  My current job really plays well to my strengths and born gifts.  It’s every bit fun as it is creative and impactful. Fashion designer + non-profit president + entrepreneur + cutest brick and mortar shop owner + photoshoot director + (one of the best parts) I get to work with my mom on the reg!  She is our non-profit director and PR director! 

Other than the no money thing, I’m pretty much living the “high life.”

In what ways do you see yourself inspiring other women?
My goal is to spread as much love and confidence to women as I possibly can.  I’m not a miracle worker, but more of a change enthusiast.  I want to encourage women to weather their storms through opportunities and love that our team works hard to give. This means our customers and our donation recipients and the women we contract employ. Love can work some crazy magic.

Who has been the biggest inspiration to you?
My parents.  Always encouraging, always instilling confidence in my brother and I, etc.  My mom is wonderful at wearing her heart on her sleeve and going above and beyond for the ones she loves.  My dad is very supportive and has always been there for anything I’ve wanted to be part of.  He has the craziest business and investing knowledge.  

If you could have coffee/tea/lunch/happy hour with one of your life role models, who would it be and where?
One of my role models, Roy Johnson, actually just passed away a few months ago.  I’d simply like to be able to call him for advice or meet him for dinner.  He believed in me when I was his family’s regular server and bartender at a restaurant I worked at in Florida and was getting ready to launch my business from scratch.  It’s a daily reminder that life is short and to NEVER stop sponging up knowledge from the wise around you.

What are 3 of your current favorite things (books, podcasts, music, beauty products, etc.)?
#1.  Does my doberman count? 🙂  She’s 6 but still my favorite thing!
#2.  I’m more of a simple kinda girl.  The drive-in theatre is my current obsession.
#3. Traveling!  My husband and I went to Malta for our honeymoon.  It’s so under-noticed but such a beautiful tiny island.  We just got back from Dominican Republic, where my husband’s family is from.  We love adventuring and walking the streets of new places.  Santo Domingo was beautiful with an interesting history.

Photo by Tara Shupe Photography

Photo by Tara Shupe Photography 

Photo by Kaleigh Cooper Photography

Photo by Kaleigh Cooper Photography

Here are all of the platforms where you can find Hayley and MADI Apparel and the awesome work she’s doing to empower women:


I hope you enjoyed reading more about Hayley and her story of MADI Apparel. Thanks, Hayley, for being an inspiration to get out there and do so much more!

Be sure to also checkout more inspiring women in the series, and if you’ve got anyone else in mind who you’d like to share their story, send their info my way or contact me HERE.