Taking note of the loom band craze
Rainbow Loom® is the official trademark of the popular children’s toy that won the 2014 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Award in the United States.
It’s the invention of Malaysian-American (Chinese descent) Cheong Choon Ng who started with an initial investment of $10,000 (for parts and rubber bands) and was eventually discovered by big retailers such as Michaels.
In the Philippines, the original Rainbow Loom® can be purchased from Toy Kingdom, Toys R Us, Rustan’s and Toy Express. It sells for a little less than P1,000 or more.
In its Philippine website, the manufacturer warned about counterfeit and substandard imitations in the market. They have also announced that they have updated their product and are no longer selling the looms using plastic hooks (they now use a metal hook). Many users have a preference for the American original given the higher quality of its rubber bands and looms.
The copycats known generically as loom band toys are selling in the country for one third to one fourth of the US original price. Loom bands are artistic creations made from colorful rubber bands. For first time weavers, the fish tail and single chain design are among the initial patterns learned and can be accomplished using only fingers. However, in order to create more interesting and complicated pieces, a loom is needed. There are countless free tutorials on YouTube on how to create multi-layered bracelets, animal charms, rings, bags and just about any creative idea possible. A lot of these tutorials are also given by children or teenagers.
While there are certain groups who have warned against the danger of ingesting these rubber bands, some parents have welcomed this weaving addiction that has caught on the lives of children aged around 8 years and above, for the simple reason that it has taken many kids away from iPads and gadgets.
At the same time, the activity encourages creativity and persistence in completing a design, aside from hand-eye coordination benefits. There are also children who have started selling their artwork.
The hobby has caught on even in school. According to a grade school student in one private institution, they are not allowed to wear more than one loom band bracelet as a way of managing the fad among students. Loom bands are considered a toy and usually not allowed in school. Students who risk bringing the looms can end up in the school’s naughty list.
Furthermore, not all parents see the toy’s positive effects. Josephine Ariaso, a mother of two young children, first witnessed loom bands from her niece and she herself tried doing it. She admits, “Yes, it’s a craze because you see it everywhere.”
However, she has no plans of purchasing the looms for her own kids. When asked if she sees the benefits, she replies, “Not really because it is addictive. It takes time away from your studies.”
It remains to be seen how long loom bands will remain in fashion. However, it appears that many entrepreneurs have already joined the bandwagon and cashed in on the craze.
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