Interview: Adam Lowry explains Method

Amiee Jones of recently interviewed Adam Lowry of Method.

Adam Lowry, founder of eco cleaning brand, Method, explains the ethics behind his company, how one product took eight years to develop, and why he rarely looks  in the rear view mirror.

What inspired you to begin Method?
Every product that I tried to buy as a green consumer 15 years ago was based around this idea of sacrifice and penance. So, what I really wanted was to bring together style and substance in a way that created a product experience that was unparalleled by anything in the home care space.
What differentiates Method from other eco cleaning products on the market?
Number one is the depth of the greeness, we have over forty products that are ‘Cradle to Cradle’ and certified B corporation which measures not just the greeness of our products but the greeness of our company. It’s got the design element that makes it beautiful enough that you leave it out, and fits in with the decor of your home. Above all, it’s a cleaning product so it’s got to work as well as the regular, toxic products. It’s the combination of substance and greenness on the performance side, and style and fragrance on the design side that makes us totally unique.
With people tightening their belts as a result of the credit crunch, how does Method shape up price wise compared to regular cleaning products?
Method’s very affordable. Our price range isn’t unreasonable for the value you get. It’s actually been validated for us throughout the financial crisis, since we’ve seen tremendous loyalty in our brand, because consumers are really understanding that what you get when you pay the small premium for Method is value that far exceeds that price that you pay.
Was there a point when you sat back and realised that your brand was going to be successful?
No, I think I’m still kind of waiting for that. As an entrepreneur, you’re never ever satisfied and it’s sort of the curse of entrepreneurship. No matter how much you grow and succeed, you just can’t be satisfied with what is in the rear view mirror. So, I’m still waiting for that moment and I’m comfortable knowing it’ll probably never come for me personally, and that’s ok.
Other than producing and obviously using all eco cleaning products, what else do you do in your everyday life to minimise your carbon footprint?
San Francisco is a densely populated place like London, so I’m  able to get around my bike a lot. We’ve done a lot of little things with water conservation, everything from low flow fixtures in the toilet to the appliances like the laundry machine. We get a vegetable box that’s all grown within fifty miles of San Francisco, which is all organic. We don’t eat meat one day a week; that’s as far as we’ve gotten. I have to admit, I do enjoy meat, I grew up in the mid west. There’s a long tale, as you can tell, I’m kind of into this stuff.
If you had to pick just  one of your products, that you swear by and couldn’t live without, which would it be and why?
One of my personal favourites is our bowl patrol, which is our toilet bowl cleaner, because of the effort it took to actually make it happen. We won’t launch a product unless it works as well as anything else on the market and there’s a lot of bowl cleaners out there made from really nasty acids and things. It actually took us almost eight years to develop that solution. I’m just really proud of it.
Do you have or are you hoping to get any celebrity endorsements?
Well, I would love any and every celebrity to endorse our products, we certainly have some, but aren’t going after one particular celebrity. We’ve had people like Cameron Diaz and Madonna use our products. Sarah Beany uses both our bath and cleaning products.
Are there any other eco brands or products that you particularly admire?
One brand that I’ve been using a lot is Ice Breaker clothing. They make outdoor wear and base layers made from merino wool. If you do a lot of outdoor activities, synthetics can get quite sticky after a while, but merino doesn’t do that. It also has a better temperature range, when it gets hot, you don’t get as hot when it’s cold you don’t get so cold.
What made you choose the UK as your first market to branch out into?
Well the markets are definitely very different, but the consumer sensibilities do share a lot of common traits. Our brand also has a lot of personality to it and personality can be something that’s really difficult to translate. While different, the UK, and American sense of humor is close enough for us to maintain our brand personality quite easily here. So we felt that this was a great market to start, and because of the high sensitivity to greeness a lot of UK consumers have.
What’s the future of Method? Are there any new products or ventures you’re planning on branching out into? And are you going to go global?
We’re going to try to be smart about how we go global. You’re not going to just see us spread all over the world immediately, but you’ll see us start to move, selectively, into new markets. In terms of what you’re going to see from method, one of the philosophies of our business is that, if you create an intervention, that establishes a new status quo in a category where people kind of have to follow it to keep up, then you can do that again and again. That’s how you create bigger, society level change.  We’re doing a lot of work focusing on taking water completely out of products to save on water. Also, we’re designing a product so that when it’s used with a device like a washing machine or a dishwasher, it can be done so at far less energy or at a lower temperature. So you should see some pretty innovative stuff from us in those spaces.
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