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It seems Astral Hoops has finally heard my pleas for an updated version of their smart hoop. They have delivered a lighter, brighter hoop with more patterns and more control. New features include a megamix option, which combines the chaos of randomization with intelligent transitioning to create a unique mix of patterns every time, as well as the ability to customize the speed and colours of any pattern. Short of an improved designer, this hoop is everything I was hoping for. The patterns really do look crisper, the new POV patterns are great, and I <3 the megamix mode. Astral truly did listen to its customers and deliver an amazing smart hoop. For $400, the Atomic V a great option for any hooper trying to light up the sky!
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OG hoopers will remember the Phoenix as the very first smart hoop, followed shortly after by the Astral Atomic. After several years of success, the owner Hoopdaddy sold his plans to Spin FX, a company with lots of fresh ideas for how to update the software and make the hoop more durable. Sadly, it seems like the hoop has once again been thrown aside by its owners, in exchange for a probably hefty fee. Is this hoop cursed? Is its beauty too good to be matched by the equally durable hardware? Argent Data Systems, the creator of the Hyperion Hoop, doesn’t believe so. He has scooped up this lonesome hoop and given it a new, and hopefully final place to call home.
Since Argent Data Systems (ADS) owns the phoenix now, what exactly are they planning to do to it? They claim to be keeping it in all its glory, with just a few extra features to keep it modern. This hoop will now feature motion sensors, more patterns and sizes, and art-net compatibility for wireless control from a standard lighting console.
Priced at $430, the new Phoenix is a top of the line designer smart hoop, definitely vying for the title of Best LED Hoop for 2018.
After years of waiting, it looks like we finally get a new version of the Astral Evoke and Moodhoops Future Hoop. While Astral Hoops has mostly just added a couple new features and new modes, Moodhoops has added the ability to create your own modes! Don’t get me wrong though, the new Atomic V Hoop still has lots of fun new features to it. From the long anticipated ultimate shuffle mode, to the ability to change the speed and color scheme of any mode, it seems like this smart hoop has finally caught up with the rest and become a real contender again for best smart hoop of the year!
And along with Moodhoops and Astral Hoops, Argent Data Systems has a couple of big announcements for us as well. The Phoenix hoop has once again been put up for sale, this time with Argent Data Systems snatching up the popular first smart hoop. The maker of the Hyperion plans to meld high quality gapless graphics of the Phoenix with the software of the Hyperion. Not only that, but we just learned that a 5/8″ version of the Hyperion is now available! Click here to help this dream become a reality. For years we have been begging for updated smart hoops, these companies certainly have not disappointed. Which do you think deserves the title for best LED hoop of 2018?
Zillion Lights refuses to quit! They have released their third smart hoop, the 5/8″ featherweight Pandora, with even more patterns than ever! The Pandora has the ability to both choose any pattern within the hoops memory bank, but also add layers to chaser patterns and change colors and speeds. Loaded with over 1600 different patterns, the Pandora is sure to please any hooper. With a battery gap of only 3 pixels and double density LEDs, the Pandora gives a spectacular light show. It’s extremely lightweight, so it’s easy to dance with as well! The removable batteries allow you to light up the stage all night long, and the wait time of 2-4 weeks isn’t too bad either. The remote, however is just as difficult to figure out as ever. But, ZL addresses this with a comprehensive user guide, as well as video tutorials and a web app that all walk you through the capabilities of this fabulous hoop and remote. Unfortunately, the ZL Pandora hoop is $400, which is actually the same price as Moodhoop’s FutureHoop Remote (5/8) and slightly more than the Astral Evoke. However, the Pandora has both more LEDs and far more patterns than either of the other smart hoops! The Pandora is a perfect option for any hooper, amateur to professional alike. And, since ZL is famous for giving its shoppers amazing deals, it can actually be a really good choice economically. This hoop will not disappoint!
With a new year comes new affordable and innovative smart hoops and Moodhoops is leading the race when it comes to cool new hoops. Not only do they have new technology for their future hoop pros, but have also taken some of their most beloved, simpler patterns, and shoved them into a nice little affordable hoop for all of us simple hoopers. The Pixel Hoop comes loaded with 5 different pattern modes, hoopers can expect a 2-4 hours of endless LED fun with all of the different Classic, Aura, Rainbow, Halo, and Chaser modes this hoop has to offer. Unfortunately, the Pixel Hoop is currently only available in 3/4″ tubing, although that is likely to change in time. Still, this is a hoop that I have been dreaming of since I started hooping, years ago. Moodhoops always delivers.
The Holidays are officially upon us! Here in the good ol’ USA that means one thing: SHOPPING!
Here are 12 gift ideas for the hooper in your life who already owns way too many hoops.
- Hoop Wax
This is the perfect gift for any hooper who does not wish to make her hoop heavy with grip tape. There are many different companies that sell hoop wax, and each have their own special formula. Our favourite is the Natural Hula Hoop Wax from Hoopocalypse.
