Commitments Over Coffee | BILLY Footwear



This afternoon, Darin and I met with Patrick at the Eastgate Tully's coffee shop next to the Toyota dealership and the old Sun Villa Lanes bowling alley, about 15 minutes east of Seattle. Wow, so many memories of that bowling alley from growing up. Now the building is used for I think corporate Toyota stuff.

Patrick Foster, a Seattle native, has been in the shoe business for a long time. He has sales connections with Nordstrom and other companies such as Amazon and Zappos. Darin and Patrick have a side business project called "All For Heart" and through that connection I was introduced.

I first met Patrick a couple of weeks ago when Maral, our brilliant shoe designer, was in town delivering all of our samples. Patrick came by the condo to see what we had to offer and gave some wonderful and encouraging feedback.

The following week Darin met with Patrick regarding "All For Heart" stuff but within that meeting they discussed our shoes. Darin said something along the lines of, "I mentioned the shoes to you a while back but I know it can be difficult to visualize without actually seeing the product in person. Now that you have had a chance to see the shoes what do you think?" And then Patrick responded...

Darin called me up immediately following the meeting.

"Hello, sir!" I say to Darin.

"I talked with Patrick. He is very interested in representing our brand."

I was silent...

"Hello?" asks Darin.

"I'm here. But this sounds like a 'But' statement..."

"Oh, no. There is no 'but'... well, I guess there is... the 'but' is he wants to be part of the company!"

"What?! Wow. That is huge."

The meeting for Darin went better than he had hoped. He was pitching Patrick after he saw what we had to offer when Maral was here. And in that conversation, Patrick unsolicitedly made a pitch to Darin asking if there was room for equity, which Darin said was certainly up for discussion.

Talk about a home run. I mentioned above that Patrick has connections with Nordstrom, which is the big door we are trying to get through. Nordstrom is really where the significant progress of our company began. We started our company with our Adaptive Ski Glove and we received abundant support from Outdoor Research, whose CEO is Dan Nordstrom. From the ski glove we had a successful Kickstarter campaign, which then got us connected with a casting firm for the Oxygen reality television show, which created the catalyst to aggressively move forward with our shoe project, which put us in contact with Maral, who created a ton of amazing shoes, which now has the attention of Patrick, who can possibly get us into Nordstrom so we can return the fiscal favor. What an amazing full circle!

Back at Tully's, Darin and I spoke with Patrick about partnership and company deployment strategies. Following our meeting, I sent Patrick a quick note.

Patrick,
I sincerely appreciate your time today and very much enjoyed our conversation. I look forward to working with you more closely in the future.
As I said, it has been a great joy assembling the team. I'm reminded of what just a little bit of water can do to an immense boulder under the right conditions - if the water works itself inside and then freezes it splits the stone of any size in two. Well here we are... a small little company working our way in to the market and creating the right conditions by assembling an unstoppable team. Get ready shoe people, we are coming and we're going to bust your fashion world wide open!
It's gonna be a fun ride.
Billy

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