Rainbow Loom … Ask Its Creator!
Rainbow Loom fans! Have you had a pressing question about the Rainbow Loom? About a stitch, the loom itself, or how it was invented in the first place? Anything. What’s on your mind about it? Now you get to ask away!
Rainbow Loom creator, Choon Ng, has kindly agreed to take 20 questions from Here There Everywhere — Kids’ News readers!!! That’s you! Yay!
The deadline for submitting questions is Friday, October 18. Please read the rules and guidelines at the end of this post.
In the meantime, here’s a piece about Rainbow Loom, its inventor, and the great story behind it.
by Caroline Dunn
There’s a pretty good chance that by now you know what a Rainbow Loom is — those little plastic pegs that helps you create endless amounts of twisty bracelets out of tiny colorful rubber bands. You might even have one … or two.
It’s the latest craze that’s sweeping the nation.
Why? What makes you love these bracelets so much, that you sit peacefully afternoon upon afternoon creating “starburst” or “fishtail” weaves? Even choosing to do this over playing flashier, glitzier video games?
The answer lies beyond the product itself with its creator, Choon Ng. Ng is a 45-year-old immigrant from Malaysia, of Chinese descent, who until recently worked as a crash test dummy safety engineer in Michigan. At home, he noticed his daughters making rubber band bracelets on their fingers. Eventually, vague trappings of an idea began to form in the recesses of his head: a plastic loom toy that would help weave the rubber bands into bracelets. Unlike most people, who think of innovative ideas but never act upon them, Ng got to work on it, visualizing the toy that would become the Rainbow Loom.
If only it had been that easy.
Ng faced all the predictable hurdles at first, convincing his spouse, finding the time, and finding the money. The Ng family risked their life savings and daughters’ college money to manufacture his looms in the hopes his idea would catch on. However, when the first shipment arrived, the rubber bands were coated in dust and the hooks for the looms were too large. In his opinion, he could never sell these products to the public.
He persisted, carefully hand washing the rubber bands first in a bathtub, then later in his washing machine, drying them with way too many towels. Then he pounded all the hooks into the proper shape, which took more hours than imaginable.
Still, no interest.
Then a local Learning Express store purchased a few, played around with it, saw its potential, and helped spread the word. Sandie Paradiso, a Senior Buyer and Product Developer at Learning Express told HTE Kids’ News, “It’s open-ended, it’s gender-neutral, and it’s something that all children or all ages and all skill levels can do. The kids who previously said they’re not good at arts and crafts can make something they’re proud of.”
It has also inspired entrepreneurialism and charity: kids make them for friends, to sell, or to raise money for charity. The appeal also extends beyond the next new fad, having a more old-fashion appeal. Unlike high-tech computer games, you use relatively simple tools, follow a few simple steps … and, most importantly, add your own originality and imagination.
Caroline Dunn is high school sophomore. She has a passion for reading and hopes to become a writer one day. She is delighted to be writing for HTE. (Editor’s note: HTE is thrilled to have her!) Some content for this piece was reported on from Reuters and the New York Times.
Please submit your question for Rainbow Loom inventor, Choon Ng, in the question/comment box below. Please include ONLY your first name, and your age and state if you like. If you are under 13 years old, you MUST have your parent/adult submit your question for you. That’s the law. A special thank you to Choon Ng for giving his time to answer your questions!