NOVI (WWJ) – One of the hottest toys to hit the market in years was developed by a former automotive safety engineer in metro Detroit.

If you have a tween on your Christmas list, chances are they’ve asked for a Rainbow Loom — something some parents claim is the only thing that will get their kids to set aside their smart phones and video games.

The Rainbow Loom is a small plastic device that allows the user to create bracelets out of tiny rubber bands.

“This product was discovered by accident,” Cheong-Choon Ng told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Marie Osborne. “I was trying to impress my daughters.”

Ng said it was tough to manipulate the tiny bands with his bigger fingers, so he cobbled together a loom made of push pins — and it worked.

“They got so excited about this product, and they were showing their friends, and our neighbor’s kids were all excited,” he said — and that’s when he knew he was onto something.

Ng sold about 3.5 million Rainbow Looms this year, for $16.99 each; and huge arts-and-crafts retailer Michaels Stores now stocks the product.

Ng said he likes that kids are putting down their electronics to pick up his loom.

“I find that they are more social when they are using the product … because they find it more interesting, sharing ideas with their friends,” Ng said. “There is a lot of eye and hand coordination. Kids have to really focus to be able to make the bracelets.”

The official Rainbow Loom Youtube page hosts more than 50 videos demonstrating how to use the product; and there are hundreds of others posted by fans of the loom.

Ng’s warehouse is located in Novi, and the looms are made in the U.S.A.

“It’s definitely changed my life and my family’s life,” Ng said. “This is like winning the lottery…with a lot of work.”

[Learn more about Rainbow Loom HERE].

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