I just read that Marisa Tomei is going to make a hooping workout video. (I DO realize there are already hoop workout DVDs, but being that this is by a celebrity, it will get so much more press).
I was just wondering what your take on this is. Some people think its great to get hooping out there, so everyone can experience the joy and beauty. Some people think it will destroy the culture. I want to know where you stand on this.
You know, I'm an artist & have always been a little on the fringe in a lot of ways... suddenly I'm finding a whole bunch of my "peculiarities" have smashed into the mainstream! I'm a hooper, an Alice/Wonderland freak, & I can't eat gluten. It feels damned unfamiliar to be in on any trend, much less three that are suddenly booming & making headlines all at once!
It does kind of shake my sense of self in a way, but I have to say I fall on the "spread the love" side of the fence. I always used to tell my kids when people called me eccentric, that "eccentric" just means out of the center-- the center is just one tiny little dot & I choose to explore the whole wide circle! I never could understand why anyone would want to be so restricted in life. And far be it from me to want to hold anyone else back from exploring something new-- even if it's just a flash trend for most, it may be a life-saver for some or at least a source of genuine joy. The real hoop love is stronger than any trend & will survive the buffeting of a few silly fad years...
I've also found myself lost at the way trends are going. Alice in Wonderland, lolita clothing, wild hair and makeup, 90s Nickelodeon nostalgia... and suddenly, we're selling all of my favorite things at my store; and I'm not happy about it!
But again, exactly as circularlogic, all those who truly love hooping will still be here in a decade.
That is my concern. I'm not worried that people will find the joy of hooping; in fact, I don't mind that at all...it's the closeness and the community of hoopers that I worry about. I'm concerned that hoops will begin to be manufactured and all of the individual hoopers that depend on their hoops sale will be outed. But Haley is right, too...the ones that really have a connection with the hoop will be here after the fad breaks.
I think there will always be a niche market for hand-made-to-order, quality hoops. It might even grow! And frankly I think it would be nice if folks who just can't afford an expensive hoop could still get a half-decent one. Not that I have any fondness for WalMart, I assure you, but mass production is not all bad. Imagine if you had to build your computer from scratch-- I'm old enough to remember when people did! I for one would still be writing with quill pens. Oh wait, I am! But I love my technology too. ;)
They are not comparable to Walmart at all. Walmart is a national company which would be more accessible for most people (The lack of shipping and handling charges would help undercut the brands you mentioned.) and which has name brand recognition and would likely undercut the prices of current hoop sellers including those you listed. Chain retailers would likely take away from them many first-time hoop purchasers.
That being said, I doubt the big box stores would offer enough variety to meet all hoopers' needs. More than likely they would carry 1 or 2 generic one size/weight fits all. I think they would carry the people who will pick up the hoop once or twice and never do it again. The hoopers who really love it and want to connect with the culture will want more individualization in terms of size and decoration. Most hard-core hoopers have more than one hoop to suit their needs and new hooping enthusiasts will want to continue upgrading their hoops in the same way. The chain stores would not change that and would not provide for that demand because it will likely still be too niche.
Also, I think independent hoop products would become sort of status symbols within the community. Newbies would be satisfied with their generic hoops at first, but when they attend a hoop jam and see a more advanced dancer rocking out with an awesomely decorated hoop, the Walmart hoop that every other beginner has will seem a lot more lackluster. They'll want a unique hoop to differentiate themselves and move up the ranks. Independently made hoops would become badges of honors, symbols that the holders are really hard-core hoopers. (Note that I don't mean that the community will look down on mass-produced hoops, but that new hoopers will start to view hoop upgrades as integral to ascending the ladder of success.)
Lastly, I think community pride could be used to support the independent vendors. Those hoopers who fall in love with hooping will want to give back to the community, and if a "support independent sellers" theme was reinforced in the community, beginners would see that as a way of further participating in and helping the community that they feel has changed their lives.
Big 5 sells Wham-O brand "exercise" hoops for 19.99, but I find many people want grip tape, and hand made beauty.... besides, some people aren't into "made in China" so there will always be a niche for handmade in the USA hoops!
Our community is wonderful BECAUSE it welcomes newcomers. If that changes it won't be because of something someone else did but because of something we did. So here is our challenge and our opportunity. This is the time to walk our talk. We get to welcome newcomers no matter how they arrive here and show them what the circle is all about. A circle can be inclusive but it can also be exclusive. It's up to us to define that.