So Canadian Eh? : Jan from Poppytalk

It is truly an honour to interview my latest guest. She is a design blog icon, a pioneer in the blog world.


Jan from Poppytalk

She is

Jan's blog, Poppytalk was one of the first blogs I started reading. I first heard about Poppytalk in Canadian House and Home several year ago, and the idea of a blog seemed so foreign to me. Little did I know, a few years later I was inspired to start one! 

I have met Jan on a few occasions and despite not having had a lot of time to talk to her, she strikes me as an incredibly talented and intelligent woman, one who I would love to get to know better. Despite her blog being named as one of the top 7 design blogs in the world by Times Online, Jan is one of the most humble and modest women I have met. Her blog is such an amazing read, full of design, hand crafted, and visual inspiration. Her blog is described as, "A Canadian {Vancouver area} blog, dedicated to supporting the beautiful, the handmade and the decayed." I couldn't agree more. It is a beautifully put together and well curated online catalogue of inspiration, one you can read and get lost in for hours.

Jan, alongside her husband, have not only created a world renowned blog but also an online marketplace called Poppytalk Handmade, where they showcase artisans creations. It is a coveted spot to be featured on their site. 

The following photos provided by Jan, demonstrate the earthy aesthetic her blog evokes. It was truly a thrill to be able to get to know the brain and beauty behind Poppytalk.

Tell us a bit about yourself, your education, and your background? Where you always creating?

I’ve always created and was inspired by a talented family of makers, designers and musicians. I was lucky enough to go back to school after my maternity leave and study Communication Design at Emily Carr.

What was the impetus behind starting “Poppytalk” before blogging became so mainstream?

Poppytalk really wasn’t supposed to become anything more than a place to catalogue inspiration while I was studying. And then eventually it just evolved. I really enjoyed finding beautiful things, and somehow it just all happened rather organically.

I love the name “Poppytalk”; tell my readers what your blog is all about?

Thanks – Poppytalk was actually not the intended name of the blog, rather the name I wanted, “Poppy” was already taken on blogger way back then when I first started “circa 2005”. Poppy was a girl’s name I really liked at the time and I added the “talk” part just because I’d be talking – (haha) and sort of an indirect spoof on Poppycock. I called the blog Poppy for many years, and finally just gave up the fight (correcting everyone) and gave in to Poppytalk. Now we like it because it sort of is one of those names people remember easily.

The blog has evolved over the years and we hope it’s a voice for our community. The community although large (we have contributors from around the world) – is an amazing one and we love being part of a bigger movement and honoured to be able to help facilitate and participate.

As a seasoned blogger, what tips can you share for beginner and novice bloggers?

Hmmm... I automatically want to say – be a good blog friend (eg comment on other blogs,etc.) but one tip I think that never really gets covered in these types of interviews is time zones. I would recommend looking into who your readership is and schedule blog posts around their time zones. Most of my readers are from the U.S. (the east coast) and living in the west coast, it’s 9am here and everyone back east is already having lunch. I think it’s too late by then to start a blog post almost (or at least your first one); you’ll miss half your traffic by then. From way early on, I’ve always posted before I go to bed – to also catch our European readers first, then the east and finally the west coast. In the morning I do all the social networking with respect to my posts – or in more detail then. (Maybe that’s a good tip)?

Is blogging your “fulltime” work or are you employed elsewhere?

It is! And actually we figured out just recently we’re really doing 3 people’s jobs in hours.

What are some things that surprised you, something you didn’t expect when you started blogging?

It’s a very small world.

What is your future plan for “Poppytalk”? Where do you see you and your blog in a few years?

You know, it’s a bit up in the air – we toss around ideas but nothing hugely concrete as of yet. We’re so busy it’s hard to find time to really focus on that properly at the moment.

You are a wife and mother as well, how to do you balance your blogging and life?

