Meet The Former Engineer Who Has Made £80 Million From Loom Bands

He doesn’t see the need to spend the money.

1. You may have heard that loom bands are pretty damn popular with the kids right now.

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The tiny elastic bands are being used to create elaborate and colourful bracelets as well as other weird and wonderful creations.

2. The bands have become so popular they have apparently made their Malaysia-born inventor Cheong Choon Ng £80 million in just three years.

3. The former Nissan engineer Cheong, who now lives in the U.S., came up with the idea for the bands back in 2010 when he came home from work to find his children using rubber bands to make crude jewellery.

PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP / Getty

“When I saw them it reminded me I used to make the same stuff during my childhood,” he told Thanh Tran, the founder of Kidpreneur, in May.

“In Malaysia we don’t have so much toys to play with so we play with sand, rock, marbles and rubber bands.”

4. He added: “So I sat down with them and said, ‘let me show you how to do it the right way’. I found the rubber bands were falling apart and I couldn’t hold them together and I thought ‘jeez there must be an easier way’.”

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“I used to work at Nissan, so I was thinking, ‘what if I put nails on a board to hold the rubber bands and loop them from inside out’.”

So Cheong made a board out of scrap materials and showed it to his daughters.

5. They became impressed when he managed to use multiple boards and create diamond patterns using the bands.

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The bands then became a success with his children’s friends and the 45-year-old realised he had stumbled across a gap in the market.

6. Originally called Twistz Bandz, Cheong changed the name of his creation to Rainbow Loom after learning another company had a similar name.

He reportedly then invested the family’s savings of almost £6,000 into a factory in China and in 2011 the bands went on sale.

7. After suffering some initial setbacks, business really picked up when Learning Express Toys made an order of 24 looms which subsequently sold out in two days.

AP Photo/Charleston Daily Mail, Craig Cunningham

With a starter kit priced at £10 and discount stores then starting to stock packets of the tiny bands it was apparent they were a very affordable toy.

8. Parents were also fans as children played with the bands together, helping each other out and following instructions.

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9. Children then began sharing tips and their creations on YouTube, providing free viral marketing for Rainbow Loom.

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10. They currently dominate the most popular toys and games section on Amazon.

11. As well as jewellery, people are creating and selling some rather bizarre creations.

12. Despite the sensational success of his business, Cheong claims he hasn’t allowed it to change his life.

He still drives his same car and the family live in the same house in Michigan.

13. “It’s a nice house, why should we move? We’re not over-the-top people. Maybe when I retire I’ll buy a boat and go fishing,” he is quoted by the Mirror as saying.

PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP / Getty

“The good thing is now we definitely have the money for the girls’ education.”

14. Having been a huge success in the U.S., the 20p bands have now exploded in Britain since the start of the year.

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Apparently in the first week of July alone Britain witnessed £1 million of sales of the loom bands.

15. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have now been pictured wearing them, as has One Direction heartthrob Harry Styles.

PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP / Getty
Joseph Johnson / Getty Images for ICC Cricket World Cup

17. Earlier this year Jimmy Kimmel’s viewers helped him create a “loom suit”.

18. And Ellen DeGeneres even provided him with loom pants to go with it.

19. Cheong has said new loom products are in the pipeline.

Here he is discussing the incredible success of his company so far.

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