Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

A completely new lamp is being launched on the 2nd Nov. 

Can't link the picture sorry. Won't let me.

But looks die cast, and possibly looking at the curvature it might be taking an astro bottle. 

And first 100 out the window. Now a lottery of all the orders placed on the same day. Seems irrelevant to still call it first 100 when it isn't. 

What are your thoughts on what it might be? 

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We should just be grateful that at least we are getting new products. And not the absolute crap being made in China. 

The range is bigger than even in the 2000s. More colour choices and many new designs. But I just wish they would get back into their "inventive" era where they made metallic wax, 3in1 astro, glitterballs and glitter lamps. And not just plain old wax with total lack of trying new formulas. I mean why oh why are they still making pond water black. Does anyone actually like it? 

More yellows, purples, whites. Will they ever listen? 

Goths, teenagers and people who have monochrome interiors.  I can understand the appeal of the black if you have a very minimalist house with a particular style or furnishing - a normal multi-coloured lamp could look a bit jarring.

I absolutely agree that we need to get back to inventiveness.  Hell, even letting us create our own colourways would be an improvement, we've had these same colours for years now. I missed the red/red for neo which would have looked awesome for my wall lamp and fit with my furniture.  There are no red liquids in any range outside of the metallic lamp.  It's all just blue, purple or yellow. (clear for the black ofc).  This would eat into their limited run profits though I suppose.  I have often wondered how much they actually sell outside of these new/limited release periods.

On the limited run things something like black wax in red or green liquid for halloween would be cool, incorporate a bit of glitter for christmas... stuff like that!  I was half expecting them to do a commemorative colourway for the queen (clear with red, white or blue wax for example) but nadda. 

It's like no one at mathmos seems to have any real vision or ambition.

EDIT:  They did *once* with blue/yellow for Ukraine, so it is possible!  I just don't understand why they don't do more.  Even if they only run for a day, just do them more frequently!



Noz said:

We should just be grateful that at least we are getting new products. And not the absolute crap being made in China. 

The range is bigger than even in the 2000s. More colour choices and many new designs. But I just wish they would get back into their "inventive" era where they made metallic wax, 3in1 astro, glitterballs and glitter lamps. And not just plain old wax with total lack of trying new formulas. I mean why oh why are they still making pond water black. Does anyone actually like it? 

More yellows, purples, whites. Will they ever listen? 

whilst I'm on a rant... I also wish they'd offer a service where we could send in our old bases and they would switch the light fittings to the newer style.  I've tried all sorts of incandescent bulbs and they all either don't fit or burn out super fast.

I think the problem is that quality lava lamp are kinda stuck in between the budgets of people...for people wo are barely able to pay their bills they are too expensive and for people who have a lot of money they are not enough of a status symbol hence under their radar and those who are doing fine without being rich are getting less and less. Also I've heard from several sources that mathmos was on the edge of bankrupsy more than once during the last ~10 years. So they are releasing new lamps which are more or less a safe bet as at least a certain amount gets sold rightaway. Things like glitterballs/metallics are risky as they tend to become cloudy and they can not afford to replace every second bottle and also they can not afford to have cloudy bottles on display anywhere as their promise of "clearest and long lasting liquids" is what keeps people opt for the more pricey mathmos imstead of cheap china lamps. Also metallics etc do probly take a lot longer to produce and also its more of a hassle since the powders etc do tend to sink to the bottom so either a good part of the production run is more or less for the bin or they have to make smaller batches to minimise the loss. either way its unprofitable in almost every aspect. The 90's and early 2000's have been their best selling era ever so they were able to afford such experiments and loosing quite some money on some products. I think smart astro waa the beginning of the end. So many returns and even though they were produced as cheap as possible they sold them for too cheap to make decent profit even without all those returns due to failure. it was their hope to make the lava lamp future proof and it failed miserably. I wish they had succeeded but I really think thats what ended their golden era within less than a year.

I totally agree with this. To add to this from our personal experience, the products need to improve in quality. Up until the end of the 90's every item we purchased was perfect without faults. The quality has dropped starting with bottle flows, cloudy liquids, our three failed Smart Astros, to name a few of the issues we've had. Over the last few years it has been worse, so much so we stopped collecting and buying. It would have to be something really, really special to get us to buy one now. I've owned Crestworth/Mathmos lamps going back to the 70's. If the lava flow becomes anything like it used to be in the 70's even through to the 90's that would be a start. Two blobs of wax going up and down isn't enough flow, it's not interesting enough. 

