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In Pursuit of Work-Life Balance

6-minute read

Poppy Barley is 3.5 years old. A lot of life has happened since we first started the company. We’ve had a wedding, a divorce and an engagement. We’ve had our first "Poppy Barley Baby" (my son, Jude) and our original progeny (our developer Daelan’s son, Quinn) is almost a teenager.
Lately, it seems to me that if your 20's are about exploring and often making big life decisions - your career path, the city you’ll settle in, your life partner - your 30's are about prioritizing and finding the right, elusive "balance" for your life. I once scared a group of women interested in entrepreneurship by telling them, truthfully, that starting Poppy Barley meant sacrificing peace of mind, financial security, and interests and hobbies. And it did, for a while, and it was fine, for a while, but not forever. I think a lot of career driven people reach that point with their careers - that at some point life has to take over, or at least make it into the front seat. So you take the plunge and have the baby. Or take that sabbatical. Or fill your life again with your interests, and hobbies, and passions, and amazing trips. Founder's Photo - Justine Barber

Poppy Barley co-founder Justine with her husband Connor and son Jude at our Cinco de Mayo party. Captured by NEAT Photo Booth

Looking around our office (or our Cinco de Mayo party - thanks to NEAT Photo Booth for capturing our team!), that is what I’m seeing at Poppy Barley. As I mentioned, I had my first son Jude in January and took the better part of three months off, wonderfully supported by my co-founder and sister, Kendall, and the Poppy Barley team who made it possible. Meanwhile, Kendall has been training for a marathon, decorating a new house and planning a trip to Croatia. Monica, our brand design manager, just got back from a two month trip; one month working remotely in Austin, TX and one month traveling up the US West Coast (yes, we were all jealous!), which she writes about in "The Read". (For a take on sabbaticals that I love love, watch Todd Babiak’s Ted Talk.) Daelan created the Northern Sessions to combine two of his passions, music and video, in his spare time. Both he and Yvonne, our customer experience lead, are taking trips to Iceland this month. Caroline, our community manager, is getting married in Edmonton in July and honeymooning in Tofino - travelling by train, by boat and by plane (maybe even helicopter!). Jane, our digital marketing coordinator, just returned from Phoenix, while Esther, our customer operations coordinator, is planning a trip home to Spain come August. FoundersPhoto-2

Team PB from left: Jane, Daelan, Esther, Monica and Caroline. Captured by NEAT Photo Booth


Poppy Barley co-founder Kendall - and her donkey - celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Captured by NEAT Photo Booth

NEAT Photo Booth - Poppy Barley Cinco de Mayo Party

From left: Esther, Yvonne and Jane. Captured by NEAT Photo Booth

I love working too and am excited to be back (part-time to start), but I’m firmly in the camp that we spend too much of our lives working to not enjoy our work (but that there is more to life than work!). The focus of this magazine is really on people who pursued their passions and turned them into their careers, including:
  • Marie-Eve Vallieres, who went from working in data entry to becoming a full time travel blogger and photographer, and shares the details of her favourite destination in "The Wanderer".
  • Paul Webster, who shares how he became a professional curling coach after taking the plunge to quit his teaching job and move to Calgary.
  • Shay Merritt, who shares what it’s like to be the woman behind the woman as Jillian Harris’ Managing Editor.
  • Finally, Breanna and Janet, who also have cool jobs working as writers for Where magazine in Calgary, share their experience being on the opposite ends of extreme sizes (a size 5 and a size 11, respectively) in "The Fit".

While our work unites us at Poppy Barley, travel is the most shared love on our team. From all the amazing travel photos we see via #PoppyBarleySquad and #PoppyBarleyPassport, it is clearly a passion shared by you. Travel is interesting - the more of the world you see, the more you crave to see. The more trips you do, the more travel seems possible rather than out of reach or intimidating. Accordingly, the inspiration for our Spring/Summer 2016 collections is travel - the shoes and accessories you need to take you around the globe. From the Edmonton International Airport to the sky and your swanky destination hotel, see our behind-the-scenes video at our Summer 2016 shoot at Edmonton's Matrix Hotel in "The Look". Don't forget to enter our #PoppyBarleyPassport contest to win a two-nights stay there, plus Poppy Barley shoes for you and a friend! As you can also see, the launch of our latest collection coincided with Cinco de Mayo last week (Poppy Barley manufactures in Mexico and half our hearts are there!) and we celebrated with a party and cocktail making workshops. (Me after 9 months of pregnancy = cocktail lover :) ) Inspired by our newest leathers, get all the summer cocktail recipes you need in The Tutorial. Finally, our thoughts, prayers and support go to the residents of Fort McMurray who have been evacuated due to massive forest fires. We've made donations to the Red Cross - and you can too. Have a wonderful early Summer!

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