There are inherent contradictions in any fashion brand trying to apply degrowth, she says. Early Majority tries to circumvent this problem by placing a heavy emphasis on its membership model. Lifetime membership is currently set at $358, which references the Fibonacci sequence, and the difference between member and non-member prices reflects the golden ratio, two mathematical sequences that occur in the nature.
For members, the products cost between $196 and $930, which Howard says is “right in the middle” for technical performance outerwear. Non-member prices are more “luxury”, in line with Moncler or Arc’teryx. “It’s so expensive to make technical outerwear in an ethical way, but we’ll never make cheap clothes. We want to make things that last, which is why our products are all guaranteed for life, with free repairs.
At launch, membership benefits include a member badge, newsletter content, early access to products, discounted prices, exclusives, and voice in product creation. Over time, these benefits will expand to include events, such as self-defense and direct action training, as well as product exchanges, pre-orders, group purchases, and custom apparel. “We can’t bank on these programs right now because people have to like the product first, but it’s part of our long-term plan,” says Howard.
The goal is to make membership so successful that sales to non-members are completely closed. In its first month, membership accounted for 24% of revenue, largely thanks to the thousands of newsletter subscribers Howard has amassed since the start of 2021. She says the brand will succeed in its degrowth mission. when membership fees will outweigh product sales in revenue. “It’s always so much more satisfying to educate than to promote,” says Howard. “The challenge is how do we grow and generate returns when our model is based on degrowth.”
The community has been at the heart of this strategy, beginning with a newsletter, Tools for Leaning Out. The brand will continue to publish content around the three pillars of activism, adventure and business development.