Pottery Barn

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Pottery Barn
IndustryHome furnishing
Founded1949; 72 years ago (1949)
FoundersPaul Secon, Morris Secon
Key people
Marta Benson, President[1]
ParentWilliams-Sonoma, Inc.

Pottery Barn is an American upscale home furnishing store chain and e-commerce company,[2] with retail stores in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Australia. Pottery Barn is a wholly owned subsidiary of Williams-Sonoma, Inc.

The company is headquartered in San Francisco, California. Pottery Barn also operates several specialty stores such as Pottery Barn Kids and Pottery Barn Teen. It has three retail catalogues: the traditional Pottery Barn catalogue; Pottery Barn Bed + Bath to focus on its bed and bath lines; and one for outdoor furniture.[3]

Early history[edit]

The Pottery Barn was co-founded in 1949 by Paul Secon and his brother Morris in West Chelsea, Manhattan. Paul discovered three barns full of pottery from the factory of Glidden Parker in Alfred, New York, who had stored extras and seconds up the road from the business.[4] The Secon brothers built their chain up to seven stores. Paul sold his share in 1966 and Morris sold his to a pair of outside partners in 1968.[5] The new owner expanded the chain to 13 stores before selling it to The Gap in 1984.

The company was acquired by Williams-Sonoma, Inc. in 1985. Growth continued until the Great Recession.[6] Its mail-order catalog was first published in 1987. In 1999, the company introduced Pottery Barn Kids as a premium children's home furnishing and accessories brand.[7] By 2000, the company had launched an e-commerce site for quick ordering process.[8]

Pottery Barn Teen, the first home retailer to focus on teenagers, was launched in 2003. The first Pottery Barn Teen store opened in Georgia in 2009, as well as in New York City and Chicago. The store has a sub-brand Pottery Barn Dorm for young people starting college life.[9]

Later history[edit]

The Pottery Barn store in Beverly Hills, California

In 2017, the company introduced an augmented reality app for iOS that allowed users to virtually place Pottery Barn products into a room and save room design ideas.[10] It also announced PB Apartment, a small-space furnishings line, for millennials.[11]

In 2018, Pottery Barn Kids partnered with John Lewis which marked the first appearance of the brand in the United Kingdom. Its shop-in-shops featured furniture and accessories for nurseries.[12] Ireland became the first European country to hold the franchise for Pottery Barn Kids in 2019.[7] Pottery Barn Teens partnered with Aquafil on the Spring 2020 collection "Watercolor Dots" rug, which uses regenerated nylon made from waste gathered in the ocean and other bodies of water.[13]

In popular culture[edit]

Pottery Barn is referenced a number of times in Friends, for example when Rachel buys furniture for Phoebe's apartment (which she is staying in at the time), and claims it's all authentically old furniture, rather than being from Pottery Barn.[14] Another example is in Seinfeld, Kramer talks with Jerry about how he is receiving too many catalogs from Pottery Barn. He saves the collected catalogs, takes them, and throws them into the store.[citation needed] Sheldon Cooper references it often in The Big Bang Theory. A Pottery Barn retail store is seen situated next to Felix Unger's Manhattan F.U. Enterprises office/studio in The Odd Couple's first season in 1970.[15] Pottery Barn is referenced in the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen, as a location where the title character works. He informs another character that he can get her and her family a discount in "overpriced home décor."[16] In the season 3 episode of the American family sitcom Boy Meets World titled "What I Meant to Say", Corey Matthews confesses to his girlfriend, Topanga Lawrence, that he loves her. Eric Matthews, Corey's older brother, then under social pressure, tells his girlfriend, Christie, that he loves her as well. This leads Christie to take Eric on a trip to Pottery Barn, which Eric laments. While at Pottery Barn, Eric and Christie buy a ceramic cat and napkin holders.[17][18]

The brand's "Found" collection sells vintage items from around the world.[19] The company has partnered on collections with a number of pop cultural brands such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, Frozen, Thomas & Friends, Fantastic Beasts, and Friends.[20]


  1. ^ Garcia, Tonya (17 March 2017). "Pottery Barn downsizes to attract younger customers living in small spaces".
  2. ^ "West Elm, Pottery Barn drive Williams-Sonoma's strong revenue growth in Q3". Furniture Today. 2019-11-22. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  3. ^ Romano, Catherine (2018-12-13). "Start Buying Furniture the Millennial Way—or Risk Missing Out". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  4. ^ Miller, Stephen. "Paul Secon, 91, Founded Pottery Barn". The Sun. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  5. ^ Hevesi, Dennis (2007-03-08). "Paul Secon, 91, Who Helped Found Pottery Barn Chain, Dies". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  6. ^ Post, Sarah Halzack | The Washington (May 28, 2017). "Pottery Barn's big problem: Your tiny apartment".
  7. ^ a b Pollock, Sean. "Starry homeware giant Williams‑Sonoma brings Pottery Barn Kids to Arnotts". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  8. ^ "Pottery Barn Builds Its Online Home". DMNews.com. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  9. ^ Johnson, Jenna (2011-08-19). "Stores offering designer dorm gear for the college-bound". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-11-10.
  10. ^ "Williams-Sonoma launches AR iOS app for Pottery Barn - Retail Business Review". www.retail-business-review.com. Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  11. ^ Keller, Hadley. "A Smart Furniture Line for Apartment Dwellers". Architectural Digest. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  12. ^ "Pottery Barn Kids bringing wholesale business to the UK". Retail Dive. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  13. ^ "Pottery Barn Teen, Aquafil partner for a new sustainable rug". Furniture Today. 2019-12-30. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  14. ^ Bright, Kevin (2000-01-06), The One with the Apothecary Table, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, retrieved 2017-12-08
  15. ^ "The Odd Couple" Oscar, the Model (TV Episode 1970), retrieved 2017-12-08
  16. ^ Kearse, Kerri (8 October 2019). "The Real-Life Story That Inspired Dear Evan Hansen, What Will Change in the London Run, and More From New York Comic Con". Playbill. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  17. ^ "Disney+ | Video Player". www.disneyplus.com. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  18. ^ What I Meant to Say, retrieved 2020-07-28
  19. ^ Weinstein, Emily (2011-10-26). "All That Authenticity May Be Getting Old". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  20. ^ Plante, Stephie Grob (2019-07-12). "Pottery Barn is releasing a Friends collection for the show's 25th anniversary". Vox. Retrieved 2020-04-30.