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Poppy Barley

OUR FACTORIES

PROUDLY MADE IN MEXICO

We proudly handcraft all Poppy Barley footwear in León, a city of two million people located in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico, approximately three hours north of Mexico City.

Often referred to as “The Shoe Capital of the World,” León has been making shoes since 1645, and it is this centuries-old history of craftsmanship that, after a global search—from Argentina to Italy and China— convinced us to set up production there.

León’s thriving footwear industry has attracted many immigrants from Italy, Spain and Argentina over the years, and the result is a vibrant fusion of food, culture, and the best practices in shoemaking.

a 36 km supply chain

León has one of the world’s leading footwear manufacturing clusters: all of the necessary production supplies are concentrated within a 36 km radius.

The city holds 3,394 shoe manufacturers, 388 leather goods manufacturers, 300 suppliers (machinery, outsoles, textiles, synthetic materials, glues, fittings, etc.), and 696 tanneries.

The city of León, and the partnerships with our factories, makes it possible for Poppy Barley to bring our customers the highest quality materials and what we believe to be the most comfortable footwear in the world.

Our Factory - Custom Shoes - Poppy Barley

meet laura

Laura connects Poppy Barley’s Canadian team with all the suppliers, factories and artisans we need to manufacture our shoes in Mexico. Leading product development and operations, Laura quality controls every pair of Poppy Barley shoes before packaging them up in León and shipping them to our headquarters in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (She also educates us on León’s cultural beat and helps us with our Spanish!)

Laura’s twin missions in life are to enhance Mexico’s international reputation by contributing to León’s development and prosperity, and, as a businesswoman, to be a good role model for her teenage daughter, Maria, and son, Ernesto.

Our Factory - Custom Shoes - Poppy Barley

Ethical Manufacturing

Poppy Barley screens all its factories for positive working conditions, including a living wage (Poppy Barley pays, on average, five times the the region’s minimum wage), full-time permanent employment with benefits, reasonable working hours, vacation and sick benefits, and ongoing training and opportunity.

Further, Poppy Barley conducts regular on-site visits to each factory to ensure the buildings are clean, structurally sound, and follow codes for fire safety, in addition to offering adequate employee facilities, such as drinking water and bathrooms.

On a more personal level, Poppy Barley loves to connect directly with the factory owners, staff and artisans who do an incredible job creating our leather goods. Here’s your opportunity to get to know them…

MEET OUR FACTORIES

Our Factory - Custom Shoes - Poppy Barley

The Flats, Oxfords, Heeled Boots and Flat Boots Factory

Number of employees: 22
Year established: 1996

About the Owner:

This factory was founded twenty years ago by Lupita. Poppy Barley co-founders Kendall and Justine Barber serendipitously met Lupita when their shoe broker Laura’s 12-year old daughter came home and reported her best friend’s mom (Lupita) could make custom footwear (did you catch all that?). This was the beginning of the Poppy Barley partnership (and became the original Poppy Barley factory) formed by four women: Kendall, Justine, Lupita and Laura.

About the Factory:

Lupita recruited all of her shoemakers from the sample rooms of León’s top manufacturers. (It is in the sample rooms of larger factories where the first prototype of every new shoe style is handcrafted before it is mass-produced by an assembly line.) The artisans have decades of experience in shoemaking, having launched their careers when it was still the norm to make shoes entirely by hand.

Creating a clean and safe environment for Lupita’s team is of utmost importance, and in the 20 years that her factory has been manufacturing shoes they have remained accident-free.

Our Factory - Custom Shoes - Poppy Barley

The Ankle Boot + Slip-on Oxford Factory

Number of employees: 100
Year established: 2006

About the Owner:

This factory was established by Fernando ten years ago as an extension to his family’s business. While Fernando’s factory is large and capable of producing 8,000 pairs of shoes per week for outside clients, his lifelong dream has been to own a small, high-end factory that focuses on top quality materials, small-batch manufacturing and the art of shoemaking. This is where Poppy Barley comes in…

About the Factory:

Fernando and Poppy Barley have developed a small cell of highly skilled artisans dedicated to the development and manufacturing of Poppy Barley’s custom and ready-to-wear footwear. More specifically, Fernando’s factory makes Poppy Barley’s line-up of Ankle Boots and Slip-on Oxfords.

Our Factory - Custom Shoes - Poppy Barley

The Handbag Factory

Number of employees: 55
Year established: 1989

About the Owner:

Husband-and-wife-team José and Maria moved from Spain to Mexico in 1989 to create a better life for their family. Making handbags in their kitchen, they invested $2000 USD to buy a leather-cutting table, a used sewing machine and a trip to L.A. to purchase sheepskin imported from Europe.

About the Factory:

The vision was (and continues to be) to make the highest quality products. Today, this factory is recognized as the top handbag producer in Mexico. Together with Poppy Barley, they developed The Perfect Handbag, which launched in December 2015.

Our Factory - Custom Shoes - Poppy Barley

The Leather Accessories Factory

Number of employees: 35
Year established: 2001

About the Owner:

Mario’s family has been making leather goods for three generations, but it wasn’t until his mid-twenties, during an inspiring trip to the Prada factories in Italy, that he decided to devote his life to the industry. While there, he was surprised to learn that the luxury cars in the parking lot were not driven by the factory owners, but by the artisans. He decided to bring this model of thought to shoemaking in México, to teach people to work with care, to instil love, passion and pride in their products, and to elevate the status of the makers.

About the Factory:

This factory manufactures the Poppy Barley Wristlet, which launched in November 2015. Still inspired by a higher mission to develop craftspeople, Mario’s factory hosts regular training sessions for their employees to further develop their manufacturing skills, but also on subjects like psychology, art, and business.


If you have any other questions regarding our shoemaking practices, or the story behind Poppy Barley, please do not hesitate to contact our founders at justine@poppybarley.com and kendall@poppybarley.com.

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