Arne said:

I think the problem is that quality lava lamp are kinda stuck in between the budgets of people...for people wo are barely able to pay their bills they are too expensive and for people who have a lot of money they are not enough of a status symbol hence under their radar and those who are doing fine without being rich are getting less and less. Also I've heard from several sources that mathmos was on the edge of bankrupsy more than once during the last ~10 years. So they are releasing new lamps which are more or less a safe bet as at least a certain amount gets sold rightaway. Things like glitterballs/metallics are risky as they tend to become cloudy and they can not afford to replace every second bottle and also they can not afford to have cloudy bottles on display anywhere as their promise of "clearest and long lasting liquids" is what keeps people opt for the more pricey mathmos imstead of cheap china lamps. Also metallics etc do probly take a lot longer to produce and also its more of a hassle since the powders etc do tend to sink to the bottom so either a good part of the production run is more or less for the bin or they have to make smaller batches to minimise the loss. either way its unprofitable in almost every aspect. The 90's and early 2000's have been their best selling era ever so they were able to afford such experiments and loosing quite some money on some products. I think smart astro waa the beginning of the end. So many returns and even though they were produced as cheap as possible they sold them for too cheap to make decent profit even without all those returns due to failure. it was their hope to make the lava lamp future proof and it failed miserably. I wish they had succeeded but I really think thats what ended their golden era within less than a year.

things like availability and prices of materials and chemicals probly ad to their misery quite a bit. I can not image they dont want to provide top quality I'm afraight it's a question of staying in business or not.

It's a shame it really is. We live in hard times. Where does one cut back without looking bad to your customers? I think farming out the bases and caps has been their recent downfall. The new telstars which are cast instead of spun are wobbly. Bottles don't sit straight in either of mine. I do love the new chunky caps though. 

Both my Neo walls have literally nearly fallen off the wall because of the glued lugs that melt when they get hot over use. It's only the alun key screw that saved them from total disaster. When I questioned M on this they told me to glue them back in..... ah-hem. Cough. 

In general I'm quite happy with my bottles, however I've had a few which have been low fill. 

I do tend to use higher wattage bulbs than stated. In my telstars I use 35w with a dimmer and my astros 40w halogens with a dimmer. This tends to get the party started, then tone it down when they get a bit too jiggy. With no problems for years. 

M are good at replacements and refunds, but do tend to talk shit sometimes. 

This is what bothers me and why I get frustrated, at the end of the day they aren't a huge business and I'd really hate for them to disappear, they bring joy to my life!  I feel there are opportunities they are missing that could help boost their sales, some of which I have mentioned already: 

- Collaboration for limited edition bottles (like the Pretty Green run, acid etching a small design on the bottle shouldn't be a huge outlay)

- hell take the acid etching up a notch and do a pattern over a bottle, again a limited run

- a limited run of a full lamp with some kind of stamping/painted/printed pattern on it (if it was a limited run then hand stamping should be feasible for the numbers involved, so no need to spend huge amounts on automated things)

- more limited colour runs (they split the bottle types for different promotions so we only get each type maybe once a year if I recall correctly?) they've never done neo/candle - have they done io? 

- limited run holiday colourways/accesories, make my lamp look christmasy!  People are always more willing to spend money on christmas stuff in particular.  Give me a bottle that has a christmasy colourway, perhaps etch snowflakes on the bottle.  This would also be perfect for glitter lamps - they don't suffer from clouding do they? Change the bottle each year to create demand, much like Swarovski and others do with limited ornaments each year.  Sometimes I look at a limited run bottle and think "would I use this?" the green/clear I ended up skipping because I couldn't think of when I would ever use it.  A Christmas bottle I absolutely would!  I'd probably be willing to spend 50 quid on a christmas bottle with some kind of acid etching on the bottle - the Pretty Green etching light up quite nicely.

- repairs/retrofits.  If they want to keep the older models as "special" to create that reinforcement of "once they are gone they are gone" then let us send them in to be retrofitted with the newer electrics (for a price ofc). 

- perhaps encourage people to send in old bottles for recycling, giving them 5 quid credit towards whatever.  This could potentially reduce the number of second hand "fakes" on the second hand market and encourage people to buy more originals?  Postage costs could make this financially unfeasible though, was just a random thought.

