My Library and Courses
Last Update: Thursday September 23, 2021

Key Idea: Surpass Customer Expectations

Flap Happy products are sold by some tiny retail shops and in some of the world's biggest catalogs.  Laurie is proud that her little business makes the big guys very happy. More...

Key Question:


Laurie keeps making the famous hat but now she goes to Paris to find unusual fabrics so that her hat looks new every season.  In addition,  she has added more hat styles, play clothes and swim wear to her line.

In addition to making what customers want to buy, there are two other aspects to customer service that strong small businesses master.

One is flexibility.  We call this the "Gumby Customer Service Philosophy " which is:  we bend over backward for our customers.  So what if you have rules. When you break the rules to help a customer, they appreciate you and remember you for this extraordinary act.  We know small business owners who make off-hour deliveries, who open up their shops or offices to accommodate a customer who has a deadline and who ignore the costs of service when there is an emergency.

Second is speed.   The most exciting aspect of being small is that you can turn on a dime for customers which to big companies is pleasantly shocking.  Just this minute our company received a compliment from one of the largest publishers in the world.  The woman said, "Thank you for taking care of these details so quickly."

Think about it

When was the last time you received an email or letter from a customer  thanking you for your extraordinary service?  How do you measure customer satisfaction?  What percentage of your business comes from repeat customers?

Clip from: Flap Happy started by manufacturing hats!

Hattie encourages us all,  "Set Profit-Margin Goals."

Santa Monica: In this episode of the television show we take you inside a California business that is making children's hats for Talbots, Nordstrom, Children's Wear Digest and dozens of others. Now they make hundreds of items for retailers (mostly small children's specialty retailers) all around the world.

Laurie Snyder started Flap Happy because she was afraid her very fair-skinned, freckled-faced baby boy would get seriously burned by the California sun. Laurie created a hat by enlarging the brim of a traditional baseball cap and by adding flaps. Other mothers saw the hat and wanted one for their own child.  That was the beginning of this special business.

Meet Laurie Snyder. Meet her Mom, her Dad, her husband, her sister, her "model" child and her other children, too. This is the team that sacrificed to build the business.

Go to all the Key Ideas and video of this episode...

Flap Happy, Inc.

Laurie Snyder, Founder / CEO

2330 Michigan Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Visit our web site:

Office: 310-453-3527

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1987

Surpass Customer Expectations

The first big customer we got was a mail-order catalog called After the Stork. Back then it was owned by a Mom-and-Pop who needed products for their kids that they couldn't find and they started this catalog. Soon after we started working with After the Stork, Patagonia approached us, -- I was very flattered. Then they decided they wanted to do a different type of hat. They wanted to be on the cutting edge and they'd been doing this hat for a while.

And, of course, I felt sad and empty. You know, "What's going to happen to the sales now?" And within a week, we were contacted by L.L. Bean. They treat me like they treat Levi Strauss, and they listen. If we're having a problem and we communicate that problem to them, they work with us so we can work it out and vice versa. We are totally open. If they have increases or decreases they need, we work with them on that.

HATTIE: Well, today you're on a rush, right?

LAURIE: We are rushing to get an order out they asked us to get it out as soon as we possibly could, so we brought in five or six temps who just come in for the day or two and they're putting the hats and the mittens together, putting them into plastic bags, putting stickers on them.

We have to meet their quality standards. And they take our product and they wash it 100 times and they put it through all the different weather conditions that it's going to go through in order to...

HATTIE: Before they'll buy it from you.

LAURIE: Yeah. In order to make sure it's gonna last. And so I'm very proud of our quality based on the fact that we get through their harsh testing.

Not a member yet? Learn!  Be empowered! Join us!