Starting an online magazine while attending college may seem like a difficult feat, but BYU students Aley Davis and Sarah Martin have taken on the challenge.
Davis and Martin started the online women’s magazine, Up and Up, to provide uplifting content, inspire college women and give them a voice.
It is “dedicated to the women brave enough to share their stories, give their perspective and live their lives to the fullest,” according to the website. Its first issue was released in September 2015, but the idea for it started Winter Semester 2015.
Martin asked Davis if she wanted to help start a BYU chapter of Her Campus, an umbrella blog composed of multiple blogs where female college students write about their schools and express opinions.
Martin explained that when she proposed they start this project together, Davis was enthusiastic from the start.
“I don’t know if I would have done it if I’d just been alone or if she’d said no; I think I just would’ve let the opportunity pass,” Martin said. “But Aley was the perfect partner.”
Davis said she agreed to start the blog because she wanted to do something productive outside of schoolwork.
The duo began the month-long application process of starting a Her Campus BYU blog. Davis said when they were halfway through the application, they felt sick to their stomachs: the main page of the blog had too much content that contradicted BYU standards. Davis said they both felt strongly that BYU women needed a platform where they could express their ideas while still adhering to LDS values.
Davis and Martin changed course and decided to start their own online magazine. They recruited 20 female BYU students to write for it and then brainstormed ideas for a name. They chose Up and Up as the title to stress the magazine’s uplifting vibe.
Davis said the magazine encourages women to set goals, do better, feel better and contribute to the world.
“It’s content you can enjoy without feeling it’s degrading in any sort of sense,” Davis said.
Up and Up has five sections: “Feature,” “Blog,” “Health,” “A Moment With…” and “Around Town.” Most of its writers are women, but the magazine occasionally has male guest writers as well.
Martin and Davis let their writers choose the topics they write about. Articles range from telling a man’s personality type based on how he eats a grapefruit to communities protesting pro-rape rallies. Martin said it is sometimes difficult to find the balance between the “fluffy” articles and the serious ones, though she said she thinks it is good that the magazine has variety.
“I feel just in awe of the girls who are writing for us,” Martin said. “I’m just always so impressed by the ideas and the humor and the depth of character that these articles really show, and that’s amazing to me.”
Davis said the magazine has collaborated with different bloggers. Alyson Ludlow, who writes about her struggle with eating disorders in her blog Living Life to My Fullest, shared her post about feeling comfortable in a swimsuit. Kody Thompson gave Up and Up permission to repost his blog entry on the 10 types of girls guys date at BYU.
Martin and Davis said they plan to start advertising on the magazine and want to continue running it after they graduate. Martin said starting the magazine has taught her that people create their own opportunities.
“While something may look hard from the outside, once you get your feet into it, it’s going to be way more fun than you thought it would be and way more worth it than you thought it would be,” Martin said.
Martin’s recommendation to someone who wants to start his or her own magazine is to just do it.
“Even if your idea isn’t perfect, even if your name isn’t perfect or your font isn’t perfect, if you get started you have something to work with and something to improve upon. Then you’re able to be more motivated to keep going,” Martin said.