Giving Tuesdays – Poppy Barley


Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Giving Tuesday was born and incubated at the 92nd Street Y and its Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact in New York City. Giving Tuesday is now an independent nonprofit and a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity

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This movement has inspired countless businesses to factor giving back as a major part of their brand. Here at Modern Mama, we would love to highlight this generosity by shining the spotlight on these exceptional companies. On the first Tuesday of every month, we will post a “Giving Tuesday” blog featuring a Canadian company that has made it their mission to give back. If you are a company that would like to be featured, or would like to nominate one, please contact me at

This month, we highlight Poppy Barley! Not only are they from Edmonton, they are creating beautiful shoes and bags, and are giving back in the most impactful ways to our planet and our people.

The Founders

From Edmonton, Alberta, sisters Justine and Kendall Barber searched for factories that shared their vision to re-think the footwear industry. Partnering with family-owned factories, Poppy Barley started producing sustainably-made footwear and accessories. Today, Poppy Barley is driven by the relentless pursuit to re-think luxury for people and the planet.

“We wanted to design boots, shoes and accessories for people like us—for people like you. People who care about comfort and style, but absolutely refuse to compromise their values of caring for the planet and people.”

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Behind the Name

In medieval England—when every village had a shoemaker and all shoes were made just for you—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.


The Mission

“We exist to re-think every step of the fashion industry to make it better — for our planet, for our people, and for our future.”

Certified B Corporation

  • Certified B Corporations have a triple bottom line of purpose, people and profit. This is embedded into the laws of our corporation and means we equally consider the impact on our employees and production partners, customers, community and the environment when making decisions.

Ethical Production

  • Poppy Barley only works with factories that meet our standards for ethical production.
  • Standards include Human Rights, Health and Safety, Equality, A Living Wage, Benefits and Secure Employement.
  • We certify our factories every two years.

Responsible Materials

  • A big part of Poppy Barley’s environmental impact comes from the materials we use.
  • We are committed to searching the globe to bring the most sustainable material options to you.
  • We strive for continual improvement and have a multi-year goal to use 100% A and B rated materials (plant-based leathers and LWG certified leather) by 2023.

Better Packaging

  • We reduced our packaging and use environmentally friendly materials for 90% of our packaging.

Made to Last

  • We design and craft products for maximum wear so that you can buy less and buy better.

People & Planet Reports

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PB Loves Mexico Scholarship Funds

  • Taking care of the people who make our products is one of our core responsibilities. We prioritize people by focusing on ethical production and our long-term relationships with factories.
  • Going a step further, we want to close the opportunity gap for the families of our factory workers.

Scholarship Fund

Our PB Heart Mexico Scholarship fund helps the children and grandchildren of the artisans we work with gain access to post-secondary. In Mexico, a university education is the most secure ticket into the middle class, yet university is unaffordable for most. In 2021, we will fund the post secondary dreams for four deserving individuals.

The Manuel Fund

Manuel is a very talented shoemaker. If you own a pair of Poppy Barley shoes, Manuel likely helped make them. In January 2020, Manuel had his leg amputated. Manuel’s life changed dramatically and without an income, his daughter was unable to attend university. The Poppy Barley community rallied around Manuel raising funds for a prosthetic leg, wheelchair, physiotherapy, and adaptations to make his home accessible. And we gave his daughter, Saira Abigail, a scholarship for university. Learn more about Manuel’s Story.


Black Friday Funds

Every November, we leverage the busiest shopping day of the year to do something remarkable for our communities. Our Black Friday Fund donates all net sale proceeds back into our communities.

Past partners include:

2021 – Water First

2020 – YWCA Edmonton and YW Calgary

2019 – The Alberta Mental Health Foundation

2019 – the Nature Conservancy of Canada

2018 – Lois Hole Hospital for Women

Poppy Barley has a paid volunteer policy allowing each full-time employee to volunteer in our communities up to 20 hours per year. We also organize annual PB volunteer days for everyone to actively give back to the community.



We partner with Soles4Souls® to find gently-worn shoes a new life. Soles4Souls® is a non-profit that lifts people out of poverty by creating jobs through the distribution of shoes around the world. Each pair of shoes is sorted, cleaned, repaired and delivered to those in need.


Diversity & Inclusion

We stand against discrimination and racism. All of our employees participate in training on anti-racism, inclusion and diversity.

We’re committed to fostering an environment where everyone, from any background, can connect, belong and grow. By courageously sharing our perspectives and encouraging others to do the same shapes our culture and makes it possible to rethink every step of the footwear industry.

We know that we can do better. Increasing diversity and representation within our company is a priority. Unlearning, learning and understanding bias is continuous work. This year, we’re committed to improving access to the fashion industry through mentorship to under representative groups.

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