Open Book is a digital series from BILLY Footwear aimed to grow stronger connections directly with our customers. Learn about the brand, hear from our awesome customers, ask questions and discover what is coming in the future.
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Episode #70 (11/10/21) — Customers often ask how BILLY Footwear got started as a brand. In Episode 40, we talked about our initial beginnings with ski gloves. In Episode 50, we talked about how we landed on a reality television show. In Episode 60, we talked about our shoe Kickstarter campaign and manufacturing disaster. In this episode, we talk about damage control and the big door opening opportunities that followed.
Episode #69 (11/3/21) – “Our mission is to educate, increase awareness and promote research for the support and enrichment of individuals living with Koolen-de Vries Syndrome and their families.” In this episode, hear Ashley Point, President of the KDVS Foundation, share her family story and the story of the KDVS Foundation, a tax-exempt nonprofit organization.
Episode #68 (10/27/21) – “Our mission is to help families affected by SLC13A5 Deficiency. SLC13A5 Deficiency (aka Citrate Transporter Disorder) is a newly discovered genetic cause of epilepsy, and as such, TESS Research Foundation is building a patient-centered network from the ground up. We are determined to diagnose, treat, and ultimately cure SLC13A5 Deficiency. We do this by funding cutting-edge research and connecting families, doctors, and researchers.” In this episode, hear President and co-founder Kimberly Nye share her family story and the story of the TESS Research Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt public charity.
Episode #66 (10/13/21): 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5-Star Reviews… Our average review rating is a 4.9 based on thousands of reviews. Back by popular demand, in this episode, Billy, co-founder of BILLY Footwear, shares an example of each review score.
Episode #65 (10/6/21): “Athletes are the heart of Special Olympics. Our athletes are children and adults with intellectual disabilities from all around the world—5.6 million and counting! They are finding success, joy and friendship as part of our global community. They're also having lots of fun!” In this episode, we hear from Novie Craven, Special Olympics athlete from District of Columbia, share her experience from the Olympic Games and what it means to be part of Special Olympics.
Episode #64 (9/29/21): “With integrity, ParaSport Spokane will provide training, recreational, and competitive opportunities for youth and adults with physical disabilities that promote success, self-worth and independence. ParaSport Spokane uses adaptive sports as a catalyst for life.” In this episode, we hear David Greig share the story of ParaSport and its successes, which includes recent competitions at the Tokyo Paralympic Games.
Episode #63 (9/22/21): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… Our average review rating is a 4.9 based on thousands of reviews. In this episode, Billy, co-founder of BILLY Footwear, shares an example of each review score.
Episode #62 (9/15/21): “Collaboration. Transparency. Urgency.” These words are the mantra of SynGAP Research Fund, a non-profit with a mission to improve the quality of life of SYNGAP1 patients through the research and development of treatments, therapies, and support systems. In this episode, hear founder Mike Graglia share the story of his son, one of the many warriors fighting SynGAP, which lead to Mike and his wife Ashley founding the 501(c)(3) public charity.
Episode #61 (9/8/21): “In 2015, Matthew Wild, a 41-year-old former U.S. Marine, began experiencing strange feelings in his hands and arms. It started with sporadic loss of strength and grew to include tremors, shaking, and twitching in his arms, hands, shoulders, back, and chest. He was not experiencing pain but showed signs of muscle deterioration. Soon thereafter, he was diagnosed with ALS.” In this episode, we hear Mr. Wild share his story—a story of digging in, adding value, and always expressing an uncrushable spirit.
Episode #60 (9/1/21): Customers often ask how BILLY Footwear got started as a brand. Well, in Episode 40, we talked about our initial beginnings with ski gloves. In Episode 50, we talked about how we landed on a reality television show. In this episode, we will cover crowdfunding. In this episode, hear from Billy Price, cofounder of BILLY Footwear, talk about how he and Darin ran a successful KickStarter campaign to help fund their first manufacturing run of shoes. Spoiler alert, there were some big ups and there were some big downs.
Episode #59 (8/25/21): “Our mission is to facilitate connections for individuals with Down Syndrome and their families, to build awareness, and provide resources for our medical community so they can better serve our families.” In this episode, we hear from Andrea Graham, loving mom, loving wife, and passionate soul that is always on the move, share the story of her daughter Arianna and how Sharing Down Syndrome in Pierce County came to be.
