The Rainbow Loom, The Hottest Toy In America

The Rainbow Loom, The Hottest Toy In America

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Kids across the country have a new obsession. When you ask a lot of young people out there how they spent their summer vacation, you're likely to hear about a new piece of jewelry.

Not since the fairy-tale of Rumpelstiltskin has a "loom" resonated so strongly with children.

"One of my friends gave them out to kids at my summer camp," says Emily Watson.

But instead of spinning straw into gold, the "rainbow loom" turns rubber bands into friendship, or at least friendship bracelets. Indeed, the rainbow-loom hearkens back to the days of silly-bandz, slap-bracelets and lanyards.

But after a summer of sleep-away camp and free time, kids purchased the loom's one-millionth starter kit in early August, making it the hottest toy in America.

And that only took a week and a half!

With only two bracelets, ten-year-old Emily Watson considers herself a relatively recent convert, but says the forearms of her friends have seen only rainbow since the summer began.

"Most of them have them like probably up to here on their wrist," she says.

The concept's relatively simple: a seventeen-dollar starter kit gets you plastic pegs and 600 rubber bands to weave into bracelets. But young weavers didn't stop there. Not satisfied with basic patterns, kids invented their own and shared their new designs on YouTube.

Videos, hosted by grade-schoolers, demonstrating weaves with names like "zig-zag," "butterfly-blossom" and "raindrop" receive tens of thousands of views each.

The product markets itself to young girls, but sellers say it attracts both genders ages five to eighteen and even older.

"I have one on my ankle and it's showing my Met colors," says Emily's mom.

Ranges of possible color-schemes, charms and weaves create a ton of potential for expansion-sets and knockoffs.

But for now, the rainbow-loom stands alone in the arena of elastic-friendship-jewelry, reclaiming the word "loom" for a younger generation.

The rainbow loom's inventor is a 45-year old former crash test engineer for Nissan in Detroit.

He was inspired when he saw his 12 and 9 year old daughters making bracelets out of rubber bands. He tried to join them, but his hands were too big, so he made the loom.

His daughter realized other kids in the neighborhood wanted one, so he invested their college savings to get the idea off the ground. Now the investment has paid off.

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