From Whence They Came
The story of how Forsyth Scottich Dancing Shoes started as told by Billy himself.
Its the real story - honest. Why would I tell fibs*?
Once upon a time - well all good stories start that way.
Many years ago, back in the early 1960s actually, I was seeking a new producer of highland dance shoes. I had been using the famous 'Finegan' shoes since I was a very young competitor but the remaining shoes had finally worn out completely and the Finegan family were no more so where was I to go for a quality product. I had tried a number of different products but not been completely happy with any of them.
A friend had recently had a pair of shoes hand-made for him and to say the least they were not what I would have wished. To my surprise while walking round a Highland Games field with him one afternoon he introduced me to a young man with the words " this is the guy who thinks your shoes are terrible" Oops! A diplomat he was not. The craftsman, for that he certainly proved to be, didn't go bananas with me but asked what I felt was wrong with the dance shoes he had produced. A long discussion ensued and he offered to make me a pair to the specifications I was demanding. So commenced a long period of trial and error to achieve a shoe which would give me the shape, flexibility, support and durability I was seeking without the drawbacks common in other shoes of the time. After constructing some six or seven pairs, each amended and adjusted to gain a higher level of quality, comfort and fit, I eventually agreed he had produced a shoe to meet that most demanding breed of dancers, the contenders for top championship titles, and there were many vying for the major honours, most now widely recognised teachers and judges.
It was inevitable, of course, that I was asked by other competitors on the Highland Games circuit where I had found the new highland dancing shoes - oh and could you get me a pair! Although we did not have the large numbers who attend the major championship events these days, there was a regular group of leading dancers competing at Gatherings up and down the country on a weekly basis and all were, and still are, friends, no matter how the week to week results turned out. Have you ever tried to get cash out of friends? I left my wallet in the car/with mum! My husband has my purse and has gone off to watch the cycling/running/heavies! I've no change I've just bought wee Jimmy an ice cream! But I'll see you next week anyway, I'll let you have it then! Yes, I know, but they were, and are, good friends, honest! So there was never any doubts about obtaining payment - eventually. And all this for twenty nine shillings and elevenpence a pair, that's £1.50 in todays currency.
Problem solved. I took £10 of prize money from one of the gatherings and started the "shoe float" to cover the cash flow problem - and the rest is history!
Now we export to every major country in the world. We send shoes to dancers in Banjul as well as Bathgate, Toronto as well as Troon, and we even sent a pair of large size 11s to Alaska - personally I'm convinced they were worn over the snow shoes! Wherever Scottish Dancers perform, from Karachi to Kobe, Toronto to Tokyo, or just Motherwell to Machrihanish, you'll see the distinctive cut and style of the Champions Choice, the dance slippers produced by a World Champion for those who would like to be Champions.
Thank you to all my friends in dancing for their support over the years I hope to continue to supply you with top quality dance shoes for many years to come.
* the Scottish equivalent of "economical with the truth" or "that's not my understanding of the meaning of that word"