Paying It Forward

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A young woman uses philanthropic fashion to encourage good in communities. 

Story by Andrea Darr

Mollie Beck has always been inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit.

The Prairie Village resident watched and learned from her father (who works in the computer services field) from an early age. “I saw the benefits of creating your own company and the flexibility that comes with it,” Mollie says.

So at 24, the apparel design graduate launched her own online retail shop, Continue Good, but with a twist. Because equally inspiring to her is helping and giving to others.

While undecided between nursing and design majors in her freshman year at Colorado State University, where she was studying on a tennis scholarship, Mollie’s teammates encouraged her to pursue her passion for creativity and art.

“I was going through some life changes and looking at who I was and what I believed,” she recalls. “It changed how I look at people. I decided I wanted to bring light and love to others’ lives, and I could do it through fashion.”

Through her coursework, Mollie discovered what she liked — and didn’t — about her chosen industry and honed in on retail. She developed an outline for her business and revised it while still in school. A short stint at TOMS — a company that with every shoe purchase, gives a pair of shoes to someone in need — led Mollie to tie good in with every purchase on her platform.

“What I think is unique about Continue Good is involving the customer,” she says.

Mollie has spent her short lifetime in service of others, yet she understood early on in establishing the company that her volunteer and outreach efforts could only go so far.

“I personally can create an impact and love others, but I realized I would need a company that involves the customer because so much more can be done,” Mollie explains.

A component of Continue Good’s shopping platform is selecting a light gift, such as an accessory or gift card for food or drinks, to be sent to the customer when they make a purchase. They receive the item after performing a simple act of kindness or some kind of outreach of their choice and share it on social media.

“It’s a way to thank people,” Mollie says, “and I love hearing about all the stories people share.”

One example that touched Mollie was when a customer named Lynn overheard a mom telling her child that she couldn’t afford a toy at Savers thrift store. “Lynn felt she could do something,” Mollie recounts. “She didn’t want to overstep or offend the woman, but she simply went up and offered to help. There were tears in the woman’s eyes. She was thankful and appreciative, and it just took a bit of boldness on the customer’s end. She felt great and it was totally worth it.”

Another Continue Good customer in LA, who was an animal-lover, adopted three bunnies after the Thomas wildfires left them abandoned. A food and beverage worker brought donuts to a nursing home after his shift to make their night. There have been homeless shelter outreaches and even family outreaches, such as a sister giving a plant to her sister to tell her she cares and values her.

“There are so many things like that people can do,” Mollie says. “I love unexpected acts, the kind that can be really powerful in someone’s life.”

Donating money to a cause is helpful, but an act does double good. “Experience is what transforms hearts,” Mollie says.

Another way Mollie exercises powerful acts is through the vendors she chooses to support. While living in LA after graduating, Mollie visited markets to select vendors, whom she vetted for their eco consciousness as much as their fashion sense. “I’m sensitive to the amount of textile waste when choosing producers,” she says. She also tries to keep USA-made garments at the top of her list. “That’s something important to me,” she notes.

The clothes themselves must also pass Mollie’s discerning taste for quality. “I look for things you can wear multiple times a week and fabrics that will last,” she says. A natural color palette helps form complementary wardrobes.

There’s another reason for the neutrals: Beiges and grays tend to become the background on a person. “I want the people to shine, so it’s not so much about the clothing,” Mollie adds.

In her catalog, you’ll find that her carefully chosen items fit two categories: They’re comfortable, durable and the cotton fabrics will feel good on your body; they also promote a positive message. Screen printed tees feature sayings such as Mind Over Matter and All Smiles.

“It’s all to remind people to love others,” Mollie says.

In addition to men’s and women’s fashion, Continue Good also sells home decor items, such as candles handmade by Mollie and wall prints. “I like to support local artists,” she says.

While her young company establishes itself in the online community of fashion retailers, Mollie wants more than success for just herself.

“I want to create a movement,” Mollie says.

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