March 19, 2014

Rainbow Loom inventor, Wichita State grad buys suit Kimmel wore on TV

The inventor of one of the world’s more popular toys now wears one of the world’s more singular suits.

The inventor of one of the world’s more popular toys now wears one of the world’s more singular suits.

It cost Choon Ng $40,000, his family told the Detroit Free Press.

Ng invented Rainbow Loom, perhaps the most wildly popular toy of the past year – a simple but behaviorally addictive loom that children use to make colorful bracelets and other adornments out of rubber bands.

Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel last month walked onstage at his show wearing a suit made by fans crafting together Rainbow Loom bracelets.

In the film clips from his show, Kimmel said he’d asked viewers to send him bracelets and other colorful designs made from Rainbow Loom rubber bands. “Jimmy Kimmel Live” received so many thousands that the show was able to make not only the suit but neckties for the show’s entire band.

In the show clip, Kimmel said he was now “98 percent rubber.”

After the show, Kimmel offered the suit at auction on eBay to raise money for the MaxLove Project, to help kids fighting cancer.

That drew Ng’s attention. He is a mechanical engineer who graduated from Wichita State University, but he also is a father whose daughters made suggestions and encouraged him as he designed a Rainbow Loom prototype. Buying a suit made with his toy was a natural fit.

“Yes!” he wrote in an e-mail the day after Kimmel’s show. “I’m keeping my eye on the suit at eBay. :-) ”

The Toy Industry Association in February named Rainbow Loom the Toy of the Year.

Prior to inventing Rainbow Loom, Choon Ng worked for the automotive industry. His brother Yeow runs Rainbow Loom’s online store in Wichita, and works as a mechanical engineer at the National Institute for Aviation Research.

Ng has said his new toy company earned $55 million in the past year.

“We got the suit yesterday,” he wrote in an e-mail Wednesday. He attached a photo of himself with his wife, Fen.

In the photo, he’s wearing the jacket. She’s wearing the pants.

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