I basically don’t (if I’m being honest). It’s just like if you’re a farmer – or anyone who has their own business. You just sort of have to go with the flow. One thing I do that does help is I try (most of the time) to get up early before everyone (that helps a bit) and I can really focus on things then; and again in the evening when things are quieter. But the day hours sort of push and pull me and there’s no real schedule/routine online then.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I like to spend time with my family, beachcomb, browse magazines, DIY, craft, bake and of course, decorate!

Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us?

Good question. That we were in a band first before all of this blogging world (and family life) took over?

As one of the original and first Canadian blogs, how do you find we Canadians differ {or maybe we don’t} on the world design/arts/crafts scene? Do you think what we create, how we approach design and art stands out?

It’s well known we’re a polite bunch and so with that maybe we don’t promote ourselves like U.S. artists or even bloggers do – that’s different. It’s hard to get the right balance I think with things like that. Things have changed so much though since I started blogging. The community wasn’t as competitive, it was more supportive, people weren’t online to make money yet really. Things have really changed. Canada’s part in that? I love our community, it seems authentic, real and supportive. I think it’s nice in that way. I love what some larger companies are doing now too with artists. For instance, The Bay’s Creative Director, Arren Williams recently commissioned three artists to create limited edition tea towels; I really like what I see in that respect. So I think with the right people behind things like that the Canadian design community could really grow and become something really amazing.

Thank-you, thank-you Jan for fitting in this interview and for giving me your time. I am thrilled to have you visit my humble blog. You are an inspiration to me!

XO Barbara


  1. Thank you Barbara, they were great questions! And thanks for such kind words. : )


  2. Wonderful interview girls! Thanks for sharing a sneak peek into your everyday, Jan! Have a great weekend :)

  3. Great interview! Poppytalk is one of my favorite blogs also (one of the first I visited too) so this was a wonderful interview to read. I emailed Jan once, back when I had even less of a clue as to what I was doing (if that's possible), and she was so gracious and so kind, taking time email back the smallest of the "little blogs". I really respected that. She has a fabulous eye and posts the most inspiring projects/ideas. A real treat in my dashboard to see the latest post.

  4. Thanks for the interview Barb! As always you get the questions answered we need and want to know!
    Have a great weekend!

  5. Great interview! I'm really glad to have had the opportunity to meet Jan in person, as she is so genuine and down to earth.

  6. Great interview Barb, loved learning a little more about Jan. Poppytalk was one of the very first blogs I read waaaay back in 2006. I still love it just as much now as back then. Thanks, Jan! :)

  7. That's such a good tip about the time zone posting, I'd never really thought about it before, but it makes a lot of sense!

  8. Yes, times have changed and more people are online to make money but with people like Barb at the top of the Canadian design community offering guidance and support, Canadians are well positioned to promote their work with confidence. "Quiet pride" aside, Barb is a great champion for a growing, competitive yet friendly marketplace. Thank-you Barb!

  9. Great interview! It was fun learning a little more about the person behind one of my most favorite blogs. I know something about Jan that you (probably) don't know - she has a thing for pomegranates.

  10. What a fabulous collaboration!!! Barb doing her magic, asking the perfect questions and Jan offering up her knowledge and experience for us to see into the life of one of the best blogs ever. Nice work ladies!

  11. Brava Barbara, great to read more about Poppytalk and yes her tip about timing is important!

  12. Great interview as always Barb! I love Poppytalk, so it was so nice to read this interview and learn more about Jan! I hope you are having a wonderful long weekend! Angie xo

  13. I love Poppytalk, and was thrilled to read this interview. Jan is such an inspiration. Thank you, Barbara!!!

  14. Fun to read all your comments, thank you for your kind words and for reading Canadian content! Thanks again Barbara!

    And Boo's Mom - yes that is so true !!! Love them, now if only they would grow here!

  15. Great interview Barbara!

  16. Beautiful interview Barbara! Jan seems so authentic and sincere....and of course hard working!
    It's been wonderful learning more about her! Cheers!


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