Category Archives: Meet Our Brands

Teddy Shoes attends the Atlantic Dance Show in Maryland

By | Meet Our Brands, Meet Our Partners, Our Stories | No Comments
Michael Lee from Body Wrappers with Teddy Shoes Owner Steve Adelson

@Michael Lee from Body Wrappers with Teddy Shoes Owner Steve Adelson

Owner Steve Adelson at the Motionwear booth with National Sales Manager Andrew Bonser

Owner Steve Adelson at the Motionwear booth with National Sales Manager @Andrew Bonser

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Sansha’s National Sales Manager @Lynne Campbellwith Teddy Shoes owner Steve Adelson

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Steve Adelson and @Brian Ewing, Marketing Coordinator for SnapRetail

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@Zoe Sadler, Steve Adelson and @Brian Ewing from SnapRetail

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Do Danca’s sales manager @Jay Pereira and Bruno De Faria with Owner Steve Adelson

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Owner Steve Adelson at the @WearMoi boothWear Moi1

Above are pictures taken with some of our most popular brands and important partners — @BodyWrappers, @Motionwear, @Sansha, @SoDanca, @SnapRetai and @WearMoi. The dance show features all of all of the newest products and trends in the industry. NewTeddyShoesLogo5.24.15

Staying on the cutting edge of Dance!

 

From Beijing to Olympia, Internationally Renowned Dancer Shares Fuzi’s Story

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By Natasha Ashenhurst

Extraordinary stories lurk in the most unexpected places.

One of my favorites is the story behind the ballet community’s beloved Fuzi, and its owners, Xijun Fu, who goes by Fu, and his wife, Fang Li.

This is the story of how Fuzi achieved international acclaim and landed in Olympia—and it begins in China.

Fu was born in QingDao, China. In 1971, when he was 12-years old, recruiters from the Beijing Dance Academy asked Fu to try out—he had no previous dance experience. The process took two weeks, and three months later he left his family and moved to the Academy.

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Xijun Fu danced for National Ballet of China.

“The training was intense, but great. We learned everything, including stage fighting, folk dancing and ballet. The Soviet Union greatly influenced Chinese ballet, and the training was extensive. I consider myself lucky to have gone through this program,” he said.

For six years, Fu woke up at 5:20 a.m. and trained until 5:30 p.m. The students washed their clothes by hand, and were allowed to visit their parents only once a year. And while Fu missed his family, he said it was a great honor to dance at the Academy.

When he was 18, he joined the National Ballet of China as a soloist and a year later became one of the leads.

Meanwhile Fang, also born in China, was selected at age 13 to train as a gymnast. She was successful, but she said her body was that of a dancer and not a gymnast. She said, “My coach always told me, ‘Look at your body. You don’t fit gymnastics. You should dance.’ It had always been my dream to become a dancer, but I was not given a choice. Later I was asked to become a professional gymnast, but my parents said ‘no.’ Ironically, I married a dancer.”

While Fu was dancing, Fang began working at a department store in Beijing that only served foreign travelers. Fang wanted tickets to the ballet, so her friend introduced her to Fu. “Fu wanted to buy things from my store, which you had to have a passport to enter, and I wanted tickets to the ballet which were hard to get, so I got him into the store [he bought a leather jacket] and he gave me tickets,” she said. Six months later they started dating and married in 1985.

Soon after they married, Fu left China to become a guest artist in a cultural exchange program with Ballet de Santiago in Chile under the direction of former American Ballet Theater star Ivan Nagy. Fu and Nagy quickly became friends. Fu returned to China a year later with the intent to focus his energy on becoming an instructor at the Beijing Dance Academy, but in 1988 he was asked by Nagy to join the Cincinnati Ballet which was now under Nagy’s direction. Fu agreed and was able to work in the United States on an artist’s visa. Meanwhile, Fang and Fu had to live apart as she was not able to get a visa to enter the United States. Finally, after two years apart, Richard Collins, another director, called the American consulate in Beijing and soon after Fang received her visa. The married couple was finally reunited.

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Xijun Fu and Fang Li pose in their Lacey dance supply story, Fuzi.

In 1997 Fu retired from dancing professionally and in 1998 Fu and his family moved to Lexington, Kentucky to form the Kentucky Ballet Theatre. He explained what happened next, “I’ve always been picky about my [ballet] shoes. I called a friend who was running a factory in China where they made shoes and I asked him to make a pair for me based on my design. Soon, dancers started asking me to make shoes for them. I realized that I could start a business.” Fuzi was born—named after Fu’s nickname bestowed by a former instructor.

Fu and Fang used $1,000 from their savings for that first order of shoes. They were living in a small apartment and they remember tripping over those boxes in the bedroom. “It was our first investment. I made Fu swear that we would sell those shoes,” she said with a laugh.

Fu continued to direct and teach master classes around the world. Everywhere he went he made connections and people would ask about his shoes. “Word quickly spread. Dancers asked for our shoes because of the quality and fit,” said Fu.

Quickly, the apartment became too small so they bought a house with a one-car garage. They installed shelving in every square inch, and before long, the garage was overflowing with shoes.