- for things like acid etched bottles, then perhaps a refill service (to keep costs low this could be restricted to the same colour as the original bottle, and only if those colours are currently available in wax and liquid, even if not necessarily in that particular colourway - add the bottle to the usual wax fill, hand fill the fluid if necessary).  My Pretty Green bottle I'd absolutely run more if I knew that I could have it refilled if the colour faded.  It's just a standard blue/pink that's available in a normal bottle.  I know some people do wax/fluid switches but I'm always bothered I'll screw it up.

Ofc I don't run a business and I'm just an armchair enthusiast lol but like I said, it would be nice to see them offer some services that could potentially offer more margin than adding new lamps which I'd imagine would involve a lot of up-front costs.  I just want to see them succeed and keep going!



Arne said:

I think the problem is that quality lava lamp are kinda stuck in between the budgets of people...for people wo are barely able to pay their bills they are too expensive and for people who have a lot of money they are not enough of a status symbol hence under their radar and those who are doing fine without being rich are getting less and less. Also I've heard from several sources that mathmos was on the edge of bankrupsy more than once during the last ~10 years. So they are releasing new lamps which are more or less a safe bet as at least a certain amount gets sold rightaway. Things like glitterballs/metallics are risky as they tend to become cloudy and they can not afford to replace every second bottle and also they can not afford to have cloudy bottles on display anywhere as their promise of "clearest and long lasting liquids" is what keeps people opt for the more pricey mathmos imstead of cheap china lamps. Also metallics etc do probly take a lot longer to produce and also its more of a hassle since the powders etc do tend to sink to the bottom so either a good part of the production run is more or less for the bin or they have to make smaller batches to minimise the loss. either way its unprofitable in almost every aspect. The 90's and early 2000's have been their best selling era ever so they were able to afford such experiments and loosing quite some money on some products. I think smart astro waa the beginning of the end. So many returns and even though they were produced as cheap as possible they sold them for too cheap to make decent profit even without all those returns due to failure. it was their hope to make the lava lamp future proof and it failed miserably. I wish they had succeeded but I really think thats what ended their golden era within less than a year.

We all want them to succeed. It's our must go to hobby and to lose them would be worse than tragic. 

At the end of each hectic day who doesn't love their Lava lamp? 

I have suggested to M that they delete and renew a colourway each year to maintain new and existing customer loyalty and not to stagnate. I've also mentioned about some models only having a few colourways i.e. the candle range has 7 models and only 5 colourways, whereas the telstar and baby have 5 models and 8 colourways. This is inconsistent. 

They tell me they can only produce so many bottle colourways at the factory. But surely this is why they moved to a bigger premises? 

And yes it's all fallen on deaf ears. I wish they would listen to their loyal customers and actually action some of their ideas. As we started... we just want them to be successful and to be able to buy the products we want. 

I don't understand the restriction of bottle colourways... from what I've seen of their production videos one machine dumps wax in, another dumps liquid in.  For example, they have clear liquid already (clear/plum), why not use it with other waxes etc? 

Maybe I'm remembering it wrong.

hey ho

There's a lot of things I dont get with mathmos...like quality control...I've had astro caps with edges bent outwards so much it reminded me of Monroes skirt on ths iconic picture of her on the ventilation shaft...or deep scratches...it's visible even if you are nearly blind. It can be done by a single person easiely...they dont care. There's so much money just thrown out of the window by things like this. As much as I love(ed) this company but it's ran as if they don't give a rat's ass if it survives or closes down the next day. It's a miracle they're still in business with this kind of management. I wonder what Cressida Cranger is doing all day...also there's no such thing as a complete history...on their website is a picture of a princess but it's NOT a princess, it's a lava lite imperial...seriously?!?...they dont even know what's made by them and what's not? There's sooo many issues whith this company it almost seems like a joke to me...it's not funny though...it's just sad. TBH their recent lava formula is such a load of crap that I dont even think about getting a new bottle I only buy used ones and fix or alter them...the one and only good thing is that Mr.Craven Walker does'nt have to see this misery...he would be ashamed to see what Crestworth/Mathmos has become. 

And to get back to the topic of this discussion...whatever this new lamp will be...I don't care at all. I know I will be disapointed again...either by the quality, design, flow or maybe even by all three of those things. The only thing I still like is their astro bases and the bottles...not the contents...just the empty bottles...I'd take 90's lava lite wax anytime before I punish myself with what they call flow nowadays...I'm sad that I have to say sonething like this though...Mathmos lamps used to be magic in a bottle for me for a long time...but thats all gone.

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