Living Clean. Talking method.


Over the next few months, I’m going to be trying a little experiment. I’m going to clean up my (cleaning) act.

Have you heard of “Made to Matter, Handpicked by TargetTM”? Target has handpicked a group of high quality products and brands who have been tasked with making these sorts of better for you products more accessible. Some of the collection are products you already know—from brands like method and  Seventh Generation—others will be new innovations (exclusive to Target).

So I’m going to toss the bleach to the curb (okay, definitely not literally) and see how well these products work.

This is all out of my range of expertise, so:  first step was a chat with Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan, the guys who founded method. I wanted to know about how these two Bay Area friends became passionate about cleaning. (And if it involved magic, could they work some of that on me please?)


Turns out it was probably very much like what really got Aron cleaning, too: living with a bunch of other guys in a dirty apartment in San Francisco. (Only whereas Aron decided to move down to Southern California to live with his girlfriend, these two got serious about becoming social entrepreneurs. Equally brilliant moves, of course.)

They decided they wanted to make relevant cleaning products that they could be proud of—products that would be less toxic, to human health and to the environment, and still… delightful. That was Adam’s word: simple products that would be relevant, desirable, and delightful. “It’s the only way we can all make greener products mainstream.”

Here are a few other highlights from our conversation… 

On Being Part of Made to Matter, Handpicked by TargetTM
I was curious to know how they felt about being grouped with these other brands (who I’m sure compete for business), and was interested to hear about they feel joined by a desire to create a lasting social impact. “Most of us—the founders, the CEOs—know each other well. We are a group of people with a common belief, and we know that Target is a great platform for consumer change… It’s like ‘Go big or go home!’”

I could tell they were proud of being part of a movement they believe in. And it was inspiring! Their record was inspiring.

On Their Priorities 
“It starts with human health.” We talked about the “dirty ingredient list,” but they said the trick is not to have a product that works and then remove these but rather to design from the ground, up. “There’s a fear of green not working. So we have to be sure everything is safe, preferably recyclable, and super-effective” The idea is that having the green seal on this collection will take some of the guesswork out of making good choices for one’s family and, by extension, the planet.

On Their Bright Colors
I had to admit to them, I’d always been a little skeptical about those pretty colors. Why a red soap for a green brand? I thought the reason was really compelling: They explained that it has to do with the overall footprint of the product. It takes a whole lot of dye to color a plastic bottle (that may then be rendered non-recyclable) but only a tiny amount to color a liquid inside a clear, degradable bottle. (I felt like I was quizzing them and I should ring a little bell before saying, Family-Feud-style, “Good answer! Good answer!”) And, well, color is pretty. And delightful. And you can match your soap to your bathroom!

Finally, I had to ask… 

About Where To Eat Around Their San Francisco Office
“Wayfare Tavern. And the best Dim Sum is right around the corner (near the Trans-America building): City View Restaurant.”

You know I love Dim Sum—nothing better than food passing immediately on carts when you’re out with an impatient toddler (we usually go to Yank Sing)—so I’m eager to give it a try!

Thanks, guys!

This post is sponsored by Target. The Made To Matter line has been handpicked by Target to bring you brands that make things better for your you, your family, and the place we all call home.

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