Today I got a chance to discover a new, and now local brand in the footwear and accessories game.
Working many years in retail, managing the footwear section in a department store and overseeing boutique shops with a wide selection of footwear; I am fairly well versed in makes and brand. So am always happy to learn of a good one to add to my knowledge arsenal. Especially if it suits my personal needs; being the most comfortable, while maintaining a fashionable aesthetic. Therefore I cannot believe I went so long without learning of this Edmonton, Alberta native brand established in 2012. With locations in Edmonton and Calgary, plus previous successful pop ups in Toronto, Winnipeg, and Saskatchewan.
So what better a time to discover more about Poppy Barely than at their Vancouver West 4th grand opening? Where their bright and spacious boutique will be a great addition to the neighbourhood. And in turn the Kitsilano area will serve them well as a stretch that is already well known for their one of a kind fashion shoppes with unique finds.
Their name originates from “medieval England, when every village had a shoemaker and all shoes were made just for the individual”. Where “cobblers used poppy seeds and barleycorns as the units of measurement for shoemaking. One barleycorn was equal to 1/3 inch and four poppy seeds equaled one barleycorn.” (As taken from their website)
Today we would meet the founders of Poppy Barely, sisters Justine and Kendall Barber who launched the label because they couldn’t find anything they themselves liked. Their goal is to design boots, shoes and accessories for people like themselves. “People who care about comfort and style, but absolutely refuse to compromise their values of caring for the planet and people.” (Quote taken from the sisters, from the website). where they produce sustainably-made footwear and accessories with the “Certified B Corporation designation, meaning they meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.”#luxuryforthepeopleandplanet
Rest assured the costs are reasonable as they do things differently to offer fair prices on high-quality products, “working with the best factories with the best materials to create luxury, sustainable goods, while skipping the traditional markups”.
They design shoes that make 80% of your life that can bring you from day to night. And having and living with planter fasciitis for the last 5 months of my life now, I can contest that this was definitely the case for their shoes. With this ailment I am only able to walk in heels and Poppy Barely had some of the most comfortable I have slid into. Plus the most fashionable with their newest designer coming to them with experience from Gravity Pope and Joe Fresh.
But I digress, back to our grand opening celebrations. Where guests we were given the opportunity to explore the space and try on their full selection of footwear, ultimately picking up a pair for ourselves.
As my retail marketing experience tells me, the styles/shoes featured at the front of the store represent what is new and what they are focusing on, promotion wise. And today it was a collection of sandals, which would be their first foray into occasion. A collection of strappy in bright spring colours and formal metallic that are wedding ready. And already Poppy Barely is offering more colour than any other local footwear brand.
And they plan on continuing this trend with new releases every 2-3 weeks. So basically expect something new from them once a month.
From there I went on to try a a pair of their slide on booties, after one of the clerks over heard my planter plight and informed me that she too struggles with the same and has found remedy in her pair of Poppy Barley boots. These were a pair of modest heels with a pointed toe that she has been wearing to help rid her of this nuisance and pain. I was sold.
Although, eventually I would settle on a pair of functional clogs. I have never owned such a shoe and found it comfortable with its wooden base and supple leather covering. Between the classic black and a patterned neutral I went with the latter. I thought the muted mix of white, brown, purple, and sage green checker boxes an easy one to match. Ideal with lighter colours and flowing dresses this would be, should be hotter summer season. Plus, it would be a work appropriate, comfortable shoe that I could wear to my travel-heavy work environment.
And what is a shoe store without accessories. Here they have a slew of fine leather purses, wallets, bags, and backpacks in a variety of colours and styles.
We were particularly interested in the functional backpacks made from 60% cactus leaves. What an innovation from using animal products to plants. To have the material looking like leather, but with a naturally harder more wrinkled feel and none of the spell (which admittedly I do love). These cactus leather goods will be a popular in the Vancouver market. Where Vancouverites walk around a lot more, are naturally more interested in vegan products, and have a need for waterproof goods.
In short this is a great local footwear and accessories line I can get behind and have already fallen in love with after first try. I cannot wait to see what other designs will be launched for the upcoming season. And to return and pick up one of the coloured strappy sandals and booties I tried on above, which I am now regret not doing so when I was there. Perhaps with my new first cheque as I continue to build up my wardrobe for my new job, where I am sure Poppy Barley will have a large appearance in.
2144 W 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC, V6K 1N6