Silly Bandz Success Anything But Silly

Kids show off their collections of Silly Bandz.

Silly Bandz are silicone bracelets that come in dozens of different shapes, from tree frogs to dolphins to geckos. They're hugely popular with kids, reports CBS News senior business correspondent Anthony Mason, and at about $5 for a pack, stores can't keep them in stock.

"Does everybody in school have them?" Mason asked a group of kids.

"Oh yeah!" the kids yelled.

"There was this one girl who started wearing them and like next day everyone had them going up their arms," said one kid.

Silly Bandz Sell Out!
Silly Bandz, Web Extra Video

Across the country, a new arms race is on. Some kids say they have more than 100 each. Others tell stories about friends wearing so many that they've had circulation trouble.

"My friend lost her circulation," said a girl named Claire. "She lost her circulation and her wrist was hanging."

Kids also say the Sillz Bandz are valuable.

They're especially valuable to Robert Croak. He's the rubber band man who came up with the idea after seeing a similar product designed for Japanese offices. His business has grown 10 times in the past six months.

"Every time we think we've got a handle on it, it just keeps growing," said Croak.

A year ago Croak was shipping 20 boxes a day from his Toledo, Ohio, company. Now it's up to 1,500. That's millions of Silly Bandz every week.

"I definitely feel like I'm one of the luckiest guys alive," said Croak. "That's for sure."

He's done it without advertising. The buzz on Silly Bandz is spreading over the Internet. The Silly Bandz Facebook page now has 166,000 friends.

"And let's face it. In a tough economy, any parent can afford to spend $5 to get their kid something they really want," said Croak.

When kids were asked what they'd say to the man who invented Silly Bandz, the answer was quick.

"You're awesome."

A fortune from fancy rubber bands. There's nothing silly about that.

  • Anthony Mason
    Anthony Mason

    CBS News senior business and economics correspondent; Co-host, "CBS This Morning: Saturday"