The world we live in is changing all the time and, as such, companies need to adapt to ensure they stay afloat and ahead of the competition. Mamod is no different and even for a company that has been running for over 80 years it needs to keep its finger on the pulse and alter its operations should it be necessary.
While it boasts a loyal customer base it does need to appeal to new markets and demographics enticing the next generation of steam enthusiasts to its products. In the second part of our 'why I love Mamod' segment with lifelong fan Michael Jane, we'll look at how Mamod and steam has changed in recent years.
Michael has been a keen lover of Mamod ever since he received a roller as a present from his father in 1973. Since that day he has been fascinated with all things steam and built up a substantial collection of Mamod and other steam models. Much has changed since that cold Christmas morning in the early 70s and he believes there has been a significant change in the typical Mamod buyer.
"The buyers are older – like me!", Michael explains. Since the early days of Mamod there has always been people of a certain age that would purchase the models as a hobby. In the 60s and 70s, Mamod was seen as a prestigious toy to receive and could be the catalyst for a lifelong association with steam.
Flash forward to 2014 and in a world of iPhones, XBox and easy access to the internet and Michael believes that Mamod is still drawing the younger generation in. He explains that the toys are much different to what is currently popular. He says that the models are "alive" and this helps to engage the younger generation and he has seen a growing number of children and teenagers attending steam shows.
"It is refreshing to see that youngsters coming to the many steam shows I exhibit at are showing a real fascination and curiosity with steam toys and a desire to own one, mostly a Mamod," Michael adds.
The dawn of the internet may have been perceived as something that would kill off businesses such as Mamod but Michael explains that the rise of online forums are invigorated the steam community. He explains that having internet message boards and social media has made a somewhat niche hobby hugely accessible.
Steam groups are able to easily form a website where members can chat among themselves without ever having to leave their home. Michael himself is an administrator and founder of the Freesteam Online Forum which allows members to learn new methods of maintaining their own collection and how to best solve a particular problem.
He believes that the dawn of the internet has actually boosted the profile of the hobby, Michael adds: "I travel up and down the UK to many shows and the ‘pull’ of classic toys in all forms is undeniable.
"Mechanically minded boys and girls are suddenly waking up to a whole world of traditional toys which entertain and educate in a more direct and tactile way than any computer game ever can."