Diary of A Young Pro: Hayley Besheer
1) Where are you located?
I currently live in New Smyrna Beach, Florida but we are looking to build the official MADI headquarters in Kansas City, MO. I have lived in Florida for the last three years and I would like to keep an office space here as well.
2) How old are you?
26 years old.
3) What is your job title?
I am the CEO and Founder of MADI Apparel. MADI is a women’s intimate apparel line. For every pair of underwear that we sell, we donate another pair to a woman in need. The clothing is made in the USA out of organic bamboo and lace fabrics. Underwear is under-represented in donations because organizations do not and cannot give out used intimates to people in need. They must be new. Underwear is currently the most under-donated item of clothing – Team MADI hopes to lower that statistic as we continue donating to women in need. MADI was founded in 2012 and we started selling online this past August. It has been an adventure for sure.
4) What inspired you to start an organization like MADI?
I started MADI for the cause. In college, I found out that underwear was rarely donated to non-profits. I donate clothes often but I never thought to donate underwear. So I wanted to develop something that could fill this gap. I had a pair of Tom’s shoes in college, and I thought their business model would be a wonderful way to involve the community. We are a for-profit and currently in the process of filing for a non-profit subsidiary.
5) Where did the name, MADI, come from?
The name MADI has no personal significance to my life but it is a common female name. I wanted to give the brand a name that represented women – a name that our female audience could relate to. Every style of underwear that we design is named after a woman that has positively made a difference in my life. MADI also stands for Make A Difference Intimates.
6) How has the transition been from backpack to briefcase (college to adulthood)?
It has been fun. At first it was very challenging because I saw myself going a completely different route. I never thought that I would see myself founding a company. When I graduated, I started to look for jobs in marketing/PR. It wasn’t until 6 months to a year where I took action to start MADI. I definitely have put my skills that I learned in college to work. I was definitely prepared in some ways but not in other ways. When you start a company, there are just so many things that come up. You just need to work your way through it and learn from your mistakes.
7) When you were in school, did you imagine your life the way that it is?
When I entered MIZZOU, I was confused. I knew what I liked to do and I knew what I didn’t like to do. I loved to paint so I thought focusing on fine arts would ignite my career passions. I enjoyed my major but I knew something was missing. I picked up a journalism major as well, thinking it would fulfill the void. I expected to go into magazine design. I think I just needed time and to experience certain things in life, and now I am where I am. I do not regret the journey.
8) What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced during these transitional years?
My biggest challenge would be finding what makes me truly happy and connecting that with my passion to contribute to the world. Right before graduation, I took a skills test and my greatest skill was “empathy”. I was so confused because everyone else received skills that you could apply to your career path and I did not know how I would do the same with “empathy”. But I love interacting with people and I want to help people. It was hard to develop a career plan to bring those passions together. Now, I can relax knowing that I have found something that has allowed me to do both.
9) What is the best advice you have received from a mentor about adulthood and/or careers?
You can’t go too slow, and you can’t go too fast. My mentor once said: “There is a famous saying by May West ‘Every thing that is worth doing is worth doing slow.’ Then, Lee Lococa said ‘Time wounds all deals.’ Guess we should consider both.”
10) What advice would you give a young professional?
Don’t slow down but continue to seek a path that is right for you. Don’t settle with the final end all. If you don’t see yourself happy with the current situation, keep searching for what makes you happy and help yourself reach greatness.
11) What is next for you and the next 12 months? Do you have any goals you would like to accomplish? How are you going to accomplish them?
I have a couple of goals. I would like to hire some full time employees that would help stimulate my brain and create ideas. I would like to market MADI and spread awareness about the need for underwear as much as possible. We have received great feedback from domestic violence shelters. It is important to me that we donate to companies that really need underwear. My main goal is to continue to grow MADI and to never stop learning as a business owner and person.
12) What makes you special?
My empathy. I have always been an emotionally tied person to the world. That can be bad sometimes but I think of it as a strength. I am very connected with people and I truly want the best for our community.