Method’s Eric Ryan makes good on Big Omaha promise to find long-lost soap

Like many entrepreneurs and visionaries who attend Big Omaha, Nate Allen was ready for an inspirational takeaway. As with past Big Omaha events, Allen—CTO of Kansas City-based software development firm Proof—was poised to glean seeds of wisdom from startup royalty such as Evan Williams and Kevin Rose. This year, however, he had an agenda.

Big Omaha 2014 speaker panel
Big Omaha 2014 speaker panel

The Big Omaha speaker panel that would become Nate Allen’s connection to his lost method soap.

Like many entrepreneurs and visionaries who attend Big Omaha, Nate Allen was ready for an inspirational takeaway. As with past Big Omaha events, Allen—CTO of Kansas City-based software development firm Proof—was poised to glean seeds of wisdom from startup royalty such as Evan Williams and Kevin Rose.

This year, however, he had an agenda.

Back in 2010, Allen found himself in a quandary. He was often dissatisfied with the market’s soap options for his shower routine. He scoured the personal hygiene aisles for a bar with the perfect blend of scent, suds and cleansing ability.

“I honestly was just looking for better soap,” Allen remembered. “I had tried all of the cheap options, and I just wasn’t getting the lather and consistency I like.”

Just when he was about to give up hope of ever finding the perfect bar, Allen took a chance on method’s bar soap, White Tea Bar, to be exact.

“I thought, ‘I’m going to buy the $8 soap and see what happens,'” Allen said. “And that became my go-to: Go to Target, buy the method bar soap.”

Then, the unfathomable happened: “One day, I couldn’t find it in-store. I started buying it from Amazon, but that stock disappeared, too.”

Once again, Allen was at a loss for lather. He and his girlfriend sifted through the shelves at Beauty Brands and natural goods markets to try to recreate perfection.Photo from Proof Dev

“[My girlfriend] knew how important this saga was to me, so she would buy fancy French soap from her beauty stores,” Allen (right) said. “And that’s what I had to settle for.”

But he needed answers. After a summery night of drinks with friends, he found himself writing an email to method’s customer support as a last ditch effort.

“I was not ready to admit that it wasn’t being made,” Allen said. “I was hoping they had moved it to some obscure location, and they could tell me where it was.”

To his dismay, method’s customer support team wrote him back to say its bar soap had been discontinued and would no longer be available. Although he mourned the loss of his soap, Allen finally had closure and moved on.

Four long years passed. Allen had all but given up on rediscovering the perfect bar soap, until he bought his ticket for Big Omaha.

“I saw Eric Ryan, method’s co-founder, was going to be at Big Omaha, and I knew I had to find a moment to ask him about this soap.”

That moment came on day one of Big Omaha. After Ryan’s talk, Laura Weidman Powers and Jason Johnson joined him on stage for a speaker Q&A with the audience.

Allen stepped to the microphone, and when he said he wanted to read an email to method written four years ago, silence fell (and emcee Antonio Neves readied himself to whisk away a possible rebel-rouser).

Allen read:

“Now,” he said, “It sounds like you and your co-founder have some stockpiles in your basement?”  And Ryan, visibly relieved he wouldn’t be engaging in a public spat, replied with a ray of hope: “I just might be able to hook you up with some.” Allen made his way to the stage, and after exchanging contact information and a high-five, all there was left to do was to watch and to wait. One, two, three months went by. “I knew he was traveling a lot, and I just figured he forgot about it.” But Ryan didn’t. On Aug. 15, Allen and the Big Omaha community got their answer:


Allen was once again united with the soap he loved. And though Ryan officially deemed him a “method advocate” via email, chances are he won’t be parting with this particular product soon.

“I wish I could share it with everyone because I want people to know it’s an amazing product, but I have to make this last as long as it can,” Allen said.

 

Watch the video of Nate Allen’s question during Big Omaha 2014.


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