In 2001, they were selling enough shoes that they were able to quit their jobs. This also meant that they were no longer tied to Lexington—that they could move anywhere they wanted.

Fang did months of research to find their new hometown. First, they narrowed down their search to the West coast for ease of importing from China. They ruled out California. They considered Portland and Seattle, but decided they wanted a slower pace. Then, Fu talked to a former student, Rebecca Ratliff-Herrin, who had danced for him in Kentucky. He remembered that she was from Olympia.

“Rebecca put us in touch with her parents and we liked what they had to say about Olympia,” said Fu. Fang’s extensive research finally narrowed their search to a very specific geographic area based on her choice of schools, an area that would allow their young children to attendCentennial Elementary, Washington Middle School and Olympia High School.

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Fu shows an example of the Fuzi brand ballet slipper.

Now they had to find a house large enough to warehouse Fuzi. “We knew we needed an even bigger garage to store our shoes, and found a house that was still under construction,” said Fang. They moved to Olympia in 2002.

Fuzi continued to grow, and they decided that they needed to buy warehouse space. In 2007 they moved the business to its present location at the intersection of College and Pacific. At first, it was just a warehouse. Fu and Fang initially had no interest in a retail business, but when they realized that there were so many local dance studios and very few options to purchase dance shoes and apparel locally, they decided to open a small retail space at the same location.

Ken and Josie Johnson, co-owners of Johansen Olympia Dance Center were thrilled to learn about Fuzi opening a store in Lacey. “Before Fuzi opened, our dancers had to drive to Tacoma, Seattle or Portland to get fitted for pointe shoes or to buy ballet slippers. Not only that, but Fu teaches at the Dance Center and coaches for Ballet Northwest. His daughter Tilia (now a student at University of Washington) danced at the Center and with Ballet Northwest since she was a girl,” said Ken.

“Ironically, retail started going crazy. We were so busy.  Again we had no space, so we expanded to the second floor, which also allowed Fu to have a small private studio for teaching,” said Fang.

They said they’ve been fortunate to have incredible employees who have contributed to the success of the store. “We are so lucky to have our team working for us. Our focus on selling only the highest quality products and providing excellent customer service is the foundation of our business and the reason for our success,” she said.

A few years ago Fu was asked to teach weekly classes at a small studio in Bellevue owned by ballet coach Deborah Hadley, a former Principal Dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB). “We met at a dance festival where I had a Fuzi booth. She started bringing her students to Olympia to buy their shoes, then she asked me to teach at the studio, and then parents at the studio asked me to open a store in Bellevue. So, two years ago Fuzi opened a store in Bellevue one block away from PNB’s Bellevue school. We broke-even after the first year and are growing quickly,” said Fang.

This year, Fuzi celebrated their eighth year in Thurston County. Word of mouth keeps business growing—both locally and through an incredible network of relationships that the husband and wife team have built internationally.

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Xijun Fu and Fang Li’s daughter, Tilia, dances in Swan Lake. Photo credit: Jerome Tso.

Fu says, “We are so fortunate that the community supports us. People come from Tacoma, Aberdeen, Chehalis and even from Vancouver. Our reputation is important. We are not just retail. We know this field—we have the background and expertise to help dancers get the best fit in a quality shoe.”

And Thurston County is fortunate to be called home by this incredibly hardworking and talented couple.

Announcing the winners of our LIke Us on Facebook/Follow us on Twitter promotion!

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We don’t usually have the chance to raffle off multiple shoes for our Like us on Facebook/Follow us on Twitter monthly promotion; however, due to the generosity of our most important dance shoe vendor Bloch Dance Australia, we are announcing three winners. Kay Moriarty O’Dwyer has won a pair of Synchrony Canvas Ballet shoes; Ramona Lane will be receiving a pair of Roland Split Sole Jazz Shoes and Thelma Goldberg was the winner of a pair of Bloch Respect Tap shoes.

We look forward to announcing another winner next month. We encourage our friends and associates to participate in our Facebook and Twitter initiatives.

‪#‎Bloch‬ ‪#‎FreeDanceShoes‬

JAN. 2014 FREE SHOE GIVEAWAY — ” Meet our Brands ” — Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter promotion.

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” Meet our Brands ” — Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter promotion. This month we are featuring our brand, Stephanie Professional Ballroom Dance Shoes.
Since 2003, Stephanie Professional Dance Shoes has been producing outstanding ballroom dance shoes using superior quality materials including premium, water-resistant satins and supple flexible leathers, extra thick memory foam padding for exceptional comfort and shock absorption as well as genuine Svarovski rhinestones.

Today we are debuting a beautiful women’s ballroom dance shoe that is sexy, stunning and very comfortable. This dressy style is ideal for any woman’s dance wardrobe that is ideally suited for ballroom, salsa dancing and competitions.

We will be raffling off a pair of our Cindy Ballroom shoes ( $148 value ), http://teddyshoes.com/2-25-cindy-women-s-flare-heel-latin-sandal-dark-tan-satin-81381.html. This stunning latin sandal will be given away on Jan. 25 as part of our ” Meet our Brands ” promotion.

