Wende's Happy Hula Hoops


Wende's happy hoops.

By Jessica Pasko

Ever hula hoop? Yes, hula hoop.

Of course you have.

Most of us had a hoop of our own when we were kids. Well, apparently it's kind of a thing again -- for fun and for fitness.

You can still find some of the standard, garden variety hoops in the toy stores next to the boxes of colorful rubber balls, but Wende Smith would rather make her own. And hers have sparkly pink and purple butterflies and other cool stuff.

Wende is a Saratoga County mom and the owner of a little company called Happy Hoops.

Smith says she picked up hula hooping at music festivals. Apparently "hula hoops are HUGE with the hippies," she says. Who knew?

She realized it was easier to hula hoop with the really large hoops (about 40 inches in circumference). The larger hoops were especially easier for her kids to use.
But at $35-$60 a hoop, she couldn't justify buying a large hoop for each of her three children, so she looked into making her own. The irrigation tubing she needed only came in huge rolls, so she made extras. She can get six or seven large hoops out of a 100 foot roll of tubing. Then she started selling her custom hoops at music festivals all over the Northeast. Thus, Happy Hoops of Saratoga was born. Now Smith sells her hula hoops through her Etsy site as well .

After three years, she's sold some 200 hoops, which she makes in her garage with help from her husband and decorates with every kind and color of tape you could imagine. Smith also puts an emphasis on only using U.S.-made materials.

Most sales are done at music festivals and craft fairs, but Smith says she also gets a couple of custom requests a month. One person asked her to design a hoop with ticket stubs hanging off it from various concerts and festivals they had attended.

Smith says she's really passionate about hooping and loves being able to share it. She gives a lot of the hoops away to her children's schools and to the Saratoga YMCA. The stay-at-home mom also does customized devil sticks too.

So how much does one of Wende's custom hula hoops run? It depends. A 36- or 40-inch hoop will probably run you somewhere between $25 and $28, while a small hoop like a 28-inch one is usually closer to the $15 range. Specialty hoops, like extra weighted ones, are a little more.


The link isn't working. http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6640996 should get you there.

Thanks Carrie. It's fixed now.

You know - for kids!

Interesting. I thought the hula hoop hype came and went with the String Cheese Incident. They're back, though, so I guess the market's back.

Ahh, thanks! I've been hooping for about a year now, ordering my hoops from hoopnotica, but it's so expensive! Yay!

@ Josiah - Yes, SCI had a huge impact on bringing the hoops back, especially the bigger, easier to use ones. But its taken on a life of its own and jumped into more mainstream channels, too.

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