Easter Tour: Day 2 (p2) – Mathmos

Our second stop for the day was at Mathmos on the other side of Poole. Again Graham Satchell and his BBC film crew were with us to document our visit. After driving through an interesting mix of manufacturing in the industrial estate we came to the Mathmos HQ in a rather unsuspecting warehouse. I have to admit that as we  have either have or have had a few Mathmos products in our time I was very excited to get there and see whatever we could.

mathmos_logo_rectWe were met by Cressida Granger, the owner of the company, and she showed us around the unit. She explained that the lava lamps are made completely in the UK but not all the parts were made on the one site in Poole. The glass, metal and plastic bases were produced for Mathmos around the country and then brought to the Poole HQ where the glass lamps were filled with the secret mix of wax and water ‘with a few bits and bobs added in’, and then the lava lamps were put together and boxed up ready for shipping.

She was quick to share that while all the lava lamps are fully UK manufactured, the newer items are not. The reason for this is that the tooling for the various, and changing parts, was 20 times more expensive here than it was in China. This added cost of making these products in the UK would mean that they could not compete on price. She did say that she is always looking out for new people who could take over some of the work that is shipped out to bring more and more of the Mathmos production back to the UK. Cressida is also keen to ensure that her labelling for the mixed origin of her manufacture is clear. 

Once we had seen the hot wax being added to the bottles, and the other ingredients added on top, we went to their show room to see the amazing range of products that Mathmos have on offer. Lucan was very taken with the Chuppi light. He was quite mesmerised by the changing colours and took to trying to ruin every filming take by shouting out the colour names as they changed!

 As Mathmos is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year Cressida was keen to point out the heritage of her main product. We were shown some fantastic pictures of old lamp designs that would not look out of place in the modern family home. We tried to persuade her to put some of these old designs back into production but I am not sure that the promise of our future business was enough to persuade her. We talked with Cressida about the importance to her of manufacturing in the UK and she explained to us how she has worked hard to ensure that a sizeable chunk of the business remains fully here. The imports of similar looking lamps from the Far East have of course had an impact on sales and yet the company is rightly proud of the provenance of the lamps. She is certainly relying on more and more people seeing that that provenance is really worth an awful lot.

This rounded off an incredibly busy day and I must say that we will all be needing an early bed time tonight to re-charge ready for tomorrow.

Comments

  1. Gordon Smith says:

    Perhaps Mathmos could contact the web site that tries to find a British manufacturer for companies wanting something made.
    Gordon Smith

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