- Travel Bag
Protect your hoops from dirt and snow with a one-of-a-kind hoop travel bag! Our favourites are from Citiva Creationz!
- Hoop Rack
Tired of having hoops laying all around your floor? Why not try one of these super stylish hoop racks from ShelLEDhoops? Or this cool Kokopelli hanger from Melding Studios.
- Wall Art
Hoopers love sacred geometry. Enough said. Get this unique piece of art from Forged Creations.
- Hoop Mandala
Take your hoops to the next level with these one of a kind crochet hoop mandala covers! Available exclusively from Katie’s Crochet Page on Etsy.
Check out these cool vinyl hooping stickers from Hoop Junky!
Harmonic Threads has been a favourite brand of hoopers for years. Olive’s handmade cotton clothing is sure to make anyone a happy hooper this holiday season!
- Fire Wicks
Quick wicks are the best way to turn any day hoop into a fire hoop, perfect for lighting up the night-time sky. Check out the original quickwick from
- Hoop Lessons
Help a fellow hooper out and increase your skill at the same time! So many hoopers offer lessons, so always ask your favourites if they’ll be willing to teach you! You can also take online classes from HoopLovers!
- Kevlar Sleeves
Millions of workers use Kevlar sleeves to protect their arms from getting cut on the job. But they are great for fire spinning too! Save your arm hairs and wear these stylish sleeves from Synergy FlowArts.
Do you find your self in-content with your current career choice? Do you feel like you try and try, and yet, just aren’t going anywhere? Don’t you think it would be swell if you could make a living doing what you love, with the people you love? Of course you do! This is why so many hoopers- turned entrepreneurs- have popped up in our feeds in the last few years.
It always starts out the same way. You love pretty hoops, but you hate the high price tags. So, you decide that if Moodhoops can do it, so can you! But what do you do with all that extra tubing, since you really don’t need 10 hoops all to yourself?! You gift it to hoop friends, of course! And then you rinse and cycle repeat. This is how nearly every new hoopsmith is born. The cheap price tag on hoops, if you make them yourselves, draws us in. And since we are so broke from buying all that shiny tape, selling our creations to those less crafty seems like a great idea! But is it? Ever?
So many young women and men see hoop-making as an opportunity for extra cash, that they seem to fail to recognize the dangers and inconveniences that come along with it.
1.) You’re sending your address out to every single customer.
If you use your home address as the return address on items, you are putting yourself at risk as a seller. Although it is mostly fine, you never know which customer might be that one creep who decides to drive down and watch you make your hoops in person. Or the hooper who actually just wants as much information as they can find about you. You can, of course, easily combat this by using a P.O. box, but that costs on average, $20 a month. Some seller platforms, like Ebay, will even give your phone number to customers! Make sure you know exactly how much information you are choosing to giveaway before you accept user agreements on seller platforms, because your privacy is important!
2.) You will not make any money in the beginning.
You will not make any profits when you first start. This is how most businesses are, and hoops are no different! There are so many hoop shops out there already, the market is very saturated and difficult to break into. A combine social marketing push and low prices can help new hoop makers build up clientèle. Low prices, however are unsustainable for any business. All money made from hoops must be funneled back into business to pay for hoop supplies, shipping supplies, new tools, etc… And once you start getting a steady clientèle, you will find yourself drowning in hoops! Time you used to spend cooking, cleaning, relaxing, will now all be spent making hoops! It can take over your whole life! So at some point, either raising prices or lowering cost of production is a must.
3.) Large customer base is not the goal.
There are many shops who will push and push for more customers. They keep their prices at “just starting out” rates and adopt sponsor after sponsor to push their name out. After a while they have so many orders that they have to start hiring help. And you know what? That’s expensive. Why push for more and more customers at low prices? That just leads to more and more work. People are willing to pay for quality, which is why the most successful hoopsmiths are the ones who raise their prices and take on a much smaller clientèle. Building multiple hoops every single day will take hours, and put strain on your muscles. And employees cost money. In order to fairly and legally pay them, they must receive a living wage and hopefully some sort of health care. Not to mention, the cost of training the employee, since it can be pretty difficult to find seasoned hoopsmiths looking for work. Work smarter, not harder.
4.) You can’t please everyone.
There will always be customers who are displeased with your work. No matter how many times you ask them if they are sure they know what they want, they will still be upset with you for their own choices. Know that you can’t make everyone happy and remind them of your return policies. They can take their business elsewhere, you don’t need to spend time worrying about them!
5.) Be ready to answer lots and lots and lots and lots of questions.
Some people love to “window shop” on etsy. They’ll ask you question after question, like “What colors do you offer?” “Do you have that reflective tape?” “I’ve never hooped before, what size should I get?” “Is it Polliepro?” “What colors do you offer, again?” “Can I get this color that you don’t offer?”
