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Kids go crazy for wavy bracelets
Colorful trend: Children, parents go crazy for shaped bracelets
SIKESTON, Mo. -- Anyone who hasn't noticed the bright-colored rubber bracelets accessorizing many local children this summer must not be paying attention.
Sold under brand names Silly Bandz, Zanybandz, Crazy Bands and many others, the bands are shaped like animals, letters, musical instruments, among many other items. They transform into wavy bracelets when placed on the wrist and pop back into their original shape when taken off.
Paper Factory at Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores began selling the bands about three months ago.
"They went out the door like crazy. We couldn't keep them in stock," store manager Crystal Burrell said.
And it's often the parents who notice the bands in the store before their children, Burrell said.
"Usually a parent doesn't want to buy a kid something if they're not asking for them, but parents are buying these bands for their kids without their kids being with them," Burrell said. "We just had some customers from St. Louis here and they took a couple packs and didn't have any kids with them."
Misti Crawford, assistant manager of Carol's Hallmark in Sikeston, said the store sells quite a few of the bands.
"The children like to share them with their friends. It's kind of like the friendship bracelets, but they trade them back and forth," Crawford said.
Crawford compared it to the the Webkinz craze a couple years ago.
"We sell quite a few every week. Pretty much every child in Sikeston has them," Crawford said, adding the Sikeston store began selling the bands about two months ago.
There are about 15 to 20 different design themes -- from camps and beaches to "Twilight" and animal crackers, Crawford said. Several gift shops in Cape Girardeau also sell the curvy, colorful bracelets.
Burrell noted bands in the shape of sea creatures are popular at the outlet store due to the oil spill crisis in the Gulf.
"It's something different, and some people like being different," said Burrell of the trend.
Heaven Miller, 14, of East Prairie and her 12-year-old sister like to trade their bands with each other. Heaven said she likes the inquiries she receives from others when she wears the bands.
"People walk up to you and you have to show them all of them," Heaven said about why she likes to wear the band."
Most of the bands Heaven has are in shapes of food.
"I have an ice cream cone, a cheeseburger and a dolphin," said Heaven, who chooses to wear only a few bands at a time.
Gracie Qualls, 9, and her 6-year-old sister, Emma Qualls, of Sikeston received their first set of bands from their baby sitter about a week ago.
"They go with all the outfits you wear because they're different colors," Gracie Qualls said about why she likes the bands. "I want to get more. It's something you can collect."
Whitney Montgomery of Sikeston said her 9-year-old daughter, Audrey, started talking about the bands right after school ended in May.
"One girl she knew had them, and I had to go that afternoon and get them for her," Montgomery said.
And it s not just children who wear the bands.
"There's some women I go to church with who wear them," Montgomery said.
The brand name bands and similar items sell in packs of 24 bracelets from $1 to $7 and can be found online at retailers like Walgreens, Walmart and Toys R Us.
Grace Urhahn, 9, and her older sister Maddie Urhahn, 11, of Benton started collecting the bands a few months ago after receiving them as gifts.
"Pretty much I wear them all the time," Grace said. "I like that they're shapes, and you can put them on and wear them, and when you take them off, they're still in the same shape."
The girls' mother, Sharon Urhahn, said she approves of the trend.
"I like them. They're inexpensive and something they like," Mrs. Urhahn said. "They like to take them off with their friends, compare and switch designs."
And except maybe for sleeping, Mrs. Urhahn said her daughters don't really take the bands off.
"You can wear them in the shower and swim in them," she said.
While band wearers say they can be worn on one wrist or both, Grace Urhahn said she prefers to wear hers all on one wrist.
"I just wake up and put them on one of my hands," she said.