Episode #58 (8/18/21): A lot goes into making a shoe and bringing that shoe to market. From design, to manufacturing, to transportation, to hitting store shelves—having a simple shoe produced is not necessarily a simple process. As a brand, it has been incredible working the product process, and seeing the number of our product categories continuing to grow. We started with a single high-top silhouette and a single low-top silhouette. That silhouette number has now grown to over 40, with many different color and material combinations as well. In this episode, we hear from Darin Donaldson, co-founder of BILLY Footwear, and head of Product Development. Darin will touch on the technical ins and outs of making a shoe, plus share what new products have arrived, and what new products are on the horizon.
Episode #57 (8/11/21): “We envision a brighter future for those living with Spina Bifida, and an end to the stigma associated with the disabling condition. Liam is redefining Spina Bifida.” In this episode, we hear from Ashlyn Dugan, mother of Liam, share their story and how the Love From Liam Foundation came to be.
Episode #56 (8/4/21): “Many sayings and words of wisdom have helped me thru the years. The poem IF— by Rudyard Kipling is one wonderful example.” In this episode of Open Book, hear our cofounder Billy Price recite his favorite poem.
Episode #55 (7/28/21): “We at BILLY Footwear want to build lifetime relationships with our retail partners and their customers.” In this episode, we hear from Keith Keranen, Sr. Account Manager at BILLY Footwear, speak on what drew him to the brand and the awesome experiences he has had with retail partners since being a part of the BILLY team.
Episode #54 (7/21/21): "Kelly is a pacific northwest native with a background in occupational therapy. She has focused her career on orthopedics and pediatrics. She loves the process of solving problems, creating, and finding efficient solutions." In this episode, we hear how Kelly Clark started Resource Universal, a passion project with a hope to bring better access to resources and education directly to the consumer.
Episode #53 (7/14/21): In this episode, Billy Price, co-founder of BILLY Footwear, answers 20 questions that range from business life to personal life to the most frequently asked questions from customers. Here is the list:
1. Where can I purchase BILLY shoes?
2. What sizes do you carry?
3. How do I determine my size?
4. Do your shoes come in wide?
5. Can I buy single shoes?
6. How do I return my shoes?
7. Do you ship to my country?
8. Where are you located?
9. Do you have a warehouse in Canada?
10. Do you have athletic shoes?
11. Do you have rain boots?
12. Do you have winter boots?
13. Do you sell gift cards?
14. Do you have a rewards program?
15. How do I stay in the know of BILLY news?
16. How do I become a reseller of BILLY shoes?
17. Do you have an affiliate program?
18. Do you collaborate with others?
19. Do you do speaking engagements?
20. How old are you?
Episode #52 (7/7/21): “Established in 2016, we strive on educating the public and enriching the lives of those living with rare and complex medical conditions.” In this episode, we hear Kristin Quinones; loving wife, loving mom, and President of Riddick’s Ride Foundation; share her story and the story of how Riddick’s Ride is helping the lives of so many.
Episode #51 (6/30/21): “Helping Hands for GAND strives to support individuals and families affected by GATAD2B-associated neurodevelopmental disorder (GAND), to increase awareness, and to work toward research and treatment opportunities to enrich the lives of those with this rare genetic condition.” In this episode, we hear from Tammy Ruh; loving wife, loving mom, and Vice President of Helping Hands For GAND; share her story, and the story of Helping Hands For GAND that is adding value to the lives of so many.
Episode #50 (6/23/21): — We frequently get asked the question, “How did BILLY Footwear get started?” In Episode 40, we talked about our initial beginnings with ski gloves. Well, in Episode 50, we will continue the story with the next chapter: Reality TV. Hear from Billy Price, cofounder of BILLY Footwear, talk about how he and Darin found themselves on the show Quit Your Day Job on the Oxygen Channel, which turned out to be the catalyst to boldly move forward.
Episode #49 (6/16/21): “Special Olympics is a global movement of people creating a new world of inclusion and community. We aim to build a culture that accepts and welcomes every single person regardless of ability or disability. We are helping to make the world a better, healthier and more joyful place—one athlete, one volunteer, one family member at a time.” In this episode, we hear from Andrew Hulbert, member of the Student Board of Directors of Special Olympics Minnesota, speak on inclusion and share his story.