If you suspect someone is asking you question after question, then cut them loose. Let them know that you will be happy to answer any questions after a purchase has been made. Do not spend hours talking with customers who only want to waste your time. You are not playing games, you are trying to make a living.
6.)If your shop isn’t doing well, it’s probably because your marketing sucks.
If your entire goal is to make lots of money with hooping, then your primary focus needs to be on marketing. The stores that make the most money are the ones that make cuts on production and materials and pour all their money on marketing campaigns. These stores all have their own websites, usually have very low pricing, and constantly run deals and sales to promote their product. They also tend to hide any negative reviews made by customers concerned about safety. There are, however, stores who have more ethical business plans that have utilized marketing to make their businesses as successful as they wanted. Ruby Hooping is one of my favourite examples, because it is a company that was built by one woman, all on the ideals of body positivity and inclusion. Now, years later, she is able to sell as many hoops as she wants, sets her prices to what she sees as fair, and has even built an entire community dedicated to the same ideals she built her business on. Other hoopmakers have had success in making their businesses as eco as possible, or aligning themselves very closely with LGBTQ+ rights. They have all been successful because they know how to use social media to both promote their shops, and help share their humanitarian messages.
Although hoopmaking is not usually a very profitable road to go down, for some people it is the only road. Since I was young when I dabbled in it, I remember I had no idea what I was in store for. The amount of customer service I had to deal with made me anxious, the amount of money I had to spend on shipping labels was outrageous, and my hoop supplies was so plentiful that it started taking over my entire apartment! Before pressing that “Post Item” button on Etsy, really think it through. Are you ready to live, breathe, and dream hoops? Because that is what awaits every bright-eyed new hoopsmith. And it can certainly be fun, but only if you are truly prepared for all the hurdles you will have to jump over.
It is my unfortunate duty to inform you that Prodigy Hoops is somehow still relevant. Yes, the company that none of us even enjoy laughing at any more is still claiming that hoops promised in April 2016 will be shipping- wait for it:
Over the past year and a half, Prodigy Hoops has had problem after problem with production. And with each problem, seemed to come a new promise for a revolutionary, new smart hoop. Backers were promised features such as: current conducting tubing, a motion based menu system, and open sourced software. However, the one hoop that was sent out had one of these features. Jon, the owner, simply got in over his head and raised expectation after expectation before properly planning anything through. And unfortunately, since most hoopers are not extremely tech savvy, they fell for all this wishful thinking.
But, after over a year of waiting, backers have finally turned from their messages full of hope and manifestation and instead have turned their focus towards bank reversals and a class action lawsuit. The suit comes in wake of an enlightening video posted by Jon August 19th, 2017, where he claims that the $100k he raised through kickstarter has nearly all been lost due to a heroin addicted, ex-employee. And if this claim wasn’t already ridiculous enough for you, Jon went on to explain that he knew this employee was an addict and a thief, however continued to allow him to work on hoops alone in the shop. And of course, despite this hiccup, we can expect hoops to resume shipping “90 days.” Jon then went on to answer questions, clarifying things such as when hoopers can expect immediate refunds (hint: not immediately), and what he is doing about the people filing lawsuits (hint: refusing to refund them before they call a lawyer). He may be slimy, but you can’t say that this man isn’t determined. Unfortunately for all of his backers, he’s not determined enough to actually finish what he started.
Although there are still a select few who believe this madman’s claims of a revolutionary smart hoop, it seems for most hoopers, the illusion has been shattered. Hopefully this will be the end of kickstarter scams within our community. Because just like Bey, hoopers don’t play.
If you would like to view Jon’s oscar worthy update video, click here.
ZL Hula Hoops is back at it again with their totally revamped smart hoop! Despite all the naysayers, ZL Hoops has, indeed, improved on their original design and continues to evolve as a company as they work to improve products and designs. With this 2nd generation hoop, they have added better counter balance, extended the warranty, improved pattern quality, and most importantly have worked on simplifying controls by making sure the hoop always shuffles through patterns as soon as you turn it on. So anyone can literally pick up this hoop and use it now. No more spending minutes-hours, incessantly pushing buttons on the remote, screaming at your hoop to light up all the way around. Though I would like to eventually see the user able to design their own patterns, I have to admit the 1000+ the ZL hoop comes with are pretty nice. The remote, unfortunately is still just a confusing as ever, but at least with the automatic shuffle, you can just turn the hoop on and go. You’ll have in instant light show with no hassle. And although the counterbalance is indeed much better now, an outer connector piece will always make any hoop feel just a little bit wonky, so it would be nice to see if they can eliminate that in future generations! The DIY retube option also makes this hoop appealing, at least if you are as fickle as I am when it comes to choosing tubing type and size! All in all, the ZL Hoop is a nice smart hoop for the price ($399), especially since it is very frequently on sale. It’s great for anyone who is looking for a good quality hoop capable of intricate patterns, that doesn’t break the bank.