Happy Tails was co-founded in the mountains of Northern California by Lezlie and Stan, and came of age in the San Francisco scene in 1997. Built upon a commitment to using innovative design and revolutionary construction methods, Happy Tails became the leading, high quality, professional maker of floggers and whips world-wide by early 1998. Perfect clicker-cut tails from every kind of hide, the first to use kangaroo lace for handles, introducing a variety of classic and new handle patterns, with a unique style that suits every taste and preference. Immersed in a variety of fine arts and handcrafts since childhood, Lezlie draws on those multi-ethnic and mixed-media artistic traditions from around the world - skills honed by participation in national and international artisan groups and associations, competitions for excellence - and 29 years of pioneer, small-farm life-skills, made Happy Tails possible. All of this goes through her hands into every single item she's made and designed.
It all began when Lezlie decided she was going to learn how to plait (braid):
It takes a certain kind of temperament, incredible patience, and hundreds of hours of practice to be able to plait fancy handles and do the complex pineapple knots... Just one knot takes about 6 continuous feet of leather lace to weave, a three-pass pineapple knot up to 15 feet! Many plaiters develop extremely strong hand, finger, and forearm muscles from the long hours of daily gripping and pulling. Few can do it in their spare time, and even fewer can do it for a living.
I've been asked many times "How long does it take you to do a knot?" The real answer lies in the innumerable hours I've put in, cussed, and physically/mentally *hurt* to get to the point of my perfection, not just how fast am I now. It took blood, sweat and tears, literally. When I was learning and memorizing the mathematical algorithms, sometimes I'd lock myself in the bedroom and cry for an hour when I couldn't get part of it right. But afterwards, I'd gather myself up and get back at it again. You have to have that patience, the drive, and the willingness go through all of that to become the best. The learning curve has been vertical for as long as I can remember, and even now, it's still vertical when there's something new on the horizon I have to master.
Since then, she's worked her magic on 30,000 floggers, taking great pride in excellent craftsmanship and workmanship. And the rest is history.