One Drop and YoYoJam

American Made Yo-yos

Engineered for Performance

Two companies on opposite U.S. coasts share a passion for yo-yoing and a knack for precise engineering. They’re turning out high-tech yo-yos for the pros -- and inspiring the rest of us to get reacquainted with a classic toy that’s come a long way from the spooled plastic versions of our childhood.

What’s interesting about both companies is that none of the founders started out as yo-yo enthusiasts. Instead, both companies are led by expert machinists who know all about precision engineering and the nuances of spinning
parts. That attention to detail and performance yields incredibly smooth running yo-yos that elevate modern yo-yoing from child’s play into a genuine art form. (You can see some of the incredible tricks the pros can do in our video.)

One Drop Design is led by David Metz and Shawn Nelson, who design and manufacture yo-yos in their own factory in Eugene, Ore. Dale Bell and Valerie Aaron are the father-daughter duo behind YoYoJam, which makes its yo-yos in Florida and Georgia. A friend challenged Dale to put his engineering expertise to work creating a yoyo that wouldn’t wobble, and the rest is history.

Both One Drop Design and YoYoJam work with professional yo-yoers, but you don’t have to be a pro to take one of their beginner or intermediate yo-yos for a spin. There’s a hint of nostalgia in the designs -- but just a hint. As soon as you start playing with high-tech yo-yos, it’s immediately clear these are not your grandfather’s yo-yos!
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Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Julia

    We are pleased to be featuring two exciting yo-yo companies today. YoyoJam and One Drop Yoyo brought us into their world of modern yo-yoing and their pros, including yo-yo champions of the world, demonstrated tricks so wild, they made our heads spin.

  • Valerie
    10/27/2011 11:55 AM

    Hello Everyone! I am Valerie Aaron and I've been spinning along in the World of Yo as the VP of YoYoJam for the last twelve years. My father and I created this company from the ground up - he is the creative genius behind the design of our products and I'm the practical one who handles the business end of things. We've had our ups and downs downs, but we are very proud of our american owned and manufactured, family-operated business. Our yo-yos have been described as the "pinnacle of yo-yo perfection" and have been used to win multiple world and national champion titles by players all over the world. We have yo-yos for everyone from the beginner, to the world champion competitor. From toddlers to teenagers, soccer-moms to grandpas - everyone seems to love the yo-yo. I'd love to answer any questions about our products, our competitive team, or our company - ask away!

  • David
    10/27/2011 11:55 AM

    Hi Everyone! I’m so glad to have our yo-yos featured as today’s Grommet. We are proud to say that these high quality yoyos are made entirely in the United States and that small American manufacturing is alive and well! I hope you enjoy learning about modern yo-yoing - it has changed so much. I am here and would love to answer any questions you may have for me today!

  • betsy jenkins
    betsy jenkins
    10/27/2011 12:47 PM

    congratulations yoyojam great to see you we great raced together and yo yo jam was there ..and i can testify that dale is not the practicaal part of the equation. keep up the good work no 12 speed 58 1958 porsche speedster

  • Valerie
    10/27/2011 12:53 PM

    Thanks Betsy! Dale really enjoys Great Racing and it's always fun for him to bring a team member along to show off his yo-yos at each stop. He's looking forward to doing it again in 2012!

  • Joanne Walcerz
    Joanne Walcerz
    10/27/2011 7:36 PM

    Hi,Valerie! We would like to know what the differences are between the YoYoJam basic model and YoYoJam Dark Magic model. My son, Stefan, is almost 16, and is very interested in the sport. Thanks! Joanne Walcerz

  • Valerie
    10/28/2011 11:47 AM

    Hi Joanne!

    The Journey is a great solid plastic beginner - intermediate yo-yo. It features a long-spinning ball-bearing, and butterfly shape for long and complicated string tricks. It has an adjustable gap which, when closed all the way, allows for a responsive yo-yo which will come back easily for beginners. But with a simple twist, you can open the gap slightly to make the yo-yo less responsive for longer sleepers. Whether you are just getting into yo-yoing and are looking for a great starter yo which will grow with you, or if you are a seasoned competitor looking for the perfect “pocket” yo the Journey will give you what you’re looking for.

    We feel the Dark Magic is hands down one of the best intermediate to advanced yo-yos on the market. With its wide metal aluminum rings, extra weight, and extra width it is the perfect yo-yo for learning string tricks that require a stable and long sleeping yo-yo. It's patented weight rings provide a superior spin time to the Journey. The Dark Magic II also features the YoYoJam Solid Spin Axle System. It brings the metal rimmed yo-yo together as if it was a completely solid metal body resulting in a very stable yo-yo. Dark Magic II ships with a standard bearing installed which allows the yo-yo to be more responsive for beginner to intermediate play. When you are ready to move on to more complex tricks, simply change to the Speed bearing included in the package to move up to an unresponsive yo-yo capable of the most complex string tricks. The Dark Magic has been used to win three US National champion titles and is featured in many online tutorials. It's a true classic!

  • Betty
    11/21/2011 3:01 PM

    Would the "Journey" be too difficult for a 9 year old boy? How does it compare to the Duncan Bumble Bee on


  • Valerie
    11/21/2011 5:45 PM

    @Betty: The Journey is certainly an excellent choice for a 9 year old boy! It is designed to be our yo-yo for beginners through intermediate play and it also is capable of upper-level tricks. The Journey features a quality ball-bearing and an adjustable gap. The adjustable gap allows the user to make the yo-yo more or less responsive by closing or opening the gap with just a slight twist of the yo-yo halves. The tighter it is closed, the more responsive it will be and the faster and easier it will return to the hand. Slight adjustments to open the yo-yo allow for less response and longer sleep times for more difficult tricks.

    The Journey really can't be compared to the Duncan Bumble Bee since they are two totally different styles of yo-yo. The Duncan model is a traditional imperial shape designed for looping tricks. This is a more advanced style of play. The Journey is a flared shape designed specifically for traditional string trick play. Both have ball bearings, but to the best of my knowledge the Duncan does not offer an adjustable gap.

    Here is a link for an unbiased, unsolicited YouTube review of the yo-yo that was done by a young boy:

  • Betty Varner
    Betty Varner
    12/23/2011 1:10 PM

    I was disappointed with this Grommet. I was told (see above) that this was an excellent yoyo for a beginner. However, it came with NO instructions, and not even a picture to show a young boy how to use it. I would have appreciated at least some pictures or simple instructions. Again, I was very disappointed.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    12/23/2011 1:28 PM

    @Betty Varner: I have sent Valerie a note to see if we can get some instructions out to you. Thanks for letting us know that a better job can be done here.

  • Valerie
    12/23/2011 3:01 PM

    @Betty Varner: Here is a link to a website with phenomenal teaching videos from very beginner to the most advanced tricks: Just click on the drop down menu in the upper left corner marked "Learn" and choose beginner. Many, many competitive players have gotten started with these videos. The demonstrator is using a YoYoJam Dark Magic yo-yo, but the Journey works the same way and is capable of the same tricks.

The launch day conversation has ended. Please direct further questions about this Grommet to our Community Experience Team.

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