Eric Ryan: Man Against Dirty

methodtalk.jpgA few days ago Eric Ryan, founder of Method Home (who’s slogan is “People Against Dirty), kicked off frog design’s Design Mind  talk series with a terrific talk with Valerie Casey, frog design’s Executive Creative Director. Here’s a few nuggets:

“Style is what gets a customer into a brand, substance is what keeps them there.”

“A brand has to have boundaries”. In other words, don’t try to be all things to all people. Take a stand, have a point of view.

The average US home is five times more polluted than the outside world. Liquids in particular go right through the skin and into the bloodstream, so cleaning products are an especially dangerous toxin. Method tries to reduce the toxin level of its products as much as possible, but doesn’t put itself out there as a “green” company, as that would box it into a much smaller niche.

The original upright/upside-down Karim Rashid-design dishsoap bottle was a big disaster mechanically. It leaked all over the place (including on the shelf) and people couldn’t figure out how to open it. But it was a “hail Mary” attempt for Method, at the time only having $100k in revenues, as they tried to get into Target for their first big distribution deal. Eric said it ultimately put them on the map, and is proud they took the risk.

“Never, ever test things. Stay corageous.”

The phone number on the Method packaging originally rang Eric’s cellphone!

Eric emphasized several times that Method sees itself on a journey, that they don’t do everything perfectly now (such as being even more environmentally friendly than they are), but that their hearts are in the right place and that they know they have to grow to a certain size to be able to achieve what they want, which sometimes means making short-term trade-offs.

You can see the webcast here, courtesy of start-up Veodia, who supplied the feed, and I have to say it’s a high quality one.