Shop Local and Support COVID-19 Relief Efforts With MAD-X
One of One clothing that gives a portion of all proceeds to families and businesses affected by COVID-19.
Here’s a 2021 success story — what started out as a quarantine “passion project” for Madeline Hixon is now a popular local brand with sales worldwide.
When Hixon moved back home from New York City to Rye due to the pandemic, she started creating sweatshirts and sweatpants as an experimental project to help pay back her NYC rent. But when influencer Alisha Marie posted about her new set from MAD-X, the business took off.
In the past year, Hixon has grown her business into an almost six-figure company. MAD-X offers a variety of tie-dye crewneck sweatshirts, hoodies and sweatpants. Each item is hand-dyed and each label hand-sewed, so every piece is unique.
MAD-X officially became registered as a limited liability company on May 5, 2020. The business is 100 percent woman-owned, and all of the clothing is unisex and offered in a wide variety of colors, sizes and styles.
Hixon says her business’ goal is to try and help others in the wake of COVID-19 by giving a portion of the proceeds from every sale to families and businesses impacted by the pandemic. Since creating MAD-X a little less than a year ago, she has donated over $3,000 to many local and national organizations, including United Way, Southern Black Girls and Women’s Consortium and Feeding America. She also hosts “giveaways” where people can nominate someone in their life who has been impacted by COVID-19.
She found it incredibly fulfilling to see how the donations from MAD-X were having a direct, positive impact on people. “There was this big mentality of everybody, all across social media and the world in general, that everybody wanted to help out ‘the little guy’ because it was a small business. And, we’re also trying to help other small businesses and families,” she says.
A $1,000 donation to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention was MAD-X’s biggest donation to date, and their goal is to reach $10,000 in donations by the end of this year.
Hixon has been interested in fashion for most of her life. Her background of small business, fashion design and production, and content creation each assisted her in developing her brand. After graduating from Lasell University, Hixon worked for The Style Club, a small brand in New York City that billionaire Mark Cuban invested in on the show “Shark Tank.”
After this, Hixon traveled across the world solo for eight months, continuing to build on her Youtube and Instagram presence.
Her first inspiration for the brand, specifically to help others in some way, formed when she was on a volunteer trip in Ghana. She felt a strong connection to the people, and began donating what she could to the school where she was working. She said a local tailor even created custom clothing for her. “Everybody’s so happy and genuine. And I think that’s kind of where I initially got my urge to give back,” she says.
The spontaneity of creating MAD-X helped Hixon avoid some of the usual hurdles associated with formulating a new brand. “That also was kind of a blessing in disguise because I had wanted to start my own brand for years and years. … So I think that did kind of help me, that I was just kind of thrust into it without any planning,” she says.
The MAD-X team is made up of Hixon, intern Jason Glidden and “COO” Garrison Dominguez, as well as models for photo shoots and other collaborators and influencers.
By being an online-only store, MAD-X is able to reach a worldwide audience, and customers are able to support a woman-owned small business, as well as those impacted by COVID-19, from the comfort of their home. While Hixon doesn’t see the business becoming a brick-and-mortar store, she works with local businesses to put on pop-up shops, including at Bobbles & Lace and The Block Collaborative, both in Portsmouth. She wants to grow her brand, but loves the collaboration and sense of family of a small business.
Now that business has slowed down a bit, Hixon has been able to refine the creative direction of MAD-X. The brand is starting to transition from the original tie-dye designs, and will be utilizing their new embroidery machine to create more styles such as their “Better Than Your Ex’s Sweatshirt.”