Friday, November 6, 2009

Pottery Barn Intervention

This post comes with the following disclaimer: While it is completely unintentional, Pottery Barn fans may inadvertantly be offended by my bluntness so I urge you to proceed with caution. And if you are a DIE HARD PB fan, do not go any further.

I decided to do an intervention after hearing far too many bloggers beat themselves up because they can't afford Pottery Barn prices. I've seen posts with inspiration pictures straight from the pages of the PB catalog followed by the self-depricating "this is MY on-a-tight-budget version", which, by the way, I ALWAYS like better. Your versions are real, personal and yes, beautiful!
So girls, girls, girls puh-lease don't take this the wrong way, but Pottery Barn is OVERRATED!!!! Sure their furniture is crisp and has "clean lines" (still haven't determined what that means) and yes, they have a nice assortment of linens and accessories. But at the end of the day, all you are paying for is the name.

If I've learned anything in the last few months since I started blogging, it's that most of us are on the same page when it comes to being frugal. We recycle, repurpose and reconfigure to save a buck where we can. We shop out of our own basements and attics to accessorize our thrift-store furnishings, use drop cloths from Home Depot to make window "mistreatments" and don't even get me started on our obsession with spray paint! Howeva, I understand the need/desire from time to time to splurge on a key piece. The one timeless piece that will withstand the true test of time. The old adage, you get what you pay for, is not lost on me. But why Pottery Barn? What is it about Pottery Barn that is so great?

I am a firm believer in fair and balanced journalism, so in keeping with that maxim I HAVE shopped at Pottery Barn myself, albeit the PB Outlet, so I do have a basic understanding of the wonderment that is Pottery Barn. And yes, just hearing the name evokes thoughts of style and comfort. But at the end of the day, all you are paying for is the name.

So here is the intervention part. And in keeping with true intervention form, I approach this as your friend, someone who is trying to help. I have only the best intentions at heart.

"You DESERVE better! You CAN find better! You SHOULD NOT pay ridiculously laughable, insanely over-the-top prices For.A.Name!!! It is not worth it!! You CAN find beautiful furniture/linens/accessories/lighting/rugs SOMEWHERE ELSE for a fraction of the price that is just as good! DO NOT PAY FOR A NAME!

I'm not going to be so bold as to tell you where to shop. My own home is filled with furniture that is mostly second hand, that has been acquired from either an auction, a thrift store, Craig's List or given to me by a family member or friend. But the best pieces in my home are the ones that are OLD. I mean, really really old. You can't compare the quality of today with that of days gone by. The pride of craftsmanship is not what it used to be. But you CAN find it! And for a reasonable price! Just look around. These blogs are filled with ideas of where to shop and how to get the most bang for your buck. That's where we have an advantage Ladies! We have eachother and that's better than any name I can think of ;)


Shelia said...

Hi Kim! Oh, I totally agree with you about PB! I receive their catalog and like the cleanness of the look - but it's not me. I'm a more traditional time and like the more olden look of furniture. I'm not into have to have that brand kind of gal. I believe each home is individual and if it looks just like a catalog - then it doesn't really look real to me. I'd rather see a little clutter and warmness in a home.
Be a sweetie,
shelia ;)

TRICIA @ The Zoo said...

Good morning, Kim.
First of all, let me say that I was unsure that I was in the right place here for a minute!! Seriously. I actually questioned myself for a moment. Everything that you have done to your site looks fabulous! It's very fresh. Sometimes a little freshening up is just what we need, right?! Even if it' doesn't come at a PB price. Tee hee. How was that for a segway?! ;)
I am one of those professed PB lovers! Love the catalogs. More than anything I love the feeling that their pages convey. Wanna hear a secret though? The only thing that I have EVER bought from PB directly was some freezy kids' cups. On clearance. $5.00 for 2. So while I adore PB, and Anthropology, and Restoration Hardware, that is not my real life. I would be very unhappy living in one of their catalog pages in real life. Having pieces that are old, and loved, and history-filled make me happy. About that you are absolutely correct.
But hey!! A girl can dream of a world that's completely relaxed, and CLEAN, and ORGANIZED all the time. IT's my Calgon, take me away! moment. haha.

Have a fantastic weekend, girlie.
I love your new photo. We can really see you now. ;)


Misti of Studio M Designs said...

