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How the Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce connection started with a friendship bracelet

By Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN Business

(CNN) — Taylor Swift fans have famously worn and traded personalized friendship bracelets, typically featuring the names of her songs and albums, throughout the US-leg of her “Eras” tour. So when Swift played Arrowhead Stadium in July, Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce said he made a play for Swift by attempting to give her a friendship bracelet with his phone number.

“I was disappointed that she doesn’t talk before or after her shows because she has to save her voice for the 44 songs that she sings,” he told his brother in July on their podcast “New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce.”

Fast forward to Sunday’s game between the Chiefs and the Chicago Bears, when Swift was seen cheering Kelce in his family suite, dressed in a red and white team jacket, next to Kelce’s mom, Donna.

Swift’s show of support comes after weeks of speculation — by various NFL broadcasters and the vast majority of Swifties — that she and Kelce are dating. Although the two have not publicly confirmed any romantic link, Kelce said in an interview with ESPN last week that he finds the focus on Swift and him “hilarious.”

The tradition of trading friendship bracelets at her concerts is inspired by the lyrics on her song “You’re on Your Own, Kid” from her most recent album “Midnights.” Swift sings about making friendship bracelets as a way to connect with others on a shared experience: “Cause there were pages turned with the bridges burned / Everything you lose is a step you take / So make the friendship bracelets, take the moment and taste it / You’ve got no reason to be afraid.”

Throughout the tour, fans and celebrities including Jennifer Garner, Gigi Hadid, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban have posed for pictures with dozens of bracelets on their arms. As a result, some Etsy shop owners who focus on making friendship bracelets have brought in thousands of dollars.

Jamie Tompkins, for example, works full-time as an events manager in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, but said she stayed up well past midnight to work making friendship bracelets for Taylor Swift concert goers. The 46-year-old mother said she sold over 5,000 Taylor Swift-themed friendship bracelets on her Etsy shop during the summer, bringing in about $16,000 in sales. “There were weeks that making bracelets paid more than my full time job,” Tompkins told CNN.

Tompkins, who plans to make more for Swift’s international concert dates, said she got the idea to sell them on her store, Pigtails and Pixidust, after she was left with dozens of bracelets she didn’t get to give away at the Taylor Swift concert in Arlington, Texas, earlier this year. Her daughter suggested listing them on her Etsy shop, which typically sells hairbows and headbands for babies and toddlers.

“The Eras tour has made my business,” said Tompkins, who sells a 5-pack for $15. “I had very minimal sales before Taylor Swift friendship bracelets were a trend.”

Now she’s saving her earnings to quit her job and focus on running her Etsy shop full time. “I will continue to make them as long as people want them.”

For Aimee Papson, however, selling Taylor Swift friendship bracelets is part necessity. Papson is using the funds from her new Etsy shop, SunshineyBracelets, to help pay off a $5,500 loan taken out to pay for four tickets to Swift’s Nashville show. Similar to the other Etsy shop owners, she put her leftover friendship bracelets online and earned about $1,800 so far. Papson also plans to make more for her international performances.

“We still have some ways to go to make our money back,” said Papson, who added that going to Nashville was a dream for her and her children. “I put a headlamp on at night, listen to Taylor Swift music and can make bracelets for almost eight hours straight. I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.”

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CNN’s Alli Rosenbloom contributed to this report

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Business/Consumer

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