Lure of the loom

Lure of the loom
Tam Kam Lam (centre), 60, her granddaughter Estelle Teo, nine, her grandson Jayden Tay, five and her stepdaughter Serene Teo, 39, with loom bracelets and tiny figurines made with the rubber bands, pictured on 16 July, 2014.

It is a kid's craft craze that has swept countries such as Australia, Britain, the United States and now Singapore. But the appeal of Rainbow Loom, a craft kit that lets you fashion bracelets out of small, colourful rubber bands, extends beyond kids.

Adults, too, are making and wearing the wrist candy du jour. Superstar footballer David Beckham and Catherine Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, are among the famous faces who have been seen sporting one of these multi-coloured fashion statements. The rubber bands can even be used to form fashion accessories, ornaments, dolls and jewellery.

Loom mania has hit fever pitch, with a dress made out of 20,000 loom bands sold on eBay for £170,100 (S$361,300) a few days ago. Rainbow Loom bracelets - this generation's answer to the woven friendship band of the 1980s - first gained popularity in the US in 2012. The kit is the brainchild of Mr Ng Cheong Choon, 45, a Malaysian engineer who moved to the US when he was in his 20s (see facing page).

The fad found its way here last year, thanks to toy distributor Lin Daoyang, 34, now the sole distributor of Rainbow Loom here.

The Singaporean found out about the product through a friend living in the US and contacted Mr Ng last November.

"It was close to Christmas season so his company was very busy and had no stock for us, save for 300 kits," Mr Lin recalls.

Within a week, the $29.90 kits were snapped up through his network of retailers and online forums.

Mr Lin then asked for more kits but could not get his hands on them until late February.

"Since then, demand has just exploded," he says.

Sales of the kits here so far total a five- figure sum and he now supplies them to more than 20 retailers, including MPH bookstores and OG department stores.

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