Madalyn Manzeck, a Living
Word Lutheran graduate, in her office at
Madalyn Joy Designs in Port Washington.
Callie Gay/For Conley News
WASHINGTON — When Madalyn Manzeck was in high school at
Living Word Lutheran in Jackson, she had dreams of going
to Harvard and one day becoming a cardiac surgeon, but
that was before she decided to take up sewing so she
could learn how to make her own prom dress.
instructor had gone through design school,” Manzeck
said. “She was the one who told me, ‘If this is your
passion, and you really want to pursue it full time, you
can.’” That was the moment it clicked for her, and she
never looked back.
24-year-old founder, owner and creative director of
Madalyn Joy Designs grew up in Ozaukee County and,
following her passion, attended the University of
Wisconsin-Madison and went on to intern with Global
Brands Group in New York.
focus was on evening wear. She loved the long flowing
gowns often seen on celebrities walking red carpets. But
during her program in college, by chance she ordered a
black lace fabric and knew immediately that it should be
a floor-length robe. No one in her program had made
lingerie before, so she checked with her professors to
make sure it was all right, then enthusiastically began.
During her critique, all of her peers told her that
she’d found her calling, and designing lingerie was what
her focus should be on. She thought about the fabrics
she loved most, and knew that they were right.
“It’s funny,” she said. “The girl who hated wearing bras
growing up ended up being a lingerie designer.”
Madalyn Manzeck measures a piece of fabric at her
business, Madalyn Joy Designs, in Port Washington.
Callie Gay/For Conley News
home, starting business
she graduated in 2016 with high honors, she didn’t know
what would come next. With no job lined up, and no
desire to work in corporate fashion, Madalyn came home
and started her one-woman luxury lingerie business
without meaning to.
didn’t really know it was a business at the time,” she
said. “I just did it as a hobby to make some money here
and there and it ended up growing enough to be a
Being in Port Washington, where she spent so much time
growing up, felt right. She had her family and her
boyfriend, Ben, and soon connected with members of the
local design community, and found in them support unique
to the Midwest.
“There’s no real competition, we’re all so niche,” she
said. “We chat about being stressed out or about not
getting a collection done on time. It makes it easier
having friends that are in the same boat.”
studio space sits right on the marina in downtown Port
Washington, where Madalyn meets with clients from all
over the state, one on one. She shows them her garment
rack full of samples of robes, bras, bodysuits and other
lingerie, and helps them find what they’re looking for.
She measures them and makes each piece to the exact
specifications of her client.
“Bespoke isn’t something a lot of people are familiar
with,” Manzeck said, describing the custom-made
clothing. “But what’s great about it is that it’s made
for you. If you have a small bust and wider hips I can
accommodate it to fit you and make it look flattering on
of Manzeck’s main focuses is on body positivity and
helping women feel confident and gorgeous in their
matter how much one woman diets and tries to be thin, we
naturally have different shapes,” she said. “I think
it’s important to realize that, and find garments that
fit you, rather than you trying to fit into garments.”