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Bill Bird is a shoemaker who cannot make shoes fast enough for his growing number of customers - and he charges more than £300 for a pair! Customers travel hundreds of kilometres to his London shoe clinic or to his workshop in the countryside to have their feet measured. He makes shoes for people with feet of unusual sizes: very large, very small, very broad or very narrow. The shoes are at least as fashionable as those found in ordinary shops.
Mr Bird says: 'My problem is that I cannot find skilled workers. Young people all seem to prefer to work with computers these days. We will lose the necessary skills soon because there are fewer and fewer shoemakers nowadays. I am 45, and now I want to teach young people everything I know about making shoes. It's a good job, and a lot of people want to buy beautiful shoes specially made for them.'
He started in the business 19 years ago and now he employs three other people. His customers pay about £500 for their first pair of shoes. He says: 'Our customers come because they want comfortable shoes which are exactly the right size.' Extra pairs of shoes cost between £320 and £450, as it takes one employee a whole week to make just one shoe.
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