poppy barley visits bluboho oakville

SummerCollection-MaryJane-LizardCheetahBeachTan1 A few weeks ago, we popped up at Poppy Barley and this week, we are excited to return the favour! Poppy Barley will be at our Oakville store this week sharing their summer collection with us. These gals are all heart! We absolutely love their collection, and what they stand for. All their shoes are hand-crafted and made to order. Started by two sisters, Kendall and Justine, they believe in luxury for the people. Before their visit, we asked them a few questions about Poppy Barley, what makes it special, and what we can expect at the pop up.

bluboho Oakville 293 Lakeshore Road East Thursday, May 21 3pm - 7pm

how did the idea for Poppy Barley come to be?

Justine: I travelled to Bali in January 2012 and had a pair of boots handcrafted to my measurements there. It was a reminder — oh, right, there is another way we used to buy footwear — handcrafted and made to fit you, whether you have wide calves, narrow feet, long legs or short. On the trip I conceived the idea of combining custom footwear with an online model so that women everywhere could experience shoes and boots made just for them. Before mass manufacturing took over the shoe industry, cordwainers (shoemakers of fine leather footwear) used barleycorns and poppy seeds as measurement units to make made-to-measure footwear, which dates back to the late middle ages in England. One barleycorn was equal to 1/3 inch, and four poppy seeds equalled one barleycorn. Still today, barleycorns and poppy seeds form the basis of U.K. and U.S. shoe sizing.


how did your past experience shape your journey to Poppy Barley?

Justine: I worked on the strategy and evaluation of Alberta's Plan to End Homelessness for 2.5 years; then my last job right before Poppy Barley was for the City of Edmonton in affordable housing and urban revitalization. I never imagined myself as a business owner/entrepreneur until one night, frustrated, I decided I wanted to work for myself - the next day I got on a plane to Bali and there came up with the idea for Poppy Barley. I am driven by constant improvement and life design goals.

Kendall: Directly before starting Poppy Barley, I was working with my husband (an optometrist) on his business eye-bar, a rockin’ optical store and optometry clinic. I had left my corporate marketing job 6-months prior. While working for a larger corporation equipped me with lots of great tools, I’m a builder. I love ideas, uncertainty, discovery and action – everything that comes with building a company! Beyond Poppy Barley, I’m a lululemon run ambassador (train 80-100kms per week!). Building run community in Edmonton is a passion whether it’s documenting routes, leading run groups or raising money to make running more accessible.

what makes Poppy Barley different?

Thoughtful design permeates every stitch of Poppy Barley, whether it’s the online experience and customer interaction, or product aesthetic, packaging and function. Collections are divided into classics – the staples of your wardrobe – and monthly, limited edition releases (like our Summer Collection) – styles and leathers that are adventurous and one-of-a-kind, without wasted materials. We're making luxury accessible.


what can our guests expect at the pop-up in Oakville?

This will be our second visit to Ontario and first visit to Oakville. This will also be your first in-person look at our Summer Collection, which includes a brand new Strappy Sandal and four new leathers (Metallic Lizard, Azul Nubuck, Beach Tan and White Cheetah), and our Mens' Collection, which has five styles of dress shoes (and they are all impeccable!). We offer sizes 5-12 and multiple foot and calf widths for women, and sizes 5-15 and four foot widths for men. P.S. We'll be in Toronto on the 22-23 if you can't make it on the 21st!


where is your favourite place to visit?

Justine: I frequently travel to Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende (nearby cities to Leon where we make our shoes) in Mexico. Both are colonial-era towns that achieved great wealth in the 1850s due to the region’s silver mines, and as such, left an amazing heritage of Baroque architecture. The towns are set in valleys framed by mountains and have narrow and steep cobblestone callejones (alleyways), shady plazas dotted with monuments and cafes, pastel coloured buildings and techni-coloured flowers. The best thing to do is wander the streets, get lost in plazas and eat street tacos with a margarita on the rocks!

Kendall: My favourite place to visit is the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Skirting the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast, the Path of the Gods connects all the towns along the Mediterranean Sea. The trails are quite technical and challenging but the views are spectacular. At the end you can run down to the sea and jump in for a swim. The best place to eat is the restaurant at the Villa Maria Hotel in Ravello. It’s so good, I met David Rocco there filming an episode for TV show, Dolce Vita!


where would we find you on a Saturday afternoon (if not at Poppy Barley)?

Justine: The perfect Saturday includes a run followed by a trip to the Farmer’s Market. Then, I’d spend the afternoon reading a book in the sun and go out with friends for drinks!

Kendall: A long run followed by lunch with friends. I’d spend the afternoon in a park with my dog. Then return home to cook a delicious meal for my husband and friends (I love to cook!).

any favourite team moments/guest experiences you'd like to share?

When we first started, we used to hand deliver orders! We’d pack up the car and drive all over the city. Customers were always surprised to find us on their doorsteps! We always pay attention to our customers on social media to occasionally “surprise and delight” them with cookies, gift cards to coffee shops, and cards to celebrate occasions.