FINE PRINT: If a person currently likes us on Facebook or follows us on Twitter, that individual will receive an entry in our contest. Anyone who is a new Like on Facebook or a new follower on Twitter will be entered twice in this monthly contest. Winners will be announced on the last Saturday of the month on our Facebook and Twitter pages and agree to allow us to use their name for this promotion.

JAN. 2014 Free Shoe Giveaway ” Meet our Brands ” — Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter promotion.

By | Meet Our Brands | No Comments
” Meet our Brands ” — Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter promotion. This month we are featuring our brand, Stephanie Professional Ballroom Dance Shoes.
Since 2003, Stephanie Professional Dance Shoes has been producing outstanding ballroom dance shoes using superior quality materials including premium, water-resistant satins and supple flexible leathers, extra thick memory foam padding for exceptional comfort and shock absorption as well as genuine Svarovski rhinestones.
Today we are debuting a handsome Men’s ballroom dance shoes that is very soft and comfortable. This unique style is an excellent addition to any gentleman’s dance wardrobe that is ideally suited for ballroom and salsa dancing.
We will be raffling off a pair of our Cindy Ballroom shoes ( $148 value ), http://teddyshoes.com/2-25-cindy-women-s-flare-heel-latin-sandal-dark-tan-satin-81381.html. This stunning latin sandal will be given away on Jan. 25 as part of our ” Meet our Brands ” promotion.
FINE PRINT: If a person currently likes us on Facebook or follows us on Twitter, that individual will receive an entry in our contest. Anyone who is a new Like on Facebook or a new follower on Twitter will be entered twice in this monthly contest. Winners will be announced on the last Saturday of the month on our Facebook and Twitter pages and agree to allow us to use their name for this promotion.

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” Meet Our Brands ” — Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter Promotion!

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” Meet Our Brands ” — Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter Promotion!

This month we are featuring our brand, Teddy Shoes. Teddy Shoes is a brand that stays on the cutting edge of dance products and family footwear by featuring unusual ballroom and tango shoes, dressy men’s shoes and women’s wide widths/large sizes. Many of our customers have told us that we belong in Manhattan’s Soho because we have such a distinctive and eclectic product mix.

Today we are debuting a women’s all leather wide width boot from Footwear International. This fur-lined beauty has a wide calf, is very comfortable and will be ideal for the upcoming winter. We are the one of a few stores that has this outstanding brand in our area and have several other options in our store. Footwear International is an exceptional importer of better grade women’s wide width shoes and boots. This quality supplier provides superior quality, outstanding value and extremely comfortable products for the consumer. Teddy Shoes is proud to be a privileged distributor of this great company that produces large sizes for that hard to fit foot.

We will be raffling off our all leather, multi-colored handmade shoe from Colombia featured on our Facebook and Twitter feeds from Dec. 1. . This one-of- a-kind gem ( size 7.5 Men’s ) will be given away on Dec. 27 as part of our ” Meet our Brands ” promotion.

FINE PRINT: If a person currently likes us on Facebook or follows us on Twitter, that individual will receive an entry in our contest. Anyone who is a new Like on Facebook or a new follower on Twitter will be entered twice in this monthly contest. Winners will be announced on the last Saturday of the month on our Facebook and Twitter pages and agree to allow us to use their name for this promotion.

“Meet Our Brands” – Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter Promotion!

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“Meet Our Brands” – Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter Promotion! This month we are featuring our brand, Teddy Shoes.Teddy Shoes is a brand That stays on the cutting edge of dance footwear products and family by featuring unusual ballroom and tango shoes, men’s shoes and dressy women’s wide widths / large sizes. Many of our customers That Have Told us we belong in Manhattan’s Soho Because info we have Such a distinctive and eclectic product mix. Today we are showcasing a classy sandal from Natural Spin Latin. This ballroom shoe sexy shoe has a very stable heel, is very comfortable and will be a great Addition for your dance shoe wardrobe. We are the only importer of this fine Canadian brand in our area and offer several other styles on our website,http://teddyshoes.com/dance-shoes.html?brand=538 . Natural Spin is a fast growing dance product supplier specializes in the design That, manufacture and sale of an EXTENSIVE line of quality dance shoes including Ballroom Which, Salsa, Argentine Tango, and more. By Adapting the latest European and North American designs, materials and production technology, and Working with the world’s leading professional dancers Italian fashion designers, Natural Spin Make Their products “Professional, Fashionable and Comfortable.” We will be raffling off our all leather, multi -colored handmade shoe from Colombia featured on our Facebook and Twitter feeds from Dec. 1. . . This one-of-a-kind gem (Men’s size 7.5) will be given away on Dec. 27 as part of our “Meet our Brands” promotion FINE PRINT: If a person currently likes us on Facebook or follows us on Twitter, That single will receive an entry in our contest. Anyone who is a new Like on Facebook or follower on Twitter to new will be twice Entered In this monthly contest. Winners will be announced on the last Saturday of the month on our Facebook and Twitter pages and agree to allow us to use their name for this promotion.