Grace Rojas was living in Venezuela when she planned the Hora Loca for her daughter’s wedding. She wanted to do something that would surprise and thrill the bride and groom and their guests. Not an easy thing to do since the Hora Loca is, by definition, crazy. Had every crazy thing already been done?
The “crazy hour” is part of a Latin-American wedding. It began when a Venezuelan couple was inspired by New Year’s Eve celebrations in Spain and wanted to bring that kind of unbridled joy to their wedding reception. The custom spread throughout South and Central America and continued into the US. It begins when the guests start to fade away, tired from eating or drinking too much, looking for a polite way to sidle out of the hall. And then . . . a siren wails, the music amps up, strobe lights flash, performers stream in. Guests are pulled out onto the dance floor and given Venetian Masquerade Ball masks, noise makers, glow sticks, pool noodles, feather boas and crazy hats. No one is tired any longer. In fact, the Hora Loca signals the start of the real party!
Grace had always been extremely creative, and she began dreaming up some really wild hats for everyone who would be at the wedding. The designs are unique and extravagant, the colors vibrant. The hats are made of high-quality, lightweight foam and “one size fits most,” so very comfortable to wear. In fact, they are so flexible that two people can fit into one hat. Perfect for the photo booth! The hats took the Hora Loca to a whole other “loca” level. Plus they were the best ever party favors for guests to take home.
Before the end of the wedding, Grace was taking down names of people who wanted her to make hats for them and soon had a nice little side business going.
But then, in 2010, Grace and her son Manuel left Venezuela, part of the massive emigration fleeing the worst economic crisis in the country’s history, the rapid and excessive inflation, the widespread starvation and disease, and the rampant crime. They settled in Houston. Grace was able to send Manuel to the University of Houston to study chemical engineering. She had been an educator with a BA in education from Andrés Bello Catholic University in Venezuela and an MA from the University of the Pacific in California. But she loved making those hats and had been doing well. So she reestablished her business in Houston and it grew with only word-of-mouth marketing. Grace is not only an artiste, she is a bit of a techie—she made her own website. Her hats became known nationally and internationally.
By the time Manuel graduated, business was great! The hats had been sold in all 50 states and to Google and the New Orleans Mardi Gras. Manuel saw the potential and joined his mother in the business. They founded Foam Party Hats LLC.
Foam Party Hats for All Seasons
The Hora Loca is no longer relegated to weddings nor to the Latino culture. Grace and Manuel have supplied hats for bar mitzvahs, the Chinese New Year, St. Patrick’s Day festivities and Oktoberfests. The hats boost the fun factor at bridal and baby showers and bachelor and bachelorette parties. They are often best when least expected—how about a black-tie affair or the dreaded corporate retreat. You can also have a “party of one” and wear the mascot and colors of your favorite team to the stadium. The hats are not limited to humans. Deck out Rover and Tigger.
Nearly all the hats in the Foam Party Hats inventory originally were custom made for customers. Whatever you can think of, no matter how “loca,” Grace and her talented employees can do.
Examples of Foam Party Hats
- Basic: Flowers, Food, Vehicles
- Special Occasion: Birthday, Anniversary, Graduation
- Theme: Pirates, Medieval, Space
- Holidays: Christmas, Halloween, Mother’s Day
- Opulent: Mardi Gras King, Tuxedo, Princess of the Sea
- Sports: Basketball Hoop, Golf Clubs, Soccer Balloons
- Wigs: Pony Tail, Elvis, Rollers
A great idea for one wedding in a small town in Venezuela turned into a successful business adding fun to gatherings all over the world.