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  • Writer's pictureMolly Cheeseman

Community over Competition.

Hello everyone,

Welcome from the other side of a somewhat long January. I hope everyone is okay.

Not only was I waiting for the greyest month to end, I am excited about what February is going to bring; not one but two exciting small business collaborations! More on this soon.

The experience of launching my small business manufacture has really confirmed to me the important of networking and a community. For me, this has been where I am based, in Dorset, but also the online community. In these past weeks, I have been connecting with small businesses both near and far, and it has been inspiring to see how many creative entrepreneurial people there are. I think this past year has given people plenty of time to think about and pursue a business idea they probably had in the back of their head for a while. My vision with Up_Keep was to promote a sense of community over competition, more about that in my article below.

I have been working hard both in the studio and online to spread the word about Up_Keep. It has been nice to hear some of your kind feedback about my website, it is great to hear what everyone thinks. In between, I have been taking plenty of walks down to the beach, so lucky to have it literally on the studio’s doorstep.

Keep in touch via social media, its lovely to hear all your comments.

Stay safe,


To read more about Up_Keep please see here.

Community > Competition

Has anyone else been told fashion is competitive? That it is a ‘dog eat dog world’? Well, it is true I guess, especially regarding our high street. Just this week Topshop was bought by ASOS, meaning more of the industry is being owned predominantly by three or four main businesses. Or the winners of the competition one might say. However, as many of us know these businesses are problematic, with poor workers’ rights, un-transparent supply chains, and essentially churning out lots of ‘things’ destined for landfill. Plus, it reduces the diversity and creativity within the industry.

Personally, I feel this ‘competitive’ attitude has been a key catalyst in many of the negative parts of fashion, hindering its progression into a sustainable future. For example, sustainable fabric developments have been kept within businesses in the bid to get to the front of the sustainable race. We need to question whether this attitude can ever be truly sustainable and beneficial for all, imagine if leaders and designers shared these ideas, worked to together to build better supply chains. The change would be enormous and would probably save more fashion businesses from the liquidation we have been seeing recently.

This competition also has negative impacts on our wellbeing, the constant fear of being behind creates feelings of inferiority: are we getting enough likes, enough views etc. When instead, we should be focusing on developing new things for our businesses.

As I alluded to in my letter above, I have been networking with more small businesses, trying to work with them, share ideas and collaborate, or even just to have a general chat. I cannot help but feel like this must be the future. This sense of community, with similar aims and goals for a fairer, more inclusive, and sustainable industry. By removing ourselves from the competition completely, we create an affective disruption from the ‘business as usual’ approach, by just being supportive. Maybe this seems like a romanticised approach, but I think it is essential there is some influence from this, not only because of the pandemic but most importantly the climate emergency.

Also, you cannot escape to have noticed the new community spirit in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people joining together to make scrubs, volunteering to help foodbanks, the response has been amazing. Furthermore, by big bricks and mortar shops being closed it has given opportunity for smaller brands to get exposure.

My plan when creating Up_Keep was to create a community of small businesses, to be both transparent and fair, incorporating the community, both around me and beyond. My hope is by offering accessible ethical manufacture, I will help support those small businesses with the ethics and morals we all want to grow.

To shop my brand MollyAlice please se here.

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