We’re almost there! So far, we’ve profiled Breanne, Caroline, Monica, Kendall, and Daelan. We have two very important people left on the Poppy Barley team to introduce you to. Meet Justine Barber, our co-founder, and the girl with the idea.
In January 2012, Justine 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 bespoke boots were then handcrafted (for her high arches and slightly wide feet) and shipped to her home in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. A few days after getting measured, 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. This is how Poppy Barley was born.
Despite Justine’s natural eye for design and her cool sense of style, her work experience and educational background is a far cry from fashion and bespoke shoemaking (although, she did hope to be a fashion designer when she was little). She’s got a masters in War Studies from the University of Kent in Belgium, and multiple certifications in urban planning and development. When she’s not leading product development for our custom boots and shoes (and doing a myriad of other tasks required to run a startup), she’s powering through books on a weekly basis (mostly non-fiction), running or playing soccer, taking her dog, Quinn, for walks, spending time with her husband, and being a Big Sister.
Get to know Justine in our rapid-fire Q&A…
Job title: Co-Founder
My typical day at the office… is all about multi-tasking! Some days are focused on product development, which means working on new boot and shoe designs, and some days are focused on project planning. Other days I focus on operations, finances and accounting. I also spend part of each day tracking order fulfillment and customer care with Breanne, and correspond with Laura, our Operations Manager, in Mexico. A big perk of the job is being one of the first to test out our newest boot and shoe samples. I love seeing a style evolve from its initial concept and sketches to completion.
Fit Issue: I need boots for high arches and (it turns out) slightly wide feet
Favourite Poppy Barley boot style right now: The Chain Boot in Cognac
Favourite Poppy Barley flats style right now: The Slip-on Oxford in Black and Snakeskin
Favourite online hangout spot: Facebook to see the interaction with the Poppy Barley community
Fashion piece I never leave home without: Great shoes or boots
Item I never leave home without: Wallet and hopefully my keys
Indulgence: Red wine and chocolate
Favourite quote: Winter is coming!
Wanderlusting after: Turkey
Favourite city to visit: Tied – NYC and Rio de Janeiro
I have a weakness for: My puppy, Quinn
Fun fact: I did a solo-backpacking trip in Brazil for two months.
If I could live anywhere in the world, it would be: Edmonton eight months of the year, and I’d travel for the other four (mostly during the winter).
When it’s time to unwind: Run, read or garden
Favourite App: Songza