it all started with one 23-year-old founder

2013: Before Slow Motion Goods, we were MADI Apparel

MADI Apparel: 2013-2024

Fresh out of college, Hayley was living a few steps from the water in New Smyrna Beach, Florida when the roots of MADI Apparel began to develop. It all started when she and her roommate learned that new underwear is the number one most requested item of clothing yet the least donated. Because, it’s the only item that can’t be donated used, so it’s rarely donated. Around the same time, a family member talked to Hayley about how she was once a victim of domestic violence many years prior. Hayley then discovered that underwear loudly tops the most urgent needs list at most domestic violence shelters (and other organizations serving women) on a global scale. Billions of women and young women go without access to underwear on a daily basis, not by choice. To help fulfill that need, Hayley founded MADI Apparel (Make a Difference) at 23-years-old with the goal of creating impact in every direction.

2014: Launching a Startup Rooted in Impact and Empowerment

Inspired by the TOMS shoes model, Hayley had the idea to donate a pair of new underwear to women in crisis for every item MADI Apparel sold. That was just the beginning of the impact model, though...Hayley was determined would commit to making a difference in EVERY area of the model. Early on, Hayley began discovering how toxic the world of fashion really was/is and made it her personal mission to go the opposite direction with a focus on consumer education and impact.

MADI Apparel became one of just three percent of the world’s fashion brands to pay a living wage to production workers and all team members. We committed to researching and sourcing the most sustainable fabrics and materials available on the market like cruelty-free silk, the world’s first and only 100% plastic-free plant leather, organic cotton and more. 

And hence, a brand was born - not out of perfection, personal experience or anything else besides VISION and EMPATHY. After raising $20,000 through a crowdsourcing campaign, MADI Apparel was founded.

Pictured: Hayley with our first patternmaker, Maria, in New Smyrna

Pictured: Hayley with her mom (also our PR director) Pam holding thousands of underwear the day our first production run arrived.

this video won a gold telly award in 2023!

Press Play To Find Out How a Shocking Statistic about Underwear Sparked a Business to Give Back

This short film features our entire process - from paying living wages to sourcing sustainable fabrics to donating a pair of underwear for every item sold. The video was sponsored by Imagine5 and filmed, produced and edited by Chicago-based videography team Tectonic.


Imperfectly Making a Difference

From 2013 to 2024, MADI Apparel was a for-profit company with a mission of imperfectly Making a DIfference in every area of the model. We will never reach perfection as an ethical fashion brand, but we believe in empowerment and kindness and we take a conscious intentional approach to everything that we do. In 2024, MADI Apparel was rebranded and became Slow Motion Goods. As we've evolved, we're continuing our focus on learning, listening, teaching and remaining transparent in our mission and motives. Scroll to read more about what we accomplished through MADI Apparel and what comes next with Slow Motion Goods.

We did what we set out to do

The Impact of MADI Apparel

  1. For every item you buy, we donate a pair of underwear to requesting organizations in need
  2. We provide employment opportunities and contracted work to locals in our community
  3. All of our products are made locally in Kansas City
  4. We pay living wages and ensure safe working conditions for all members of our team - cutters, sewers, dyers, store employees, etc
  5. We source plant-based fabrics and materials as well as overrun fabrics from the waste of larger fashion brands
  6. Our packaging and shipping materials are plastic-free - we use biodegradable, compostable and recyclable materials

Scroll down for more details on our ethical impact!

where we're headed

The Mission of Slow Motion Goods

2024 marks an exciting evolution in our journey. After a decade in business, we're ready for new growth. Here's how our impact model will look with Slow Motion Goods.

1. We'll continue our in-house collection with popular unisex products that were once labeled MADI Apparel :). Designed by us and locally sewn in our city, we'll continue paying living wages to our sewers and entire team and sourcing the most innovative eco-conscious materials on the market.

2. The cut waste from products we produce will be turned into new underwear and other staple clothing basics (like mittens and socks for example) to be donated to requesting organizations in need. We'll then use even the tiniest of scraps left over to produce limited product collections, bringing us to ZERO fabric waste as a company.

3. Instead of exclusively carrying our in-house collection as we once did, we'll now be introducing you to ethically-made products from other independent brands that fit our ethos of slowing down and considering our role in the big picture of global connection.

You've helped us donate over 9,000 pairs of underwear to requesting organizations

For every ethical womenswear, menswear and home basic you purchased from us since 2014, MADI Apparel donated a pair of bamboo underwear (manufactured by us) to a woman in need. Why? Because underwear is the most needed and under-donated item of clothing. It's the only item of clothing that cannot be donated used, it must be donated new.

Organizations all over the world requested new underwear donations from us on a weekly basis, and we consider it a privilege to learn about the good they're doing in the lives of women and to be able to donate such a necessary basic need to the women they serve. Through your orders, we've donated underwear to over 9,000 women in over 50 organizations and ten countries.

one of our many events serving women over the years

Empowerment Event at Lotus House in Miami

In 2022, our team planned for months to pull off a special event for the residents of Lotus House in Miami - the largest women's shelter in the US.

In November of 2022, we traveled to Miami to help fulfill a big urgent need for the organization and provide new, clean underwear for residents.

