In Their Habitat: Jacqueline Tupper

Words by Ženija Esmits
Pictures by Helena McMurdo

Photo: Helena McMurdo

Photo: Helena McMurdo

It was a perfect day on South Granville. A perfect day that is, for trying on shoes.

With an enormous grin on her face, a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Jacqueline happily greets us. Not quite out of breath having just arrived to the store after her monthly guest spot on BT Breakfast, "This is my only pair of black shoes - I haven't had time to change out of them." Jacqueline says, looking at her feet. A black patent pump with metallic studs on the toes look back up at her. This is hardly an average shoe and this is hardly your average shoe store. We sat down with The Lady of Lords

"I've seen it all and smelled it all." says Jacqueline. Right. Obviously these are occupational hazards. A business where you're half podiatrist half stylist, tact and taste go hand in foot. This is how we know Jacqueline Tupper. Shoe guru and neighborhood staple.

But before Lord's, came a whole mess of other stuff - from beers to DeBeers.

Over a decade ago, Jacqueline transferred to UBC from Alberta to pursue her studies. An education that was a far cry from the science of shoes (her term ). Geochemistry: science yes, shoes not so much. She planted herself on Hemlock and 10th and continued with her schooling - and if there's one thing we know about new residents of the South Granville, it's that all roads lead to Barney's. Jacqueline became friendly with the Barney's staff (as is want to happen) and it wasn't long before she was coerced into picking up a shift or three. Working three months on, three months off in mining camps up north, the Barney's job made sense. 

Time wore on, money was saved and one day as Jacqueline was tying the vintage Givenchy scarf (courtesy of Grandma Lord) around her head in preparation for a hard day in the drilling camp, she was struck with a feeling that she may be more inclined to a career in fashion than a career in a lab coat. As well as an innate need to express her personal style, she says she wasn't excited about telling people what she did for a living. Diamonds. Meh, amiright ladies? 

Not fitting in with the Geochemistry set was one thing, but Jacqueline yearned to have her own shop - a dream she's had for years. A dream that no amount of bedazzling goggles, tie-dying lab coats and wrapping her head in Givenchy scarves could satisfy. Lord's however was not the original plan. The name Lord's and extending the family business was something that just happened after realizing it may just be the perfect fit (like a shoe, get it). Discussions with her mother, the then reighning Lord's Queen led Jacqueline to open the Vancouver destination for shoes. 

Almost 10 years later and three generations deep Lord's Shoes happily resides at 2932 Granville St. It had a rocky (read: wet) start, but has flourished in SG, keeping its heritage but infused with Jacqueline's personality

"We had been open six weeks and there was a flood upstairs, we had customers helping us haul stock out of the store." Talk about a loyal following. One can only imagine the numbers in the Lord's Fan Club now. South Granville started out as Jacqueline's home and has turned into so much more. Like any resident she has her favorite restaurant (Barney's, obvi) and her favorite place in the hood. 

"I'll just start walking and for years I've ended up sitting on the bench by the retirement home on 16th past Burrard, I don't even know how I get there." 

But beyond Barney's and benches, when asked what drew her to the neighborhood, Jacqueline talks about the strong independent business presence of South Granville, in particular the strong female entrepreneurs. And lucky for us, among those ambitious and clever women is The Lady of Lord's.