Friendship bracelets have come a long way since summer camp.
Today’s trend is “zapping,” or getting jewelry permanently welded around your wrists, ankles and necks. (The term zapping comes from the spark that happens when two ends of the jewelry chain are fused together.) Some are also comparing the trend to tattoos and piercings—a visual, permanent statement, but less painful.
KC-raised Denverite Jordan Louis was so drawn to the idea of permanent jewelry welding—which has been around on the coasts for a few years now—that she found her-self clicks away from booking a flight to New York City to get zapped over a year ago.
“I was like, ‘Okay, that’s a very long, expensive trip for a bracelet,’” she says.
Louis says that she knew she was on the front end of the trend, so she started her own company, Link x Lou.
Link x Lou (@linkxlou.kc) started in Denver as the coronavirus pandemic was on the downturn and people started to feel comfortable gathering at friends’ houses. Louis began hosting what she likes to call private “linking” parties. “The concept of ‘link’ went beyond the bracelet,” she says. “We’re linking people back together.”
Business is heating up: Link x Lou has since expanded to fourteen cities, including right here in Louis’ hometown of KC. Louis says that “typically, our signups fill up within anywhere from five minutes to a half-hour” and that the company can post up at events from bachelorette parties to business meetings to baby showers. Link x Lou has even hosted several Welding and Whiskey Nights.
According to Louis, there are several reasons why one might want to get linked: to contribute to sustainability efforts, to have a meaningful symbol with friends or family, or just to wear jewelry without the hassle of putting it on every day—if you’ve ever tried to clasp a bracelet on your own wrist, you know the struggle.
If someone wants to get Linked by Lou, they can either sign up for a pop-up event (typically at local shops, boutique gyms and salons) or host a private party. From there, they pick what chain they want, and the trained “linker” will custom fit the chains and weld the ends together, which creates the distinguishable spark that will likely end up on an Instagram story.
Right now, the jewelry options for Link x Lou are four different styles of fourteen-karat gold chain, two of which are available in either yellow or white gold, but Louis says she’ll have options rotating seasonally. Bracelets range from $75 to $135, anklets are $175, and necklaces start at $175 and go up by the inch.“
It’s not only getting a piece of jewelry,” Louis says. “It’s getting an experience. People who get linked have the thought, ‘This is getting made for me. I got to be a part of this.’”