Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Ask me about Lava Lite. Top 5 unanswered questions go to Lava Lite for answers

As do most of my good ideas, this one came to me after waking up in the morning. As most of you know I have been talking with Dale, the CEO of Lava Lite in an attempt to bring the collecting community and Lava Lite on to the same page. I am going to be answering questions about Lava Lite today. Anything I don't know the answer to I will put on a list and the top 5 questions will be presented to Lava Lite.

Ready? Go!

~edit~

Here are the top 5 questions and answers.


The top 5 unanswered questions.

#1. Formula, formula, formula. Will the exact formula from the 90's be used? What exactly is going on, and what happened to make things so bad?

#2. Will new lamp designs be more bold? The past 10 years worth of lamp designs have been bland, can we spice it up a bit?

#3. New base finishes in 32/52oz lamps? Copper? Chrome? (Personal note: I'd love chrome)

#4. New grande colors? We want more color options

#5. This will be my question. You mentioned that small batches will be possible when production starts in the USA factory. Will it be possible to request custom lamps, as well as send in globes for refills on lamps such as the consorts and giants?


"
#1. 

This is the big question. This was our big question and our problem to solve.
The formula was not the problem. Not following the procedure is where the problems have existed. The formula is the exact formula used in the 1990's. The process of making the formula has to be followed precisely every time.The proper heating of the wax/formula to an exact temperature is a long slow process. This is followed by a slow cool down. Every time, every batch.The problems occur when heating too quickly/and or cooled too quickly. Our two key people spent weeks at a time supervising the process. We also have an independent engineer/quality person in China. This was incredibly frustrating on our end initially. It was very simple to us.  "Just follow the formula." The real issue proved to be the process was being rushed. Less Time= Less Labor. Factories can do many things to their cut costs. Not many products exist where the end user can detect any change in quality. Our product quality is totally visible. Our team communicates with our factories every night by Skype. When they aren't present they are watching the manufacturing on Skype. We watch them like a hawk. 

#2. 

You will see many new designs and products that I would consider bold. The Clearview is the first of many being released this year. The process of creating products is painstaking and costly. From concept to release takes roughly a year. Next years design work has already begun. Having a constant flow of new interesting and exciting products are critical to our success. 

Questions #3-#5 are all good questions that primarily relate to marketing and product development, now and in the future. 

New attractive products are the lifeblood of any good consumer product company. New sizes, finishes and colors are currently in the works or in development. My personal favorite size is the Grande. The Grande could be the ideal product to initially manufacture in the USA for the following reasons: Ability to be nimble to changes, smaller batch sizes, ease of adding new colors, inventory management, upscaled finishes with smaller limited quantities and reduced lead times for products to enter the market. Initially US made product will be more costly. The larger sizes are not as price sensitive as our current line. Custom lamps would be very costly and probably not feasible.

Refilling globes would be possible and would need to be further explored. I can't provide specific timing to many of LL's current projects. These are works in progress. I assure you that our very experienced team are pros at handling any challenge. There is never a dull moment at LL. 

"

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What motivated Lava Lite to move production back to the US? Will this mean more jobs for the US? 

What IS the deal with the ORIGINAL super-awesome 70s/80s/90s formula. Do you have it? Will you be replicating it once you bring production back to the US? 

Will you start using actual photos of your products in your marketing instead of digital renderings? 

That's all I can think of for now. Thanks for dong this Autumn. You're a peach. :)

Has the Grande Starship been officially scrapped as an idea or might they retool the design to make it less prone to tip?  Would they consider opening a retail store at their HQ that would offer their ENTIRE line of lamps in one location?  Any consideration on offering custom, made to order color combinations?  Can I sign a waiver and buy a Collosus?  I know they likely have quantity collecting dust and I will come and pick it up.

Oh and by the way, any questions after 7pm central time won't be considered. I will answer the questions when I get off work. This is just a 1 day thing.

One more - are you hiring?

Jim said:

Has the Grande Starship been officially scrapped as an idea or might they retool the design to make it less prone to tip?  Would they consider opening a retail store at their HQ that would offer their ENTIRE line of lamps in one location?  Any consideration on offering custom, made to order color combinations?  Can I sign a waiver and buy a Collosus?  I know they likely have quantity collecting dust and I will come and pick it up.

Jimbo the starship wasn't launched due to it not passing with underwriter laboratory's tests. Nothing about its stability, they a have strict rules here in the US, another reason why we dont see the grande plasma here in the US and only in the UK. They dont have nearly as many guidelines/rules when it comes to electrical devices as the US does. But I would love to see this fixed and actually released to the public, so ask him Autumn.

Also about grandes, find out why they haven't done anything different with those? the same color combos for the past 10 years is so boring. We need new color combos, different colored bases (starship is a good example of a different base) for these liek the days of the giants.

Also push the wave machine more on him, I dont think he realizes what bringing back the wave would do for LL as a company, it could be their saving grace. He's concern about the cost? lol I'm pretty sure people would pay $50-$100 for these.

PLEASE ASK THIS ONE..it gets to the heart of the problem.

Erin said:

I wonder why they didn't use the correct formula when production when to China. That's what baffles me. They HAVE the magic formula, but didn't use it. I'm confused.

I did a search on the Goo archives here about two years ago and found an interview with the then owner of Lava Lite (Haggerty, I think). He claimed that they HAD to change the formula after 9-11 because of some of the chemical combinations that were in it.

If true, then how can they bring that formula back? If all we get out of USA manufacturing is clearer golf ball flow lava lamps I will not be buying them. I have a filter that solves the whole fog problem.

It's not WHERE the lamps are made, it's HOW they are made !  If they actually use the formula from the 90s EXACTLY the same it's like a dream come true. Actually, it sounds too good to be true. (You can leave that last part out of the question)

Thank you,

Charles


*edit*
Dale answered the questions himself. I will post later.

I would love to hear the answer for this one. 



Autumn said:

*edit*
Dale answered the questions himself. I will post later.
Really? Did I get the one about the formula in on time? Please post ASAP !!

Maybe Dale would be cool enough to give us Chicago locals a tour of their facilities :) And then I could finally meet my pal Stephine! not to mention seeing nothing but wall to wall lava lamps.................

Yeah...I don't want to get too carried away, but I may be up in Illinois on family business intermittently during the summer, and would love to see how these things are made.

Actually if they did things right this board *could* be one of their best friends as far as getting the word out on new products but we are justifiably skeptic and gun shy, having burned so many times before....

Here is what Dale said, paraphrased in my own words.

----------------------------

The grande starship is not dead. It was doing well, except it cost too much to make.Retailers were also reluctant to carry it because of how much shelf space it took up, as well as how much room it would take to stock it. He said he will comment more on this later.

Why make lava lamps in the USA? They will be able to create and experiment with small batches. Anything made in China has a high minimum order quantity. They will also have complete control of quality. Anything needed can be produced and shipped much quicker. Made to order options would also be possible.

As for what will be made in China, think electrical cords and other parts. The lamps will be assembled in the USA.


Jobs will be added.

the packaging process is constantly changing. Each product requires different packing based on who will be selling it. The packaging Spencer's uses won't be the same as the packaging used in Toys R Us. Some products use actual photographs. The reason photoshop is used to make the lamps is to keep costs down. A professional photographer would add to an already expensive process.

No retail store. Lava kiosks are something that is being looked into though. But Lava Lite does not want to compete with its customers (Walmart, Spencer's, Target).

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I will answer some unanswered questions Dale didn't address later tonight when I get home. Bye bye!

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