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.
* * *
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.
* * *