Thursday, September 12, 2013

Rubber Band Loom Fad Fueled by Social Media

Have you noticed those woven rubber band bracelets on the wrists of children and adults alike? Yes, this is the fad that's taken over where Silly Bandz and its competitors left off a couple of years ago.

Entrepreneur Cheong Choon Ng, an engineer at Nissan, came up with the idea for the Rainbow Loom after watching his daughters weave tiny rubber bands into intricate bracelets by hand. He filed a patent to protect his new product and ordered looms and rubber bands from a manufacturer in China.

Sales were sluggish until his daughters created videos showing how to use the loom to make all kinds of bracelets and anklets. Rainbow Loom's official Facebook page encourages fans to share their designs and its official Instagram page does the same. Soon fans began posting their own YouTube videos showing individual designs and techniques, sending the craze viral. Suddenly, sales gained momentum and Rainbow Looms became the product of the moment, with distribution through Learning Express and other stores. 

Now that Rainbow Loom has sold more than 1 million kits, competitors are marketing their own versions of rubber band looms. Entrepreneur Ng is suing, alleging patent infringement over the C-connector used to close the bracelets, among other legal issues. Meanwhile, he is also looking ahead to extend the product life cycle by identifying other ways to use the Rainbow Loom. How long will the rubber band loom fad continue before it fades?

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