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Last Update: Thursday September 23, 2021

Key Idea: Make Business Easy for Customers

At Flap Happy, customers get what they ask for. L.L. Bean is selling a cap with matching mittens as a set so Laurie provides the simple packaging to make it easier for them to ship the items together. More...

Key Question:


Accommodate special requests, be easy to reach, and take on some of the customer's work. All strong companies do this. When they do it right they are rewarded with loyalty.

ModernPostcard figured out that the cost of shipping cards to customers put an extra burden on them so they started a mailing service.  This means the customer never has to touch the card and the freight to ship all the cards is eliminated.

The founder of ModernPostcard, Steve Hoffman has been thinking, "how do I lift a burden off the customer's shoulders?" since 1976. He was thinking about market share from his one-bedroom apartment. He was thinking about speed and quality and ease of use. He said he has always been more motivated to serve that to make money and that he learned about the power of a servant leadership style from his father.

To make doing business with Modern Postcard easy for the customer, first Steve pursued the digital workflow concept. This gave every customer a 23 x 7 relationship. And remember that he came into business young and energetic and offered his customer an incredibly low price but delivered quality and speed too. Now he has taken on the burden of list management and mailing services because he knew it would save shipping costs and time for the customers.

What is the difference between being profit driven and being customer driven?

It is a mind-set or an attitude. You can probably get to the same results from either starting point but being customer driven creates a kinder, gentler workplace. It paves the way for building lasting and warm relationship with both customers and employees. It attracts a type of person who wants to work in a kinder, gentler place.

Think about the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by David Mamet, "Glengarry Glen Ross," that in 1992 was turned into the film starring Jack Lemon and Al Pacino. It is the story of a real estate company that is profit driven. As a result, one critic writes, "there is so little civility in the office and so few social skills it is probably due to the dog-eat-dog environment. Each salesman is pitted against the others for survival. The salesmen are willing to lie, cheat, steal, whatever it takes to make the sale. They are like animals in a jungle. It is not a shining example of humanity, salesmen or capitalism."

The corny-but-beautiful thing about great small companies like Flap Happy is that they are all about serving others. This starts with serving customers and spills over into serving employees.

Think about it

What can you do to stop thinking so much about money and start thinking more about serving? What actions can you take to be a servant to both customers and employees? What would your employees say if we asked them if your organization is profit driven or service driven?

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

Make Business Easy for Customers

HATTIE: So--so these are packaged together, the hats and the gloves.

LAURIE: Uh-huh. And we don't do this for other customers. This is something special we do for L.L. Bean. And this whole style of hat is special for L.L. Bean and it has their label on it. And they will get these hats in in little bags so all they have to do is take that bag and put it into another box to ship to their customer. We've done all the processing for them whereas years ago everything would go loose and they would do it. So now they--all the companies have the manufacturer doing it.

HATTIE: But this is typical now.

LAURIE: Yes. Right. It's a given.

HATTIE: I mean, this is almost like Just-In-Time. They're not going to stock massive amounts of inventory. They focus their energy on selling the product. They've got this massive catalog and they're a big part of your success.

LAURIE: Oh, very much so. They are now our biggest customer. And what makes it great is they're so wonderful to work with.

HATTIE: (gesturing to a Flap Happy hat for a child) Do you think it would fit me?

LAURIE: You can try it. I don't know. It's ...

HATTIE: They're a little small...

LAURIE: We can find one that's not barbed together.

HATTIE: (trying on a hat) It's a fit!

LAURIE: Hey. All right.

HATTIE: (observing) Baby sizes in Velcro. This is great because you don't have to fool with snaps or buttons. Now everybody knows that I wear a size 12 to 24 months.

LAURIE: Twelve.

HATTIE: So our heads must grow faster than the rest ...

LAURIE: Kids heads actually stop growing at around three or four years of age. You wouldn't know it but the hat that that child wears is the same hat that you and I wear.

We have about 4,000 different accounts that we deal with not only across the United States but around the world. We sell to mail order catalogs, retail stores, directly to consumers and we sell to surf stores and ski stores and gift stores and resorts and YMCAs, who buy our little swim diapers.

So here is the swim diaper and if the child goes -- won't do anything for the pee pee; but for the poo poo, it will prevent it from going through the diaper. I would suggest if you wanted to try just six of them or something, go with this. It's very simple and basic.

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