Episode #48 (6/9/21): “We are living in the age of scientific discovery. With a strong network of companies and organizations around the world that are partnering together, rare diseases are being diagnosed and therapies are being developed to improve and save lives. Project 8p is an active member of this community and aims to help everyone that is impacted by chromosome 8p to achieve their goals on their own unique journey.” In this episode, we hear from Kaiti Syverson, one of the many leaders at Project 8P, share her story and the story of Project 8P.
Episode #47 (6/2/21): “Since 1948, Howard Curry Shoes has served the Lexington, KY community as the go-to shop for family footwear, specializing in fitting all sizes and widths.” In this episode, we hear the story of Howard Curry Shoes, one of our most recent retail partners.
Episode #46 (5/26/21): “FAST is run by an all-volunteer board of Angelman syndrome (AS) parents and professionals dedicated to finding a cure for AS and related disorders through the funding of an aggressive research agenda. We are 100% committed to accelerating treatments and a cure for Angelman syndrome.” In this episode, we hear from Amelia Beatty, Director at FAST. She and her husband have three sons. Their youngest son has Angelman Syndrome. Amelia and her family live in Amman, Jordan.
Episode #45 (5/19/21): “At LayerFive, our goal is to help brands get compliant with the regulations, offer a great consumer experience whilst doing it, and run more effective marketing campaigns by understanding their consumers buying patterns across all their interactions online and offline.” In this episode, we hear from Sushil Goel, Founder and CEO of LayerFive, a business that has added a tremendous amount of value to BILLY Footwear.
Episode #44 (5/12/21): “Through all the ups and downs that families go through with having a child with special needs, me being one of them, I felt it was so important to find our silver lining. It was from this humble, grassroots beginning that Stepping Stones for Stella was created.” In this episode, we hear from Nikki Puzzo, Founder and Executive Director of Stepping Stones for Stella, share her family story.
Episode #43 (5/5/21): “Dream Street was founded in 1975 with the mission that all children, regardless of their abilities, must be offered the chance to have fun, to make new friends, to achieve, to be accepted for who and what they are, and to learn from the challenges of group life.” In this episode, we hear from Aimee Adler, Program Director, who has spent the past 8 summers volunteering at Camp Dream Street in all kinds of roles.
Episode #42 (4/28/21): “The mission of the Spina Bifida Association of New England is to build a better and brighter future for all those impacted by Spina Bifida.” In this episode, we hear from Jean Bertschmann, Executive Director of the Spina Bifida Association of Greater New England, share all the latest and greatest news.
Episode #41 (4/21/21): "With almost 40 years of joint experience working in the special needs community, Katie and Meghan knew there could be a place where everyone would feel accepted, people would be acknowledged for the amazing humans that they were, caregivers would get support they so desperately need, and the youth in the community would have a life-changing volunteer experience.” In this episode, we hear from Meghan Clem, Co-Founder of RAD Camp—the space that was created to accomplish this vision. It is powered by a passionate, strong volunteer community that truly believes the world needs a little more RAD!
Episode #40 (4/14/21): We often get the question, “How did BILLY Footwear get started?” Well, there is the short answer that one can explain in a quick elevator ride. Then there is the longer version that highlights the seldom told detour we took into ski gloves. In this episode, we hear from Billy Price, cofounder of BILLY Footwear, talk about how the ski gloves that got him back on the slopes were not just the precursor to shoes, but the mechanism that got the initial business going.
Episode #39 (4/7/21): “Every child deserves happiness, the opportunity to grow and thrive and be treated as an equal amongst their peers.” In this episode, we hear from Marlana Miceli, founder of the Loving Luca Foundation. Marlana is also Luca's mom 😊 “I believe in fairness and equality amongst all children, no matter how different their abilities are. My mission in life is to leave a positive mark on the world and to make a difference in the special needs community.”
Episode #38 (3/31/21): “The effects of Acute Flaccid Myelitis are both physically and emotionally challenging. Our Association is a resource for those that are personally affected by AFM.” In this episode, we hear from LaMay Axton, Communications Liaison, and Katie Bustamante, Co-Founder, of the AFM Association. Be prepared to be moved by these incredible women of strength.
