More Than Adaptive... | BILLY Footwear



Arriving outside of the office around 9:45 this morning, I snagged rockstar parking directly in front of the office door.

Darin and his longtime friend Glenn have their own company called GreenCo, which specializes in heavy equipment fluid filtration and management. Their office is in one of Issaquah's downtown buildings near the corner of Front Street and Sunset.

Given the rapid growth of BILLY Footwear, their office now doubles as BILLY Headquarters.

King 5, a television news broadcast that serves Western Washington, was interested in filming us for a short segment shown earlier this evening. Their desired location to take the interview was at our Issaquah office, which we were happy to entertain.

Ted, our King 5 representative, arrived at 10:30am and began arranging the office to best suit the shots he was looking for.

I was mic'ed up first. We talked about the formation of our company, my history, how Darin and I know each other, the reality television show we were on, the current shoes we have to offer and the shoes that are coming in the near future. We also talked about our non-profit, BILLY Cares, that will work in concert with BILLY Footwear.

BILLY Cares is a pending 501(c)(3) non-profit aimed at contributing to efforts related to (C)onservation, the (A)rts, medical (R)esearch, higher (E)ducation and (S)ustenance. BILLY Cares will also provide adaptive niche products and will offer a dashboard providing links to other supporting adaptive organizations and companies. A percentage of all profits from BILLY Footwear will power BILLY Cares. In other words, when you purchase our BILLY Footwear products you are generously contributing to the BILLY Cares non-profit effort.

Back to the interview, Darin was mic'ed up next. Being asked similar questions, Darin spoke about how we rode the bus together growing up, talked about our original prototype shoe and how Maral brilliantly expanded the designs using our patent-pending zipper concept. He talked about how our shoes are universal and intended for all audiences, which includes kids, women and men, and how they should not be categorized as "adaptive".

There is a perception wall between the adaptive and non-adaptive worlds that we are trying to tear down. And what I mean by that is folks that do not require adaptive clothing will not wear clothing that is categorized as adaptive. Why would they?

The adaptive/non-adaptive wall is all around us but seldom do we recognize it. Let me give an example.

Let's say you need to go up a long flight of stairs. You have the functional ability to walk but you are simply dreading the climb. Along the side of the staircase is one of those wheelchair-platform-lift things that can slowly transport you up the stairs. Would you use it? No. Why? Because it is classified as "adaptive" equipment.

Now let's change the scenario slightly. Instead of a wheelchair-platform-lift thing let's say there is a nice, fancy elevator at the base of that long stair case. I guarantee that elevator would be used by all demographics. Why? Well, the elevator does not scream adaptive. The elevator serves the exact same purpose as the platform-stair-lift but it does not carry the same perception. The elevator works for everyone and everyone uses it.

With this comparison in mind, let's look at our shoes. Yes, our shoes have adaptive characteristics, but we would hardly call them "adaptive" in the traditional sense of the word. "Adaptive" refers to a niche market. And although we can satisfy the adaptive market we are not constrained by it. Our customer target is everyone! We are all equal. And by design, our shoes embody that belief.

As we were parting ways with Ted I asked him how he was going to cut down our 90-minute time together into a 90-second segment. Ted replied, "Oh, you'll see."

Well, I did see. And so did many others. And although I commend Ted's ability to turn our piece around as quickly as he did to meet the deadline, I want our audience to know there is much, much more to the story.

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