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(NYT56) UNDATED -- January 17, 2008 -- OBIT-KNERR -- Richard Knerr, right, co-founder of Wham-O, with Arthur Melin in an undated 1965 photo. Richard Knerr, right, with Arthur Melin in an undated photo. Knerr, who gave the company he and his friend started in a garage the altogether appropriate name Wham-O, then marketed products that for two decades virtually defined frivolity in post-war America, from the Hula Hoop to the Frisbee to the SuperBall, died on Monday at his home in Arcadia, Calif. He was 82. (Wham-O Inc./The New York Times) (Wham-O Inc./NYT)
(NYT56) UNDATED -- January 17, 2008 -- OBIT-KNERR -- Richard Knerr, right, co-founder of Wham-O, with Arthur Melin in an undated 1965 photo. Richard Knerr, right, with Arthur Melin in an undated photo. Knerr, who gave the company he and his friend started in a garage the altogether appropriate name Wham-O, then marketed products that for two decades virtually defined frivolity in post-war America, from the Hula Hoop to the Frisbee to the SuperBall, died on Monday at his home in Arcadia, Calif. He was 82. (Wham-O Inc./The New York Times) (Wham-O Inc./NYT)

Small business briefing

The craze may be over, but the Hula Hoop twirls on Add to ...

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Business team. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeSmallBiz.

Fifty years and we're still Hula-Hooping

It may not look like more than a strip of coloured plastic fashioned into a circle. But the 'Hula Hoop,' a toy marketed in 1958 and trademarked in the U.S. on this day 50 years ago, continues to have a loyal following.

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The hip-swiveling toy was first marketed by Wham-O Inc., a California toy company started by University of South California graduates Arthur 'Spud' Melin and Richard Knerr in 1948.

The duo started selling slingshots and boomerangs out of their garage, and went on to the design for a flying plastic disc called the Pluto Platter - better known as the Frisbee, "to capitalize on America's fascination with UFOs," according to the History Channel.

Wham-O also had incredible success with later inventions including Silly String, Slip N' Slide, Hacky Sack and the boogie board.

But it was the Hula Hoop that really put Wham-O on the map. The inspiration for the iconic toy came from a visit to the playground, where Australian children were twirling bamboo 'exercise hoops' around their waists. The entrepreneurs began processing a plastic version and named it after 'hula,' the hip-gyrating Hawaiian dance of the same name.

In 1958, the year that Wham-O first began marketing the Hula Hoop, it  made $45-million in profit, selling 25-million hoops in less than four months and 100 million during the two-year craze.

In 1999, the hoop was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in New York and was also deemed one the 100 greatest toys ever by Time magazine.

DailyCandy founder opens up about former business, next steps

AMEX Open Forum presents an interview with Dany Levy, the founder of DailyCandy, the popular lifestyle e-mail newsletter,  launched in 2000, only to sell it to Bob Pittman's Pilot Group Ventures for $3-million in 2003 and then to Comcast for a reported $125-million (a mere two days before Lehman Brotheres collapsed).

On whether she sees herself starting another company she says: "I’m not sure. I don’t really see myself as a serial entrepreneur. I will admit that, from a psychological point of view, starting another company is a little terrifying. Once you do something and do it well, you get scared to ruin your track record with something else."

The SXSW tipping point

South by Southwest (SXSW), a set of film, interactive and music festivals and conferences that takes place every spring in Austin, Tex., is big. And only seems to be getting bigger. In fact, 25,000 people are expected to register for the interactive part of the festival alone, an increase of 5 to 7 per cent from 2012, according to Sarah E. Needleman of the Wall Street Journal.

But early adopters are starting to suggest that the event's 'mass appeal' is tarnishing its value proposition. Is there the same return on investment (from pricey flights, hotels and transportation) that there was in the past? That's the question Ms. Needleman gets to the bottom of in her piece.

"What was once an under-the-radar affair has become a trendy, mainstream gala, raising concerns that going may no longer be worthwhile for entrepreneurs looking to meet investors, potential co-founders or others who could potentially have a significant impact on their businesses," she writes.

KEY EVENTS AND DATES

Digital Media Summit

Digital Media Summit, which takes place on March 19 and March  20, is a social media and interactive marketing conference bringing together top executives and visionaries to examine the transformation of business with the growth and innovation of cross-media content. Learn more here:

On May 25 to 26, the Toronto International Music Summit is hosting its annual conference which includes; panels, workshops, mentorship from the industry, celebrity speakers and also a VIP reception with a Concert, targeted to develop the artist and business entrepreneur. The event takes place at CBC Glenn Gould Studio on 250 Front Street West.

EDITOR’S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

From laptop to tablet: convertible systems offer the perfect mix

From Samsung to HP to Toshiba, manufacturers have aggressively adopted a variety of mechanisms to make the switch to convertible systems

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

When you build it, they do come. Learn from Disney

With its theme parks, Disney can teach small businesses a lot about product development, and the power of true creativity

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