Episode #37 (3/24/21): "The ADNP Kids Research Foundation is the world’s first non-profit organization to fund research, publish papers and promote awareness for ADNP Syndrome. Established in 2016, we are a small grassroots charity solely ran by volunteers, fueled by families and the love for our children with this debilitating rare disorder.” In this episode, we hear Sandra Sermone, Founder & President of the ADNP Kids Research Foundation, describe how her son’s rare genetic disorder (the first US diagnosis of its kind) lead to her ongoing arduous journey to find a cure.
Episode #36 (3/17/21): “At Rettsyndrome.org, our mission is to accelerate full spectrum research to cure Rett syndrome and empower families with information, knowledge, and connectivity.” In this episode, we hear Tim Frank, Director of Marketing & Communications, and Samantha Brant, Family & Community Engagement Manager, share their family stories of Rett syndrome and describe all that Rettsyndrome.org has to offer.
Episode #35 (3/10/21): “Helping Kids Soar!” These are the words from Renfrew Educational Services, a not-for-profit society and registered charity that has been welcoming children and parents since 1974. In this episode, we hear from Janice McTighe, Renfrew’s Executive Director, and Emily Newton, one of Renfrew’s many Physiotherapists.
Episode #34 (3/3/21): “We are a small family run business and are committed to finding quality brands that help make people’s lives a little bit easier.” In this episode, we hear from Emma Lovett, loving mom, and owner of AdaptiveFootwear.com, an online and brick and mortar store based in Auckland, New Zealand.
Episode #33 (2/24/21): In this episode, we hear from Ryan DeClue, loving father, and car enthusiast. Learn how his family journey lead to the founding of the Misfit Toys Car Club, a registered #Charity and 100% #NonProfit organization, hosting #Autism Awareness Automotive Events throughout the year in Missouri. @misfittoysautism
Episode #32 (2/17/21): “Teaching children and adults with special needs [to swim] provides innumerable benefits, from muscle strength to motor skills, from socialization to relaxation, from basic safety to self-confidence. Our participants are able to develop physical fitness, build confidence, establish friendships, and experience the pride and joy of being part of a team. The results have been tremendous, and the stories speak for themselves.” In this episode, we hear from Brenda Vroon, Executive Director of the Nashville Dolphins.
Episode #31 (2/10/21): When there is a health concern, we go to the doctor for examination. But what happens when the results from extensive tests do not explain the symptoms? This was the case for Hazel, Toni Careccia’s delightful 4-year old daughter. In this episode, we hear Toni tell her story and describe her ongoing journey to find answers and help support others along the way.
Episode #30 (2/3/21): Pregnancy comes with risk. And when there is news of terminal complications, emotions become unimaginably overwhelming. In this episode, we hear Amy and Paul tell their story of how their twin daughters, Beatrix and Scarlett, entered the world.
“Three times during the pregnancy we were told we would have to terminate Scarlett. And three times we refused,” remembers Paul. “As a dad, I held on to hope.”
Episode #29 (1/27/21): Mom. Wife. Deep rooted desire to help. In this episode, we hear from Joana Santillan (@physicaltherapy_terapiafisica), Physical Therapy assistant based in Texas, share her story.
Episode #28 (1/20/21): Mom. Wife. Advocate. In this episode, we hear Whitney Stohr, board member of the Spina Bifida Advocates of Washington State (SBAWS), share her story.
Episode #27 (1/13/21): Mom. Wife. Author. Born out of her journals, blog, and her participation in a cerebral palsy support group, Felicia Flewelling wrote the book This Girl’s Got Grit. Her desire is that through this book, children will better understand how to accept and celebrate children like her daughter Frankie. In this episode, we hear from Felicia.
Episode #26 (1/6/21): “To use the stories of our lives to educate the community and start the much needed conversation about how to be inclusive.” These are the powerful words of The Common Ground Society, a nonprofit organization aimed to redirect the gaze of society to see the strength in diversity. In this episode, we hear from Larkin and Jessica, “Just Two Moms” that started the amazing movement.
