Poppy Barley – Prioritizing Well-being at Work

    Poppy Barley | Winner of the 2018 Prairies Global Entrepreneurship Support Award – Prairies

    “We believed in the idea and ourselves, so we went for it!”

    Poppy Barley is an Edmonton-based shoe company with a growing global imprint.

    After a light-bulb moment at a handcrafted boot shop in Bali, sisters Justine and Kendall Barber launched Poppy Barley in 2012. They travelled from their home in Edmonton, Canada to the city of León, Mexico in search of a leather shoe factory that prioritized its people and could offer flexibility in sizing and inventory through small-batch manufacturing.

    Today, Poppy Barley works with four family-owned factories in Mexico, employing more than 200 local artisans. Their manufacturing partner provides fair wages, excellent health, and safety conditions, and promotes workers rights and freedoms.

    By offering polished, everyday essential footwear and chic, functional accessories on their website, and at eight pop up and partnership shops across Canada, Poppy Barley was the first company in North America to offer handcrafted fashion boots online.

    Poppy Barley raises the bar for all businesses in sourcing ethical and equitable supply chains, by prioritizing well-being in the process.

    Startup News had the opportunity to sit down with Kendall Barber, Co-CEO of Poppy Barley, to learn more.

    SN: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

    KB: Believing is key: we believed in the idea and ourselves, so we went for it!

    SN: What is the biggest lesson you have learned to date?  

    KB: Always be the first person to believe yourself—that, more than intelligence or innate talents, will determine your outcomes in life. Of course, this needs to be supported by work ethic!

    SN: What advice do you have to those starting up today?

    KB: Take risks on yourself. Pay close attention to the work you do first and note what projects sit on your desk the longest. Create a business around the work you always do first.