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Method to the Madness

When was the last time you were excited about cleaning? Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry, the founders of locally-based Method, are attempting to change that feeling by transforming mundane necessities like laundry detergent and hand soap into designer commodities. In just over three years, Method has developed a loyal following of "people against dirty" who appreciate premium home care products that are highly effective, safe, and packaged with respect for both their design sensibilities and the environment; Clorox and Tide they are not.

Yes, we're talking about cleaning products -- everything from hand wash, dish soap and surface cleaners to laundry detergent, dishwasher cubes, and candles -- but with natural fragrances (like mandarin, lavender and cucumber) and non-toxic 'ingredients' that are safe for the environment. They're also priced to move, with almost every product in the $4-10 range.

While the products work wonders in your home or office, they are also created to reflect a simple yet elegant design aesthetic. Ryan and Lowry managed to convince Karim Rashid, the charismatic designer often credited with bringing design to the masses (you've probably seen or even own his Garbo trash can at Target, Rashid has made everything from chess to tableware to high-end furniture fun again), to help reinvent their line of products, and the results are simply beautiful. These are products you leave out to show your friends, not hide under the sink.

In the past, customers have only been able to find Method at traditional stores like Target, Mollie Stone's, and Linens 'n Things. Lucky for San Franciscans, that recently changed when Method, with help from buzz marketing gurus Ammo Marketing), created a retail "pop-up shop" near Union Square.

What's a pop-up shop? In it's simple form, it's a tempory retail space. The concept is to get people to visit the store, have them experience Method's products in a new and fun way, and generally create some "buzz". It seems to be working quite well.

"With the Pop-Up Shop, we want to continue to build awareness by surprising consumers who don't expect to see cleaning products in the fashion center of Union Square," says Ryan. "We want to create buzz and spread the Method word. We want consumers to crave our products!"

Having opened in mid-August, Method's pop-up shop has been drawing a steady crowd during normal shopping hours but is also the place to be on Thursdays and Fridays for their weekly happy hours (5:30-7:00pm, email [email protected] or call 415-392-0100 to get the official dates and times).

The space is gallery-like in appearance, with a dazzling array of Method products lining the shelves like an army ready to battle the forces of dirty. It's a place of discovery (who knew cleaning products could be so fun?), but drop by soon, because something this good doesn't last forever, and in the case of the Method pop-up shop we really do know that that is the case.