This is a cool true story of how a struggling shoe factory got new life by catering to transgender customers. The stage version just won an award for “Best Musical.” Some of the story:
In his 30s Pateman had taken over from his father as boss of WJ Brookes – a traditional shoe factory in the village of Earls Barton in Northamptonshire which had existed for more than a century.
Struggling with changes in fashion and competition from abroad Steve had started to look for new markets. He was persuaded by an unexpected phone-call to think about expansion into “kinky boots” – women’s shoes in men’s sizes for transgender people.
“…I explained we were having real difficulty getting hold of well-made women’s shoes which would fit men. I persuaded him the market wasn’t as niche as he thought and suddenly he was keen.
“In fact at one point Steve got carried away. He was talking about leopard-skin boots and other exotic lines. But what my customers want is classic black patent boots and shoes which will take a man’s weight.”