Sam Lacasse always wore a teal bracelet when he was a special education teacher at C-V Ranch. The teal silicone band signified his identity as a thyroid cancer survivor.
“Kids were always asking him about the bracelet,” says Nicole Rue, his wife and business partner, who worked with him at C–V. “Sam saw how much kids like to have something to play with and touch, be hands-on with.”
LaCasse realized his students wanted to express their identities as well, so he set out to make a bracelet that kids could customize. He started making prototypes in the evenings after work.
“He would use cardboard in the beginning,” Rue says. “Then he would come home with strips of fabric and a bunch of snaps. It’s gone through so many iterations.”
After years of product design and testing, “Wrap –n– Snaps” was born in October 2017.
LaCasse’s customizable bracelet systems are simple. The silicone bands come in red, blue, pink, and yellow. Removable metal snaps with diverse pictures and symbols are the finishing touch. LaCasse and Rue have several collections of snaps that represent children’s interests, from animals to school to sports to emoticons. Kids can endlessly change the arrangement of the snaps to reflect their moods.
“It allows kids to express their passions to the world,” LaCasse says.
Business is going well for LaCasse and Rue, but they are always plying every avenue they can to increase distribution. Friends in Maine, where LaCasse is from, have helped sell bracelets on the East Coast, and a representative pitched the idea at a national psychology conference as a new, quiet fidget toy for students. They also won the 2018 Family Choice Award.
But the holy grail for toymakers is retail distribution. And LaCasse says they have a product that can adapt to changing trends, which he thinks stores will see as a plus. He’s already working on a unicorn snap, which Saks Fifth Avenue suggested.
“We’re looking at licensing deals with larger companies,” he says. “That will allow us that competitive stickiness and allows customers to reorder our products.”
LaCasse and Rue also want to instill a philosophy of giving back. Their “Snap into Action” program donates a percentage of each sale to the Jackson Hole Children’s Museum.
Helping people, whether by letting kids express themselves or by funding education, is a core value that Rue says they wanted to instill from the outset. And no matter how successful “Wrap –n– Snaps” becomes, LaCasse said they’ll stay true to their product’s original concept.
“Our custom bracelets allow for a gender-neutral educational opportunity for kids to express their individuality,” he says. “They’re simple bracelets and so much more—they’re one-of-a-kind statements of self.”