Episode #25 (12/30/20): 20 Questions to close out 2020! In this episode, Billy Price, co-founder of BILLY Footwear, answers 20 questions that range from business life to personal life to the most frequently asked questions we receive from customers.
1. How long has BILLY Footwear been in business?
2. Where did the idea come from?
3. What sizes do you offer?
4. Do you have a wide shoes?
5. Do you have rain or winter boots?
6. Where can I purchase BILLY shoes?
7. Do you ship international?
8. Why am I getting an added tax from international shipping?
9. Why is my shipping taking so long?
10. Will you be refilling your out-of-stock shoes?
11. Will the WDR High Tops come in more colors and sizes?
12. How do I determine my size?
13. My feet are different sizes. Do you sell different sized shoes to make a pair?
14. How do I return my shoes?
15. Do you have a rewards program?
16. I have a shop. How can I become a BILLY Footwear seller?
17. Do you have any collaborations going?
18. How do I become a guest on Open Book?
19. How was 2020 for you?
20. What can we expect from BILLY Footwear in 2021?
Episode #24 (12/23/20): Angelman syndrome (AS) is a rare neuro-genetic disorder that occurs in one in 15,000 live births or 500,000 people worldwide. It is caused by a loss of function of the UBE3A gene in the 15th chromosome derived from the mother. In this episode we hear from Amanda Moore, CEO of the Angelman Syndrome Foundation, speak on her personal connection with Angelman and all the incredible efforts their Foundation has going.
Episode #23 (12/16/20): Model. Actor. Activist. At 13 years old, Ms. Emily Prior (@emilyjprior_) is a young woman of strength and a motivational force to be reckoned with. In this episode, we hear her story.
Episode #22 (12/9/20): “Hope is on the horizon!” In this episode we hear from Samantha MacMechan, Co-Founder of the KCNT1 Epilepsy Foundation, sharing on their nonprofit’s awesome mission to find a disease-modifying treatment for their incredible kiddo warriors.
Episode #21 (12/2/20): “Live in harmony with one another, be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble” In this episode, hear from Abby Heasley, Executive Director at Harmony Dance Team, speak on the inspiration behind their nonprofit and the wonderful journey to bring it to life.
Episode #20 (11/25/20): “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism. Everyone who has autism is unique and has their own journey and challenges and blessings.” In this episode, we hear from Illyssa Tussing, proud Arizona native, mom of two boys, and “lover of all things coffee and cuddles.”
Episode #19 (11/18/20): “Through our work to raise awareness and promote research into chromosome 15q duplications, we seek to find targeted treatments so that affected individuals can live full and productive lives. Together with our families, Dup15q Alliance is working towards a better tomorrow for children with chromosome 15q11.2-13.1 duplication (dup15q) syndrome.” In this episode, we hear from Naka King, Administrator for the Dup15q Alliance and mother of a daughter diagnosed with Dup15q Syndrome.
Episode #18 (11/11/20): “Happy kids will become happy adults. On the toughest days I always try to remember there is a silver lining, while remaining positive and radiating good energy. Simply put the happiness of my children is priority.” In this episode, we hear from Alicia, mother of Lourdess — an inspirational child with the best smile.
Episode #17 (11/4/20): Art is fun, therapeutic, and Sasha's way of giving back. Hear the story of a passionate 12-year old and the nonprofit she and her mom created to help others heal through art.
Episode #16 (10/28/20): “When will you have wider kid’s and toddler shoes?” is a question we often receive. In this episode, we hear from Darin Donaldson, co-founder of BILLY Footwear, speaking on the technical and design considerations incorporated into the new wider high tops that launched October 28, 2020.
Episode #15 (10/21/20): Not all disabilities are visual. Hear the story of April Davenport and how her disability fueled her passion for inclusive design in the fashion industry.
Episode #14 (10/14/20): Hear from Vicki Ross, mother of Abbey Ross, and learn how and why BILLY shoes found their way into their lives.
Episode #13 (10/7/20): Hear the story of Molly Ging and how her entrepreneurial journey took her from a cloth diaper business to The Little Seedling — a Ann Arbor, Michigan business with lots of kiddo necessities, which includes BILLY shoes.
