Thursday, January 7, 2010

I ♡ Pottery Barn

\

I co-owned a clothing manufacturing business for 7 years, that was started from nothing. It taught me EVERYTHING I know about running a company, financial management, marketing on a shoestring... When I decided to do something different I did not want to work for a big company. The best part of being an entrepreneur is the freedom. No one to say when you have to show up for work. No one telling you how to do things. There are many downsides to running your own business, but these aspects are a HUGE upside.

My husband - an attorney - told me that it would behoove me to work for a big company. Just to show that I could "play in the sandbox" with others. No one would ever question my credentials if I had the approval of a big company. I was randomly offered a freelance project with the President of Pottery Barn Kids. The turnaround was really fast, and the project was intense. But after owning your own business, this was like a vacation. She and I hit it off... and immediately she wanted me to come on board (thanks, Sandra).

About two months later I started working for Pottery Barn Kids in Visual Merchandising. My department did everything visual for our stores - photoshoots, store display, store marketing, gift registry, promotions, store architecture, signage, etc. I had a big, wonderful team who worked really hard for me and the aforementioned Sandra put a lot of trust in me.



My husband was offered an amazing career in Boston; we moved when our son was 6 months old for this opportunity and to be near our family. I freelance, both as a graphic designer and an interior designer, utilizing the skills that were honed from these last two jobs. People are always so interested to hear about working for such a well-branded company as Pottery Barn.

Even though I was only there for a third of the time that I had my business, the brand name of Pottery Barn outweighs all of that experience. I have to thank my husband for that one.

You might think that products from big box retailers are not as special as those found in your Design Center. But this isn't necessarily true. The product designers at PBK were unbelievable - go Allison - and many of the crafters were ex-Martha Stewart employees. Even though what you BUY may be made in China, I can assure you that its inspiration was from an antique, or a furniture artisan's design, or a dedicated crafter. And then sent to China so that you could afford it - or find it.



Today as I work in interior design, I still look to Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, Williams Sonoma Home. Because I know intrinsically that those products were created by an incredibly talented (although underpaid) group.

Which brings me to the point of this post. Don't be afraid to tell your interior designer that you like Pottery Barn. Or Restoration Hardware. Or any of the catalogs that are selling you a wonderfully comfortable lifestyle. So it's not custom and doesn't cost $10K. Good for you - you just saved $7K on that couch. And for those of us with small children who inevitably decide that cream cheese and jelly looks much better smeared all over white matelasse... the Pottery Barn version is even better.

Your interior designer can sign up for the trade discount offered by many catalogs, and then purchase products for you (so email if you need something). I myself am partial to the following: Sundance Catalog, Serena and Lily, Restoration Hardware, Dash and Albert, Velocity Art & Design and of course, Pottery Barn.

Don't be afraid to love them too.


Sandra is now the President of Pottery Barn, so the above images are under her direction. I think she's doing an amazing job, don't you?

20 comments:

Hill Country House Girl said...

I LOVE this post. I think good design is good design. Some people, however, can be such snobs and it really bugs me. I guess I don't like snobbery in any arena. Anyway, I love your story and your details about how things are done at companies such as Pottery Barn. I just discovered Serena and Lily yesterday and am crazy about their things - thank you!!

Hill Country House Girl said...

Sorry - me again. I think I sounded a little harsh in that first comment. I actually loved reading about the process you went through in your life and work, as well the choices you made regarding being on your own versus working for a company. Also enjoyed reading about the process of design and manufacturing. So,thank you again for a great post.

Natalie said...

I cannot stop flipping through the current catalog with Farmhouse Style. That stuff is amazing. What a cool job you had!

Profile said...

Hill Country House Girl - I didn't think you were being harsh at all. I think there is the sense among designers that these companies are "lesser." Since I worked for PB, I hope to give a little bit of perspective. The product designers are scouring the Paris flea markets, just like Martha Stewart does. They have advanced degrees in design from some of the best art schools. I watched one crafter painstakingly put together the felt advent calendars that are so popular for PBK. We all worked hard, and we were an experienced team with a lot on our plate. Now I will admit, watching an antique English oar being cut in half to be sent to China for reproduction was very, very sad. But I wouldn't have been able to afford a $1200 oar (even with the generous discount!).

Oh... and I got an email from Sandra. She's really happy we're all in love with her farmhouse style. I wish her continued success!

kayce hughes said...

I couldn't agree more. I have been very inspired with the new slew of spring catalogues.

Riviera View said...

Hi M&H,

This season's Farmhouse Style collection is really strong. I, too worked for PB. I learned a lot about merchandising and overall design during my five year stint with the company. I'd have to agree that most of their products, especially the upholstery pieces, are just as good as higher end items.

squeebury said...

Thanks so much for this post. I work (volunteer) for an art museum and sometimes I see the same snobbery in interior design that I sometimes see in the art world. I, for one, am so appreciative to Pottery Barn for bringing good design at a price point that makes it accessible to those of us who don't make half a million dollars annually, and am so glad that you are posting again. I really enjoy your blog!

mitchjkaufman said...

Hello~happy new year............................................................

Rie said...

I love Pottery Barn too! The trick is just to mix new with old. I just bought their new long blue pillow for my couch. I love it. i wish you would post more to your blog... your style is so much in line with my own. I'd love for you to see my kitchen reveal on my blog. It's modern country with a swedish flair: http://www.homeandharmony.blogspot.com/

Alice said...

i like turtles

Rie said...

Just wanted to tell you that I posted a picture today of my living room with the Pottery Barn pillow I mentioned earlier. I just love it so much. You'll notice one of their new baskets from their newest collection on top of the armiore too.

結婚生子 said...

More haste, less speed.........................................

Tracy said...

Sandra is now the President of Pottery Barn, so the above images are under her direction. I think she's doing an amazing job, don't you?
Oh yes, oh yes I do!

快一點 said...

文章優,圖片美,就連回文都很有意思~~~ ........................................

雞腿飯 said...

要持續更新下去喲!!期待~~..................................................

家瑩 said...

I do like ur article~!!!..................................................

佩昭彥怡 said...

良言一句三冬暖,惡語傷人六月寒。 ..................................................

筱婷筱婷 said...

KK777一夜激情聊天live show成人自拍貼圖自慰少婦自拍裸體圖片台灣色情成人網站情人視訊網情色留言板視訊美女免費視訊聊天室限制級極度震撼情色論壇色情特區自拍裸女貼圖潮吹性影片觀賞小穴情色片a圖片sex story性愛影片美女做愛成人色情網站性愛圖片成人情色貼圖全裸寫真集圖片走光圖女生陰毛自慰影片色情av1007成人色情聊天室女生自慰裸體照成人影音聊天台灣色情網站色情片打手槍情色天堂成人視訊聊天免費情色網站av網超性感辣妹激突成人論壇情色視訊聊天鹹濕成人網站av成人論壇免費美女視訊

PorshaCoghlan梁子珠 said...

great msg for me, thanks a lot dude˙﹏˙

Antique Therapy said...

Not sure if your still checking your blog but FYI I am doing Brimfield in a week and was wondering if you ever got that site up that you called me about. I will be at Shelton field in B-57 if your around! Hope to see you soon,

Keri