Wednesday, October 11, 2006

San Francisco 30-somethings clean up with Method dish soap

SF Chronicle, 10/08/06.

In 2000, two men in their then-twenties decided to transform the stodgy old household soaps and detergent business. Today, their business (Method Home) has been recognized as the seventh fastest growing private company in America by Inc. Magazine. Their current revenue is about $45 million a year.

What they did: they took a look at the detergent aisles in the grocery store and thought "yawn!". The bottles looked outdated, stodgy and just no fun. They then packaged a natural dish soap in a neat bottles and they spiced it up with new, cool scents.

When they started out, they went door-to-door, getting in the face of grocery store buyers as they came in to work in the wee hours of the morning. Once the product was on the shelves, they personally restocked and did in-store demos.

Their big break came in 2002 when they were signed on with Target. They partnered with one of the high end industrial designers to come up with new packaging and pitched the idea to Target.

Now that they are being knocked off more and more, they have lost a little of that which set them apart. So they are going back to their roots of also being a "green" and "good for you" product.

Check out their products at

My take-away from this post: expect to have to reinvent yourself over and over. You may be fresh and unique at first, but competition will always run after your profits. Enjoy the race and enjoy the competition.

And, if you are looking for interesting new products for your own creative endeavor, be sure to let us know at

Kaila Westerman

Asian American Makeup Artist creates her own cosmetic line

SF Chronicle, 06/04/06. Taylor Pham, a local Vietnamese-American woman worked as a makeup artist specializing in wedding makeup. Then she got the idea to create her own line.

Her line is called Thi (pronounced "tea") and may be viewed at It includes shadows, blush, lipstick, gloss and brushes. While the color palette is limited, the packaging and formulation are designed to be luxurious. In particular, the line is geared to suit the Asian woman.

Pham's efforts reflect the trend toward boutique "prestige" makup brands. According to industry experts, growth in these brands is very strong.

One thing that makes her stand out is an invention for which she has "patent pending" status. The invention is a unique type of false eyelashes specifically for the Asian eye. More than 5000 were sold in the first three weeks they came out, at $15 a pop.

Pham also worked to develop her own line of brushes which work particularly well to accent the Asian eye.

I think the take away from this post is that if you develop your own line, coming up with an idea, an invention or something that otherwise sets you apart from the crowd is very important. In the case of Pham, for example, her unique false eye lashes got the attention of professionals and made them curious about her other products.

If you are interested in making your own cosmetic line, don't forget to check out all the goodies that we sell at!

Kaila Westerman