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How Was the Loom Band Invented?

How Was the Loom Band Invented?

 

Rainbow Loom Bands

 

It’s easy to disregard the loom band trend because they’re everywhere. You can buy them in specialty shops, bookstores, and your local neighborhood tiangge. There was a time when the loom band trend became so popular that a dress was made entirely out of loom bands, and comedian Vice Ganda went to an awards show wearing a giant loom band boa. But the trend has since died down and we forgot all about them. But at the height of the colorful trend, did we ever wonder how it started?

 

 How Was the Loom Band Invented

Cheo Choon Ng, the inventor of the loom band 

 

It turns out that the loom band trend began with Cheong Choon Ng, a Malaysian man based in the US who saw his two daughters making bracelets using rubber bands. Wanting to impress them, he taught them how to link the rubber bands together, just as he learned in his home country. But he couldn’t link it properly, so he went down to the basement, took a scrapboard, and stuck pushpins in it. He linked the bands in a zigzag pattern that became the iconic loom band.

Curiously, Ng has been working with rubber his whole life. In Malaysia, his father worked in his grandfather’s rubber-tree plantation, where Ng grew up watching them produce natural rubber. Because they were based in a small town in rural Malaysia, Ng had to be creative with his toys. He built kites, played with sand, and made jumping rope made of rubber bands.

After he made his daughters’ first loom bands, children asked him to make them bracelets. Ng’s eldest daughter suggested selling them. Ng spent six months developing the product, and even came up with 28 versions. He still had his day job in crash safety in the motor industry.

 

 How Was the Loom Band Invented 3

Vice Ganda and his loom band inspired outfit at the Yahoo! Celebrity Awards (Photo from Hardware Zone) 

 

At first, Ng’s wife was not convinced about the idea. According to him, “I am the one in the family with all the crazy ideas, and she is my reality check. She always has the final say.” He finally convinced his wife when he made a loom band ring and placed it on her ring. She said yes. If only wedding proposals were this easy!

They invested their life savings of $10,000 to buy tools and 2,000 lbs of rubber bands from China. At first, they assembled the kits by themselves, and Ng and his daughters personally went to toy stores to sell the loom bands. No one bought it because no one understood how to assemble them. They then had the brilliant idea to post YouTube tutorials to teach how to make loom bands.

In 2012, they received an order of 12 loom band kits from a toy store in Georgia. In less than two weeks, they made another order, this time worth $10,000. In less than a month, Ng managed to earn back his investment. By the end of the year, they were making $200,000 in wholesale sales each month. He took a break from his job, but never went back.

In 2013, Ng sold $40 million worth of loom bands. It’s inspiring to hear how a multimillion dollar fortune began as a project done with the kids. When Ng sees the British royal family and Pope Francis wearing loom bands, he tells himself, “Wow, that was started from our dining room table!”

Do you have any ideas you think would make it big? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

 

How Was the Loom Band Invented?

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