We couldn't help but feel energized by the sunny skies, the lush plants and the beautiful residents of Lotus House.
Thanks to Imagine5, we were able to collaborate with local vendors to make this empowerment event one that we hope the women won't soon forget. We're grateful to have met our goal of providing dignity and empowerment through underwear donations and uplifting events that will contribute to self confidence and overall life rebuilding.

USA Underwear Drop-Offs

Over the years, we've received weekly requests for new underwear from homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, sexual assault clinics, post-prison orgs, drug-free housing orgs, disaster relief orgs, and the list goes on. We've done our best to fulfill these requests - and partnered with over 60 global organizations.

We preferred to go in person for our underwear drop-offs and create a special experience for the women receiving the donations. Creating a "shop" with various styles and colors of underwear donations that the women would get to choose from. We like to say, "It's not just underwear, it's dignity!" We've partnered professional local photographers in the cities we travel to take beautiful portraits of the women - sometimes the first professional photography they've ever received. Sometimes our team will join the women for dinner or paint nails for fun so we may listen and learn about their journeys.

International Donations

Kenya // Tanzania // Mali // Quito, Ecuador // Panama // Havana and Santiago, Cuba // Fonds-Parisien, Haiti // India // London, UK // Campbell River, B.C. Canada

Our team traveled in person to four out of ten of these international drop-off trips. We receive urgent need requests from organizations all over the world for new underwear, and we do our best to get donations in their hands as fast as possible. If we weren't aren't able to travel in person, we partnered with local organizations and individuals to safely carry these basic necessities to the requested recipients.

2016: Taking Our Mission to the Streets

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. 

a peak into our international drop-off trips

Serving Communities

Haiti: We traveled to donate 300 pairs of underwear to women in three remote villages and a birthing clinic where underwear is difficult to access but very needed for women's hygiene purposes.

Havana, Cuba: We traveled to donate underwear to homeless women and mothers in a maternity clinic where mentally or physically ill mothers-to-be can stay for treatment and areas of the city where underwear is often unaffordable on government wages and stipends.

Quito, Ecuador: We traveled to donate 300 pairs of underwear to three organizations with an urgent underwear request: San Juan de Dios, teens and staff at Henry Davis Orphanage and mothers learning job training programs to better their lives at an organization called Cenit.

Each quarter, we'd spotlight a different organization or a few who'd will receive the underwear donations that your purchase initiates. Every online and in-store order would come packed with a card with photos and details about our current partner so that it was very transparent where the underwear donations your purchase initiated would end up.

seamstress job training

Four lives changed

In 2016, we launched a seamstress training program through our non-profit subsidiary MADI Donations [501(c)3] to provide lifetime job skills training and opportunities to lift up women facing employment barriers and other life challenges. Through this program, four motivated women learned the tools to sew our challenging stretchy knit fabrics on industrial sewing machines. They gained a lifetime job skill, resume builders, career confidence, and through part time sewing work they earned income to afford big goals like improved housing.

Our Annual Fundraiser

Runway to Impact

Our annual fundraiser provided funds for MADI Makes - our 501(c)3 free job-training program for at-risk women facing employment barriers. Although this program closed during Covid challenges, your dollars directly impacted participants by teaching them cut and sew skills necessary to earn them contract sewing work. Once qualified participants graduated, our for-profit MADI Apparel hired the women as payroll sewers to produce our donation underwear.

Our History: MADI Apparel in the Media

Over the years, MADI Apparel and our founder Hayley Besheer Santell have been featured in some of the world's biggest media publications like Forbes, The Knot, Men's Journal, BBC News, Washington Post, Huffington Post and more. See below!

Our History: Notable Stores Who've Carried MADI Apparel

2016 marked a huge year for us...We were picked up by a chain of midwest department stores, Von Maur!

And 2023 introduced our most exciting wholesale partnership yet - we were given our own display section (logo on the wall and everything!) in the brand new Kansas City International Airport!

We're so thankful to small businesses for carrying MADI Apparel products over the years in your shops!

Left: Hayley and Pam in front of our new KCI Airport setup!

Right: Hayley with friends at the Eden Praire Von Maur location, holding MADI Apparel underwear from their wholesale collection!

What's Next for Us?

Over the last few years, we've been listening to and learning from our customers + society about the challenges we all face as a community. What we're finding is a lack of connection. The digital world is louder, we're finding we have fuller plates and less time for what really matters. But have we even given ourselves enough time and space to consider what really matters to us?

Our team has realized we care most about connecting our community back to Self and to the greater picture around us. We’ve been growing farther and farther away from each other, from ourselves. We’re disconnected. We've discovered we can’t create global impact to serve others and fulfill the needs around us if we don’t first start within. We must heal ourselves to help heal others. People aren’t born flawed, born sad, born neglected, born lonely. The world around us has the ability to change us and influence us - for the good and also for the bad. What if we were able to create more community connection which would then influence community compassion? If we each had greater self awareness, would we be a more healed people? If so, how do we get there?

Sometimes, the purpose in your life or business shifts like the wind. Maybe you were supposed to take one giant step in one direction and that step was like a stepping stone leading you to discover the next. After much reflection and worry wondering - was the last 10 years of MADI Apparel all for nothing if we're evolving? What we came to realize is that we’re just getting started here, people…