Latest craze hits Gladstone as loom bands fly off shelves
IN the '90s the craze was Pokemon, Tamagotchis and Tazo cards, but in 2014 it's loom bands.
Loom bands have totally captivated children all over the world, and is the latest craze to hit Gladstone.
Loom bands are colourful, tiny plastic bands that can be turned into bracelets, necklaces, rings, anklets, hair ties, earrings, animals, and thousands of other creations imagined by kids.
They aren't just popular for girls - boys love them too.
Lincraft on Goondoon St stocks loom kits, and they've been selling like hot cakes ever since they were put on the shelves before Christmas.
Second in charge of Lincraft in Gladstone, Lianne Neilsen, said loom bands had been one of the store's biggest sellers.
"We run out of stock all the time. We are constantly re-stocking," she said. "Melbourne is the most popular, but Gladstone does pretty well, too."
Lincraft has recently introduced the Loom Kit 2 with pastel, scented, tie-dye and glow-in-the dark bands as well as charms to hang off bracelets. The kits are $9.99 each.
Ms Neilsen said the bands were also praised by parents.
"Lots of people say that their kids have gone from sitting alone in separate rooms and playing electronic devices to sitting together and doing them," she said.
Meanwhile, Big W is selling the starter kits for $15 and re-fill kits for $5, with sales equally as high as Lincraft.
Big W Gladstone development manager Tim Arnold said loom band kits were always on display in the toy section because of their popularity.
"We've sold 841 starter kits since December and 356 refill kits since March, over a period of 12 weeks," he said.
"Two months ago when we got more starter kits, we sold 145 in one week."
Big W sells 75 kits per week on average, with the feature on loom bands in next week's Big W Catalogue set to ramp-up this figure.
Mr Arnold said there were only about 152 kits left in the store.
Kids get creative... and addicted!
THEY may be banned during school hours but Gladstone kids are wearing layers of loom band creations on their bodies like there's no tomorrow.
Tannum Sands mum Kellie Shepherd and her three boys Jack, Harry and Connor are crazy about making loom necklaces, anklets and anything else they can think of.
Although children have not been allowed to wear the bands on their arms or legs at Tannum Primary School for about a month now, they have found other ways.
"I have seen boys sneak them in under their socks and girls wear them in their hair," Kellie said.
Deborah Bensch and her children Owen, Ashlyn and Eryn are loom-lovers, and mum is hooked.
"I'm addicted to them too, I steal the kids' ones!" she said. "It crosses all genres. Boys love them too."
Deborah said the bands caused no harm and were a breath of fresh air compared to other kinds of activities children got into.
"I would prefer them to do loom bracelets than anything else, like technology," she said. "My kids wake up and make them straight away. They give them to their friends."
Eight-year-old Ashlyn Bensch said her favourite part of making a loom bracelet was the freedom it gives you.
"The best part is making all the different designs. We make necklaces, earrings, hair ties, tags and head bands," she said.
"My favourite are the orange and blue ones."
Ashlyn takes five minutes to make a single bracelet and 8-10 minutes to make a fishtail-style bracelet.
"It's like knitting and it's really fun," she said.
Party on and learn how to loom
EVERYONE loves a party, and a local Gladstone woman has decided to throw a string of Loom Parties for kids and adults.
Bianca Currie will be holding exclusive loom parties starting from June 1, teaching others how to make new and exciting designs.
"I thought it was a good idea to keep the kids and adults entertained.
"I was thinking of setting up the loom parties the same way the Tupperware and linen parties are done," she said.
Bianca will charge $5 per person for a two-hour party. For more details, call Bianca on 0434 382 615