Chasing Ghosts | BILLY Footwear

There was a moment recently that was so special for me. Topline, our sourcing partner that manufactures our shoes, came to our warehouse for an afternoon meeting. The purpose of the gathering was to go over the new product we are bringing in this year. While the meeting was underway, I took pause and listened to all that was happening around me.

At the table was a constructive product-development conversation with Topline and members of our team ... In the adjacent room were sounds of a keyboard clacking away with customer service ... In another room was a consultant from OptiProERP helping us on-board our business management system to SAP Business One ... In the distance, I heard the sounds of packing-tape for packages heading out the door ...

Everyone was doing exactly what they needed to do. And it was not just a doing-your-job kind of thing—it was seeing and hearing everyone owning and enjoying what they do in the spirit of adding value to the customer. The moment was so perfect. And the moment started to choke me up. 

I could not help but think of a much different moment that occurred over 23-years ago. It was the moment where I found myself paralyzed after a three-story headfirst fall. With that forever life-changing event, while emotions were still raw, it felt like my life was over. “How could I possibly live the rest of my days in a wheelchair?” was the poisonous question I would ask myself. I fought the what-if and why-me ghosts—basically polluting my brain with memories that focused my attention on what I had lost and would never regain. I was on a path of psychological destruction and mentally in a very dark place. But somewhere along the line my thought process changed. It shifted. I switched to focusing on what I still had, what I could still do, and embracing the fact that I was still alive. I was able to let go. The ghosts of the past became easier to manage. And with determination, I was able to move forward. 

My life would never be what it is today without the incredible people who encouraged and supported me then, and who have continued to do so through the years. It has been a journey for sure—an arduous journey filled with highs and lows, successes and failures. But through the grind emerged the blessings. There have been so many, like how BILLY Footwear serendipitously came to pass. 

I have so much gratitude for the BILLY Team, our amazing partners, and the incredible customers we serve. Thank you all for being a part of this wonderful and meaningful adventure. There are so many wonderful things coming. And it is only going to keep getting better.

* * * 

Now with the start of a new year, it is the perfect time to reflect on all that occurred the year prior. So much excitement. So many breakthroughs. So much accomplished. Below is a quick snapshot of the shiny nuggets. Enjoy!

* * *

Okay, enough of 2019, buckle your seat-belt for 2020! I may not be chasing the ghosts of my past anymore, but our brand will be chasing ghosts in the very near future. Get this: Our red high tops are on the main character in the upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife film, which launches this Summer! I truly wish I had the words to adequately express our deepest thanks for this momentous opportunity. Every time I watch the preview, I still have to pick my jaw up off the floor. It is simply incredible. We sincerely thank the movie’s costume department for seeking us out. It means so, so much.


Back to blog


Wow. I am so inspired by you and your company! With two kids with unusual shoe needs, I’m just plain glad you designed the shoes you did. But now that I’m learning more about the company, and why you made it, I’m sincerely honored to be a customer! I have a daughter who is passionate about entrepreneurship and I can’t wait to share your story with her. I know she’ll be fired up too.

Kristine Schempp

My grandson is nine years old and finding shoes and boots to fit over his AFO’s is impossible. I had to have a crafter make him lined vinyl slippers to fit over his AFOs. Not the best solution but the best I could come up with. Please add Canada to your list of countries for distributors.

Thanks for all you do!
Judy Wilson

Judith Wilson

So heart warming to hear your news. Billy, you write so well and personal…..vividly too~~ Keep it up!!

Nancy L Kelly

I want to thank you for your quality footwear in a market that very few manufacturers want to touch. My son has Spina Bifida, paralyzed from the waist down and is in a wheelchair. As an adult, shoes are very difficult to find for him. His feet are the length of a childs size 3-4 or about 7" but is also very wide. He does not wear AFO’s. He has to wear high tops to protect his heels when he transfers. So unfortunately, we have tried many sizes of your shoes but still can not find a good fit for him. Trying to fit the width of his foot has resulted in a shoe too long for his foot. Not a huge deal since he is not a walker but all the same, too big. His nurse refuses to let him wear shoes that we had to take the cushion out of for fear of making sores. His other problem is that he has a couple of toes that rub against the zipper, no matter the size, and will cause a sore. I hope you will consider these things for planing future shoes. He loves your shoes and is hoping to wear them someday. Thank you and Blessings!

Verna Semones

Hey team. Just wonder when will your extra wife be coming out. My daughter has wife feet pulse the AFOs for club feet. Makes it hard to find shoes, we love billy shoes just can’t seem to find the size. We went up 1 size 2 size bigger it’s definitely long just not quite wide enough. Thank you.

Chele Kapo'o

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.