Poppy Barley

Magazine  v

Founder's Letter

A Personal Note—And a 2018 Announcement

2017. Over. 2018. Onwards.

2017 challenged how work and life work together. We’re not talking about balance. We’re talking about life happening AND running a business. As business owners, we don’t have the ability to “turn-off work” when big life events happen. Justine discovered this when she returned to work 8-weeks after the arrival of her son, Jude. We’ve worked through honeymoons, vacations and health complications. We are not complaining – we choose to work because we love Poppy Barley. Frankly, sometimes work demands that we work – and we do. It’s part of what makes entrepreneurship mentally exhausting. In 2017, life knocked us hard.

On March 20, 2017, it was announced Canada’s Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, would present Canada’s Federal Budget wearing Poppy Barley shoes. It instantly put Poppy Barley in the spotlight across Canada – on the radio, in the papers, in magazines, everywhere. While the press swirled around the company we founded, we were gathered with a few hundred people at the St. Albert Curling Rink to celebrate the life of our dad. We had all his favourite things – family, friends, good stories, pizza, twizzlers, and beer. Our dad was so proud of Poppy Barley – he was our biggest, loudest cheerleader.
2017 year review
Losing our father filled our year with grief, sadness and a renewed focus on family, on life, on balancing work and dedicating more hours to what matters most. We were reminded: Work only works when life works. And when life isn’t working, you need a support team. At Poppy Barley, we have the best team – thank you for running the company while we grieved. To celebrate life – including our dad’s – we’re excited to partner with the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute as our first charity partner in 2018. Onwards to a brighter future for cardiac care.
2017 year review
On August 3, 2017, we opened our first retail store. We were terrified. A store required capital, inventory, new technology and a team. To minimize our risk, we signed a temporary deal with Southgate Centre full of possible exit clauses. Our temporary store was 1000 sq ft built within an old 5,000 sq ft Sephora store. With failure feeling like a real possibility, we threw ourselves into making the store successful. Long days. Late nights. Total commitment from everyone on the PB team. We opened and people shopped. The store gave us a platform to share our love for Edmonton, for Mexico, for ethical manufacturing, and beautifully designed footwear and handbags. Last fall, we received the news that a large retailer wanted to take all 5,000 sq ft of our store. We needed to move – and fast (cue more long hours, hard work).

2017 year review

Thanks to our customers and team, we have confidence in a Poppy Barley retail concept. We’re excited to announce we’re opening a permanent location in Southgate Centre! It requires a move just a few doors down from our original location. Our current store’s last day will be January 14, and our new store will open on January 18. Find us in Unit #726, right by Crate & Barrel. Find out more details about the move here.

2017 year review

On September 26, 2017, Kendall welcomed a baby girl into her life. On September 28, the Poppy Barley team spent 80 hours building a house for a family with Habitat for Humanity. In February 2018, Justine is expecting her second baby boy. Two other PBers, Caroline and Kate, are also pregnant with their first babies. As a company founded by two sisters, built largely by women, we’re challenged to figure out how to offer the best workplace for parents. Beyond being parent-friendly, our goal is a company culture that’s life friendly. We all experience life – the hard (loss, grief, health problems) and the joyful (weddings, babies, children, vacations).
In 2017, our team supported us in both life and business. In 2018 (and beyond), we aim to do the same for everyone at Poppy Barley.

It’s not possible to measure everything in business and life, but here’s 2017 by numbers:

  • 37,994 Kilometres travelled for popup shops
  • 24,452 Emails received by our Concierge Team
  • 542 Instagram Posts (with 175,911 likes)
  • 24 Fashion Editors/Stylists in our shoes/sporting our accessories
  • 23 New Hires to the PB Team
  • 11 Countries Visited
  • 9 Articles in our PB Magazine
  • 8 Sustainability Goals
  • 3 Trips to Mexico to visit our factories
  • 2 Weddings
  • 1 Flagship Store at Southgate Mall
  • 1 Finalist Nomination for the Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent, Accessories at the Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards
  • 1 Canada Post Award for Best Marketing & Brand Engagement
  • 1 Poppy Barley Baby (with 3 more PB babies expected in 2018)
  • 1 House Built for Habitat for Humanity

Kendall Barber

Co-Founder, Poppy Barley
Kendall is the co-founder of Poppy Barley, a company redefining luxury footwear with its focus on style, comfort, ethical manufacturing and materials--not markups. Kendall is a marathoner and lululemon run ambassador, a self described "pretend chef" and "cookie monster", and a morning enthusiast (you'll find her running trails at 6am). She lives in Edmonton, AB with her husband, Ross and puppy, Whip.