Episode #12 (9/30/20): Hear from Misti Staley, mother of Freeman, whose short life inspired the Freeman Playground, and the FreeArm (freearmcare.com) that helps countless families in need of an extra hand. Be prepared to be moved by this powerful story.
Episode #11 (9/23/20): When we launched BILLY Footwear, we set out to combine fashion with function in the spirit of providing shoes that all could enjoy. And with that mission, it has been incredible who we have had the privilege to meet. In this episode, we hear from the Berghoffer Family, one of our many amazing customers with a wonderful and inspiring story. Charlie, their eldest kiddo, has cerebral palsy. With his fortitude to move forward, he makes each day count. And his strong family unit is there every step of the way.
Episode #10 (9/16/20): In September of 2018 we had a Facebook post go viral, being shared 280,000 times in just three-day’s time. The post generated an overwhelming amount of exposure, setting our brand up for incredible growth in both the near and long term. For this Open Book, we hear from Nicole Hulbert, the author of the post.
Episode #9 (9/9/20): Hear from Matt Skerritt, founder of EveryHuman (everyhuman.com.au), our retail partner in Australia. Our conversation highlights the origin of their business, how BILLY Footwear landed on their radar, and how our continued partnership is working to add value to countless Australians and beyond.
Episode #8 (9/2/20): Hear from Cody Stevens, President and CEO of the PMG Awareness Organization (pmgawareness.org) — a 501(c)3 nonprofit consisting of families, caregivers and medical professionals who care about those with Polymicrogyria. The PMG Awareness Organization is committed to bringing awareness of Polymicrogyria (PMG) and to be a guiding light for those who have lost their way after being diagnosed.
Episode #7 (8/26/20): Hear the top 20 Questions and answers from Billy Price, co-founder of BILLY Footwear. The questions range from business life to personal life: (1) Where did you grow up? (2) Why are you in a wheelchair? (3) Do you play sports? (4) Do you drive? (5) Do you travel? (6) What did you study in college? (7) Where do you live now? (8) Before BILLY Footwear, what did you do for work? (9) What inspired BILLY Footwear? (10) How long did it take to ramp up the business? (11) Where can I buy BILLY shoes? (12) What sizes do you offer? (13) How do I know what size to order? (14) Do you carry wide shoes? (15) Do you ship international? (16) Do you carry boots? (17) Do you carry sandals? (18) How do I become a seller of BILLY Footwear? (19) How do I reach customer service? (20) What advice do you have for new business owners?
Episode #6 (8/19/20): Hear from Tiffany Crawford, founder of Crawford Cares, a non-profit organization established with the hopes of creating change in the community. Tiffany is the parent of a magnificent 13-year-old young man who suffers from a developmental disability. Having firsthand experience with many challenges’ families face daily, she wanted to offer the support necessary for other kids to participate fully in daily activities—achieving their goals in social, physical, emotional, cognitive, and basic life skills. This episode speaks to the origin of Crawford Cares, the valuable services they provide, and complex challenges presented by COVID as they continue to move forward in today's trying times.
Episode #5 (8/12/20): Hear from Gwendy Daub and Jodi Richey from Bridge of Promise (bridgeofpromise.org), one of our awesome Association Partners. Learn about the origin of their non-profit and the invaluable services they provide. Also hear the arduous challenges presented by COVID as they continue to move forward and find a new norm.
Episode #4 (8/5/20): Hear from Brian Michasiw, owner of Brainsport (brainsport.ca), one of our awesome retail partners in Canada. Learn about the origin of their business, their recent journey through COVID, and resultant launch of an e-commerce platform that now allows them to reach all corners of Canada.
Episode #3 (7/29/20): In this episode, we hear from the awesome Mr. Mataio Lozada and his journey with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), also known as Brittle Bone Disease. Prepare to be moved by this incredible #LittleOIWarrior
Episode #2 (7/22/20): Hear from Darin Donaldson, co-founder of BILLY Footwear, speaking on the technical and design considerations incorporated into each of our shoes plus the backstory of how we got there.
Episode #1 (7/15/20): Hear from our dear friend Dana Zumbo, Business Development Manager for Zappos Adaptive. She talks about how Zappos Adaptive came to be, our ongoing amazing partnership, and their recently launched "Single & Different Sized Shoes" program.
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