Poppy Barley set to hit the NFL
Local e-commerce footwear company approached by two NFL cheer teams
Jim Kerr is Venture Publishing's Associate Director of Digital Initiatives. Get in touch with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Jim Kerr
A couple of Edmonton’s rising stars are headed to the National Football League.
Justine and Kendall Barber first burst onto the scene in early 2012 with Poppy Barley, an online made-to-measure manufacturer of women’s footwear. As that business continues to grow, the sisters are now expanding into the NFL by supplying the cheer teams of two franchises with their popular boots.
“When they emailed us at first, we were like, ‘Is it football season? Who are the Rams? Who are the Raiders?’ We weren’t really up to speed on the NFL situation,” Justine Barber told CBC Edmonton. “We never envisioned Poppy Barley would be making boots for cheerleaders.”
Since its launch, and especially since an April 2013 garment factory collapse in Bangladesh that left 1,000 workers dead, the company has built a strong reputation as a maker of high-quality, ethically produced shoes that have a clear point of origin. In an interview with Alberta Venture last September, Justine Barber emphasized the importance of that aspect of their business, saying “I think that’s something consumers increasingly care about and pay for.”
Poppy Barley’s shoes are produced in two small studios in León, Mexico, by 17 artisans who make an average of $17,280 per year. As well, each of the six to 10 components needed to make their shoes is sourced individually from within 36 kilometres of each other. The company also meets with suppliers in person every few months and tours their factories to make sure everything is clean and safe.
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