“ Manufacturer: Pomchies / Type: Luggage Tag „
I am a cheerleader. It's the latest in a long line of unconventional sports with which I fill my evenings, but it's nothing if not a conversation starter. I even managed to work it in to a random chat I was having with one of our directors at a conference this week. But, sometimes that's too much trouble, and when I'm not kitted out in the stylish lycra uniform, complete with Minnie Mouse hair bow and glittery tranny eyes, I need a way to show people I ♥ Cheer without having to resort to bringing it up myself. Enter the Pomchie Pom ID luggage tag.
My luggage has only ever gone missing once, but it's something I always fret about, especially on inbound flights (going out I sometimes think it might be quite nice to get my insurance to cough up for a little emergency shopping spree, and of course my overseas chocolate shop hasn't taken place at that point, either - losing that on the way back would be simply traumatic). This product is classed as a luggage tag but wouldn't do much to help reunite owners with their misplaced bags. That's because it's less about function, more about fashion, and doesn't include anything as useful as, oh, a name and address label, making the ID bit of Pom ID a bit of a misnomer.
The Pom ID is essentially a mini pom pom you clip onto the handle of your suitcase to give it a bit of umpf, and make it stand out on the carousel. Made of "swimwear fabric" (which is plain old nylon lycra mix to you and me) they come in a massive range of colours, either single block or with two or more colours. Part of the whole appeal of Cheer is the matchy-matchy thing, and this plays into that by allowing you to choose your team colours. Ours are navy blue, white and silver, with an electric blue for the spankies and the hideous hair bows, leaving me with quite a bit of choice. I bought my Pom ID in person from a stand at a competition, so was able to paw through the display to find one that would be suitable. In the end they didn't have just the right blue, so I settled for a royal blue and silver combo - it's near enough and since I don't travel in uniform (or, in fact, do anything other than compete in uniform: I'm not like those cheerleaders in American TV high schools who wear their kit 24/7) the fact that it's slightly off hardly matters.
You get two identical Pom IDs in a pack, so you can travel with a couple of bags and have them equally beautifully accessorised. Each one has a short strip of elastic with the pom pieces sewn on, and a popper at either end. You feed the opened Pom ID through the handle of your bag and pop the ends together. Because of the dozens of loose pom strands, this has to be done quite carefully because if there's even a single one covering the popper it won't stay fastened, but if you do it correctly the connection is very secure, and I've never had mine pop open or come loose. They are easy and quick to fit compared to some luggage labels you have to thread carefully, which means you can whip them off one bag and onto another in next to no time. They're also super light, so there are no worries about them contributing to your luggage allowance, nor about them falling off and getting lost somewhere en route.
They're a random product, but I do think they are well made. Mine has shown no signs of wear and tear despite repeated fastenings and unfastenings. The pom strands are cut to be of a uniform length and interspersed with precision so you get the full effect of, in my case, blue-silver-blue-silver all the way through without any clumps of one colour. While the elastic part is not that long or that stretchy, it fits round every single one of the bags I've tried it on, without being too tight or looking like it will ping off at any moment. While they're not big enough to wear as a bracelet, they will easily stretch round a ponytail, the additional use they're marketed for. You can also thread them through shoes (like Crocs) though special Pom-Shoes are also sold for this purpose...
I will accept that these are perhaps targeting a rather niche market, but for what they are do I think they're good. They are clearly fit for purpose and well made, and they do add a certain stylish flair when used to jazz up an otherwise plain suitcase or bag. While a name tag is still needed, it can't be denied that these make your bags stand out on the luggage carousel and are something of a conversation starter, especially when you're a 20-something girl travelling alone though random Latin American countries.
I got mine at an ICC comp, but you can also purchase them online, and delivery is free. Each colour combination is shown in a photo so you can get an idea of what it looks like, something you wouldn't grasp just from the silly names they give some of them, like 'Arizona', 'Pulse' and 'Chevy'. The website looks and sounds a little American, but prices are shown in £ and UK delivery is available.
They cost £5.99 a pair online but I think mine were actually £4.99 in person, though maybe I got a sympathy discount for the way I was dressed at the time. Either way, they're not all that cheap but I don't buy myself all that many silly little things and these are a bit of fun.