Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Launch of Poppy Barley

Do you have a hard time finding boots that fit? Boots that you drool over in the store only to be disappointed by when you try them on and find out your calves are too big or too small for them, thinking you must have the most odd-shaped legs out of all your friends? (You don't.) Your legs are normal, it's just that most footwear companies take only one measurement into account - foot length - and that makes for an ill-fitting boot. I have really skinny calves (and meatier thighs) which makes it very hard for me to find boots where the material doesn't sag in the ankle or calf. But fortunately for me and millions of other frustrated women, the search for the perfect boot is over thanks to the launch of the new online made-to-measure footwear store Poppy Barley.

Created by sisters Kendall and Justine Barber of Edmonton, Poppy Barley creates custom-made boots based on 8 measurements the customer takes of their feet and legs, as directed on the website. They then choose the color, style, hardware and type of sole and submit their order. The boots are then handcrafted and delivered to your doorstep. My friend and Alberta editor of Fashion magazine, the statuesque Caroline Gault received a pair of Poppy Barley boots a few weeks ago and loves them. "I have extremely narrow size 12 feet and long legs, so I have problems with both width and length when it comes to boot (and shoe!) shopping", says Caroline, "With my Poppy Barley's, there is no baggy leather around the ankle, they make my feet look smaller because they curve to the arch of my foot, and they actually elongate the look of my legs because they are snug around my calf. I ordered The Classic Riding Boot, which will never go out of fashion. There's also something really special about wearing something one-of-a-kind in a world of mass manufacturing."

Caroline's boots, before and after

I had the chance to interview co-founder Kendall Barber (who is also the creator of the popular Edmonton lifestyle blog City and Dale), to discuss her exciting new venture.

Congratulations on the launch of Poppy Barley! Tell me a little bit about how your company came to fruition. 
While traveling in Bali, my sister Justine conceived the idea of bringing the made to measure footwear experience to anyone with access to a measuring tape and the internet. The first few months, we spent researching – talking to women, understanding the art of shoe-making and developing a business model. Once we knew we could execute the idea, we quit our jobs and put all our savings into the company (Justine even used her wedding money!).

Poppy Barley is the only online made-to-measure footwear company in North America, correct? This makes your business very unique!
Made to measure footwear companies exist but only in the functional sphere – for example there are companies that cater to equestrian riders, polo players and police officers. Poppy Barley is taking the made to measure footwear concept and applying it to fashion through a unique online retail concept. We found over 60% of women struggle to find boots that fit due to fit issues such as narrow feet, wide calves, high arches, long legs, etc. Poppy Barley makes it possible for women to own made to measure boots at an attainable price point.

What has the feedback been like so far?
We just launched! We are eagerly awaiting feedback from our customers. For many months we made boots for our “test models”. The models had a wide range of “fit issues” and we successfully made beautiful, impeccably well-fitting boots for many ladies. The biggest feedback to date is the request for more boot styles, custom design options and leather colors. We completely agree and will be expanding our collections and design options.

Who is your ideal customer?
Our ideal customer appreciates the quality of custom and understands the superior fit of made to measure boots. Many of our first customers are women who struggle to find boots (long legs, high arches, wide calves, narrow feet, etc). Once you’ve experienced a pair of boots made specifically for you – it’s hard to imagine wearing anything else.

Who actually makes the boots?
Finding the talent to craft our boots was very difficult! We have a boutique workshop in Mexico where artisans and cordwainers excel at the art of shoe-making.

How much can a Poppy Barley customer expect to pay for custom boots?
Our boots start at $450.

Do you ship internationally?
Yes! We ship anywhere in Canada or the USA (and hope to offer shipping to other countries soon!)

How long will it take for a customer to receive their boots?
Boots will arrive on a customer’s doorstep 4-6 weeks after ordering.

Where do you see Poppy Barley in 5 years?
Poppy Barley will revolutionize the way women buy footwear. We believe it’s possible for women to have perfect fitting shoes and boots, designed and crafted exactly to the style they envision in their head.  

Thanks Kendall!

If you're a woman who doesn't want to sacrifice comfort for style while shopping for boots, you'll definitely want to visit the Poppy Barley website here.

All pictures courtesy of Poppy Barley


Erika @ ~TiptoeButterfly~ said...

thanks for the intro - i'll keep them in mind!

Melanie Liliana said...

So amazing that they're from Edmonton!! and I was shocked when I saw the boot difference photo!! They're all so beautiful! xo

Closet Fashionista said...

Oh wow!! That is pretty awesome!! If I wasn't watching my spending I would have to try them out, haha :D

Amanda K said...

Oh man, this is amazing! I wish I hadn't completely blown my shoe budget for this winter already!

I always have troubles findin a good fit since my calves are too bad for standard sizes, but generally too small for wide boots, plus my foot isn't wide.

Maybe my BF can return whatever he bought me for xmas and get me a pair of these boots instead. :)


Sarah Colson said...

I love those! My friend has the green pair but she is tall (with wide calves). I have always wanted a pair of Wide calf boots but didn’t know if they’d fit or look good on me (I am short with BIG calves). Thanks for the suggestions!

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