Harper and I share a love of the open road, the intricacies of textiles, the big sky under which this mysterious world blooms. We met 8 years ago because we had to - so many people asked us each if we knew the other that we became curious and bold in reaching out and after a drink or two or three, we were working together, side by side. Harper already had a business designing textiles - simple quirky beautiful things, handmade by artisans. Proud Mary wholesales to large retailers like Madewell and Urban Outfitters and Harper ventures into Mali and Mexico and Morocco to design and oversee the production.
But for a brief two years, Harper Poe also threw her enormous talents into working by my side as I developed what would become Ibu - my first colleague and friend in business. When Proud Mary took off into a full-time job, Harper left our common desk but not our friendship, and we’ve watched each other grow as we walk similar but utterly unique paths down the road.
So that, even today, Harper brings us some of our favorite things that wrap the feet. The whole of Team Ibu loves these raffia ankle wraps like nobody’s business. On any day, you’ll find one of us at the shop in these incredibly comfortable chic affairs. After several seasons, we’ve ended up at last with an Ibu rainbow of warm: sunflower yellow, clementine orange, hot pink...and natural, to cool things down.
Since 2013, Harper’s been working with 10-16 women outside of Marrakech to make these lovely shoes. From masses of raffia, women weave the fibers into a smooth finish that doesn’t scratch one bit, weaving a pair of shoes a day in their homes. The soles are then completed by a family run workshop in Marrakech.
We’re delighted that Proud Mary can make these custom Ibu colors as well as new designs that Harper is conjuring. Ali MacGraw requested a Clementine shade for her ali4ibu collection, adding a happy splash of orange to a peaceful periwinkle and white palette. I learned to love the yellow when I wore it with quiet gray - like squeezing lemon juice on vegetables. Everything tastes better! And hot pink...what can I say? Cherry picking summertime fun.
Here’s to the work of Proud Mary and Harper Poe and the women of Morocco, coloring for all of us the magical spell of summer.
All the best,
Susan Hull Walker