Poppy Barley

Magazine  v

Founder's Letter

Sustainability Roundup—How Did We Do, and What’s Next?

When it comes to setting and measuring goals, it’s important to take the time and mental space to step back and assess successes, opportunities, and ways to improve going forward. At Poppy Barley, we set lofty goals and high standards for everything we do. We challenge ourselves by growing our product offering to surprise and delight our customers, and we believe that we can be a force for good in the fashion industry. We want to change the world one pair of shoes at a time, and we won’t stop until we do.

Fashion Revolution Week—with its focus on promoting ethical and sustainable practices within the fashion industry—seemed like the perfect time to reflect on how we pushed ourselves to be more socially and environmentally conscious this past year.

A year after we released our Sustainability Goals, it’s time to look at how we lived up to our promise of delivering high-quality and beautiful leather goods, while staying true to our mission of paying fair wages, reducing our environmental impact, and serving our communities here in Canada and in Mexico. And we did have many, many successes. We donated 1% of our sales to charity initiatives, ensured that our factories not only met, but exceeded our code of conduct set for working conditions, and took concrete steps to reduce our environmental footprint in our manufacturing, packaging, and shipping practices. These goals aren’t just pie in the sky dreams for us. They are fundamental to who we are as a company, and we are passionate about achieving, maintaining, and improving upon these successes. Perhaps our biggest success lies just in starting. The Sustainability Plan for 2017 provided Poppy Barley a measurable framework to become a better company. We put our Sustainability Plan on our website and on the walls of our stores to hold ourselves accountable. Within a year, we transformed the culture at Poppy Barley. That’s a huge accomplishment!

But as proud as we are of our accomplishments, we are always striving to grow and be even better. To do this, we must acknowledge where we may have fallen short, and how we can do more going forward. We came together as a team, looked back at what are goals were, and facilitated a frank and honest discussion about the work we still have to do. We aren’t content to just be good. We need to be great.

Although, we did not achieve all our targets, I wouldn’t label them as “misses.” For each target, we explored options, researched, and sometimes failed. But by aiming big, even when we came up short, we made progress. I’d always rather think big and fail, than think small and achieve everything.

We need to weave our sustainability objectives deeper into the DNA of Poppy Barley. To achieve our sustainability goals and environmental targets, they need to be a filter in every decision we make within our company. The leadership for change needs to come from every level of the organization, and we need more frequent reporting on the benchmarks.

We have compiled our 2018 Sustainability Report to be transparent about our practices, and to hold ourselves accountable as we continue to grow as a company and collective. When Poppy Barley started in 2012, we set out to change how people shop and think about the products they wear. We know that our customers choose to wear our products because they truly care about the impact of their purchases, and we never want to lose sight of that vision. Change will happen when we embrace that businesses and consumers have remarkable power. As a growing business, our platform for change gets bigger every year. It’s one of the elements that excites me the most as we create Poppy Barley. By thinking differently and making the right decisions, we can honour and love people, our planet, and beautiful products.

I am proud of what we have achieved, and excited for what the future holds.  We invite you to learn more about us, and ask us questions about where we have come and where we plan to go next.

Read the Report

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.