Next Avenue: An American startup in Paris: How an entrepreneur launched her dream company at 51

by | Oct 10, 2022 | Stock Market

This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org. Starting a new business from scratch after you turn 50 takes energy. Doing it in another country and a different language requires self-confidence. Deciding to press ahead with the project despite a global pandemic requires courage — lots of it. Joy Howard has it all.

In 2020, after nearly 15 years as a marketing executive for some of the world’s most recognizable consumer brands — including Nike
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Patagonia and Lyft
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— Howard found herself in Paris, in a similar role at Dashlane, a French technology company. That role was winding down, and two former colleagues had persuaded Howard, at 51, to get serious about an idea that she’d been kicking around for a long time: to start her own company. Then came COVID-19, sending France (and the rest of the world) into an extended lockdown. With schools, offices and restaurants closed, and the disruption to the global economy only beginning to make itself felt, Howard had a vivid now-or-never feeling and made what felt like the only real choice: She launched her business anyway. The company, called Early Majority, makes technical outdoor-wear — coats, rainwear, shirts and other clothes that put function before fashion by emphasizing breathability, movement and water-resistance. Also see: Start a business after age 50? In pandemic? Yes. Here’s howMake only what you’ve sold A pioneer in the emergent “degrowth” movement, which seeks to shrink the use of energy and resources, Early Majority sells its goods on a membership model, making exactly what its customers want and nothing more. Its goal is to establish more environmentally sustainable practices in the notoriously high-impact apparel industry. Early Majority also had a pop-up store in the Marais district of Paris that was intended to raise its profile as well as those of two female artists, the photographer Zaineb Abelque and the visual artis …

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