Where Is Pottery Barn Furniture Made When pondering the enduring names in brands that have gained our trust over time, who comes to mind? The familiar giants like Ford or Coca-Cola likely surface, representing the pinnacle of companies that have successfully navigated changing consumer preferences and flourished across the years. Could you believe that Pottery Barn belongs in this prestigious league? From its modest origins in 1940s New York to its global triumph, Pottery Barn’s journey reads like a true rags-to-riches saga. Its triumph is rooted in its unwavering dedication to serving the needs of the customer.
“I challenge my designers with this question:
‘Would you take this piece home or give it as a gift to your closest friend?'” shared Celia Tejada, Pottery Barn’s Senior Vice President for Design and Product Development, in an interview with Fast Company. “If they hesitate, I tell them, ‘Dispose of it. Don’t even bother.’ It needs to resonate emotionally.” This philosophy is why only the most luxurious, timeless, and aesthetically pleasing home decor items grace the shelves at Pottery Barn. But the store’s offerings go beyond just plush white towels and classic table runners. Here unfolds the untold narrative of Pottery Barn.
A Legacy Nearly a Century Old In 1950, merely 17 years after the Great Depression, while other budding national brands like Circuit City and Cutco were opening their debut retail outlets, Pottery Barn was established in Manhattan, New York. As recounted in an interview with The New York Sun, brothers Paul and Morris Secon launched their enterprise in Manhattan, initially focusing on decorative pottery and then transitioning to European furniture. Their modest pottery venture thrived, eventually expanding to encompass four brick-and-mortar storefronts by 1963—two locations in Manhattan, one in Philadelphia, and another in Boston.
When the business expanded to encompass seven branches
Paul Secon devised a savvy strategy: he created and published the inaugural Pottery Barn catalog (via EmilMilan). This catalog enabled customers to access designer products at affordable prices. After decades of dedication, the brothers sold their small business to multimillion-dollar companies in the mid-1980s. Fast-forward to 2022, and Pottery Barn celebrated its 73rd anniversary.
The Name Speaks Volumes In 1949, the Secon brothers stumbled upon three rural barns laden with secondhand pottery from the now-defunct 1950s stoneware company, Glidden Parker. Recognizing an opportunity, they seized upon these treasures and launched their business, as chronicled by The New York Times. The Secon brothers’ astute decision to resell these hand-me-down pieces, even those slightly damaged, tapped into an unmet demand for affordable, charming secondhand goods.
The moniker they chose was straightforward and honest, much like their business model—Pottery Barn. Their vision manifested as they had envisioned: humble in its approach yet poised to become a prominent player in the world of modern, high-quality furniture and home decor.
Founders of Musical Acumen Raised by Russian-immigrant parents who owned a thriving bakery in Philadelphia, the Secon brothers’ upbringing fostered a deep appreciation for music. Both brothers demonstrated remarkable musical talent, leading to their notable accomplishments in the field. Morris Secon, born in 1923, embarked on a musical journey as a trumpet player at the age of 10. He later switched to the French horn and pursued studies under renowned horn players like Arthur Geithe, who also taught him to sing. Morris Secon became an integral part of the Rochester Philharmonic.
Paul Secon, born in 1916
exhibited a fascination with multiple instruments, including the trumpet, piano, oboe, and flute (via The New York Sun). He eventually ventured into composing, with one of his songs, “My O’Darlin’ My O’Lovely My O’Brien,” recorded by Rosemary Clooney. Paul’s career included roles as a critic for the Boston Evening Transcript and a reporter for Billboard, famed for its music charts. His influence even extended to his son, who penned and performed a rap song in 1995.