The Rainbow Loom which helps kids make rubber band bracelets has been sweeping the US.  It is a huge hit and long may it stay popular. It's so gratifying to see an inexpensive toy ($14.99) promote creativity, focus, dexterity all without being electronic or battery operated! It's so much fun, both boys and girls as well as adults really enjoy it.

Making the zippy chain bracelet
Looping rubber bands together is not new.  I remember making simple jump ropes doing just that as a child.  But the loom allows far more patterns to be created than if you just used your hands.  The incredible range of patterns are reminiscent of chain maille ones, at least to me! There is even a medallion like one (see below).

Zippy Chain Bracelet video
 Yet, they are much easier for the younger crowd to accomplish but still provide interesting challenges including coming up with new patterns.

Star Burst Bracelet video

I have just picked a few video tutorials as examples here so click on the links if you want to see how these are accomplished.  There are many tutorials on Youtube, both user uploads as well as those from the creators on their Youtube channel.

Rainbow Loom charms video
The story behind the loom is also inspiring.  The inventor is Choon Ng, a Malaysian immigrant who was a crash test engineer with Nissan.  He wasn't looking to invent anything - he just wanted to spend some quality time with his two young daughters.  But with larger hands, he had trouble making the bracelets his girls enjoyed crafting.

So he went to his workshop and came up with a simple jig. It was just a block of wood with 3 pushpins.  But that simple idea grew and soon the whole family were having fun creating all sorts of bracelets which they could share with their friends.  Then his older daughter suggested her Dad make something of it.  Money was tight for the family but they managed to invest $10,000 into the project.

After that, he couldn't get local stores to buy his new product because they didn't understand how the loom worked.  Things really started to happen after he began uploading instructional Youtube videos, often demonstrated by his girls.  Then a co-owner of a couple of Learning Express franchise stores bought the loom and was soon reordering big time! 

Choon had no prior business experience so he learned by trial and error and by listening to feedback.  He redesigned the loom some 28 times!  The sort of critical analysis of each level and stage - production, quality control, packaging, shipping etc - of his business is typical of Nissan's approach to manufacturing design and problem solving.  He now works on his business full time, having sold more than 1 million looms and counting!

This toy has the potential to be around for a long time.  It's fun for families - an activity which doesn't involve screens!  Also think about all the good things this loom promotes.  It teaches children patience, improves their fine motor skills and encourages them to be generous as they often share their techniques and give away their creations.


Before You Go:
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips