The Poppy Barley Concept
Why is it so difficult to find stylish boots that actually fit? This was the nagging question that led Kendall and Justine Barber to build Poppy Barley.
Before mass manufacturing took over the shoe industry, cordwainers (shoemakers of fine leather footwear) used barleycorns and poppy seeds as measurement units to make made to measure footwear. One barleycorn was equal to 1/3 inch, and four poppy seeds equaled one barleycorn. Still today, barleycorns and poppy seeds form the basis of UK and US shoe sizing.
Over 60% of women struggle to find shoes due to fit issues, because mass manufacturers take only standard measurements for length into consideration, and engineer their footwear to meet an average shape and width. These fit issues, from wide, narrow, and disproportional calves and feet, to high arches, and plus and petite lengths, can all be accommodated with made to measure services.
Poppy Barley is fusing tradition and technology to create luxury, handcrafted boots and shoes at an attainable price point; here, function and fashion have truly coalesced. Pushing the boundaries of the conventional footwear industry, Poppy Barley will revolutionize the way women buy footwear.
In January 2012, Poppy Barley co-founder Justine Barber was vacationing in Bali and came across a great pair of boots—a classic rider style with a dark brown top. Sadly, they were not available in her size. The storeowner declared it “no problem,” and offered to make the boots especially for her, quickly proceeding to measure Justine’s feet and legs. Justine’s boots were handcrafted and shipped to her home in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada a few weeks later.
It was a one-of-a-kind shopping experience. In North America, custom footwear became unavailable when the small-town local shoe craftsman closed up shop and mass production moved in. The idea of bespoke boots hadn’t occurred to Justine as an option or a possible solution to her fit issues.
A few days later while observing Galungan, Bali’s most important recurring religious ceremony, Justine conceived the idea of bringing the art of custom boots to anyone with access to a measuring tape and internet.
Fit. Every pair of Poppy Barley boots and shoes are customized to your fit specifications. We offer any width from A to EE (from extremely narrow to extremely wide) and can easily accommodate sizes 5 to 12 for foot length.
Style & Comfort. Poppy Barley designs are divided into Classics (staple styles in staple hues) and Limited Edition Collections (50 to 500 “of-a-kind”, only available while supplies last; we’ve rid ourselves of seasonal releases and launch new styles on a monthly basis). We spare no details in creating our luxury footwear. We believe it’s the little things – padded insoles, arch supports and goat leather lining – that creates the perfect shoe fit for all-day comfort.
Quality. Handcrafted with the finest materials by our team of expert artisans in León, Mexico, we’re defying mass-produced, off-the-rack footwear. Our footwear is handcrafted with the finest materials—luxurious, buttery leathers, stylish hardware, and durable soles—and are offered at an unheard of price point in the custom goods industry, made possible only by cutting out the middlemen in traditional retail models. Welcome to a new standard.