I'm with Tricia...I had to do a double take at your new picture, read your bio, and make sure I was in the right place. LOL! However, I TOTALLY agree with you on the politics of PB. I love the store, love the catalog, but I know better than to purchase their products. I actually told myself that I would never buy new again, unless it is a sofa or chair. Any wood pieces will be found, or repurposed, for sure!

I miss hanging out with my bloggy friends, and I am SO out of the loop, but you look MAHVELOUS, and I am wondering if you have opened your store yet. Like I said, I'm so out of the loop these days!

Hope you have a fabulous weekend!
~Your soul sister, Misti

southerninspiration said...

Oh, I agree that personal style trumps a PB page out of the catalog anyday. They do have great looking stuff, but I am another one that sees that it is way overpriced!
Thanks for sharing,

Turley Times said...

I've never even been to a Pottery Barn, let alone owned something PB, and I've survived! Loved this post; we do get suckered into paying for a name brand. Not just with home decor...clothes, makeup etc. We don't realize that no one but ourselves cares or even notices what brand our stuff is most of the time!

Love your new layout!

Glenda/MidSouth said...

First - Like your new look!
I personally think PB & WS both are over rated/priced. I go to their outlets and on occasion buy, but it is always something that has been reduced to a reasonable price.
Have a great weekend.

Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

Girl the new you looks 5 lbs thinner ha ha!! I love your new look Kim...Now girl you know I don't do PB hey I don't do anything unless its over a 100 years old ha ha!!It was because of places like PB that I started collecting antique furniture because every thing I had before just fell apart and I wanted good workmanship and you can't get that with stamped out furniture pieces now days...My dream is to own a piece of Henry Belter one of these days sighs...oh well a girl can dream...Hope all is well on your side of the mountain my dear friend...Loved your post...oh I so remember on RMS if you didn't have PB you could forget it ha ha!! Hugs and smiles Gl♥ria


I think I've been in a PB ONCE!!! and don't think I bought anything. It was Many years ago.I'm a thrift store, estate, flea market, GARAGE SALE GAL and very PROUD of it!!!Plus I love knowing that I paid WAY less for something.
Everyone is entitled to their own thing...Mine is Thrift and Fun.
Happy Weekend.
Deb :)

Blondie's Journal said...


I agree with everything you have said in your post. I get the catalog and I get to about page 5, and I think "What am I doing??" The stuff is nice but it is not for the average person. But if you also take a look at other high end furniture shops, they are no different...PB has one outstanding designing and advertising team.

I could no more afford a real Louis Vuitton purse than I could afford a PB sofa. But there are people who can and will whip out their wallets for these things.

Are we thrifters smarter?. I don't know. But I do know we are more creative and frugal and find simple pleasure in putting our own stamp on things. Your post has expressed that perfectly and I hope a lot of bloggers read this.

Thanks Kim!! Love your new blog design! :-)


Country Dreaming said...

I LOVE it! You have hit the nail on the head. I love to repurpose things, there is a wonderful challenge in it. Listen to her ladies!

Your new changes are great too!


Karen @ Elsie Eleanor Designs said...

Hey Kim!
Love the new look of your blog and your new photo! Very nice!

I love this post. I agree, you are paying for a name. I am learning from you and some of the other bloggers to hit the thrift stores and garage sales. My neighbor and I are going to a huge flea market in our area tomorrow...hope we have some luck there!

Laura said...

Miss Kim- I am on your team.
Having never shopped at Pottery Barn because their things are not on the side of the roads I haunt, I have never missed it.

Isn't it amazing how certain things get a stamp of approval and others don't?

Your photo looks great and your blog is amazing!

You go girl!


Anonymous said...

Hi Kim! Nice to meet you. Thanks for coming by today and following. Love what I've read of your posts and I'm going to follow you as well! BTW - totally in agreement on the PB thing. :-) enjoy the rest of your weekend...

pk @ Room Remix

Stacey said...

Well I confess, I love Pottery Barn and do have some of their furniture. My kitchen table/chairs and my husbands office furniture is from there. I did look far and wide though and thought that the prices I paid at that moment weren't too out of line for what we got. However, the accessory items are so neat but too freakin' expensive! We can copy the look at Target or Hobby Lobby in the blink of an eye. I'm not crafty like you are but I am definitely on a budget and can create the looks easily if I try.

So Amen to you Sister!

Stacey said...

Great picture of you on your new bloggy page too!

Amy {The Red Chair Blog} said...

I think the PB catalogs are creative and inspirational, but the product quality doesn't merit the price. I'm with you--old pieces are going to be better made any day.

Jen R. said...

I am with you sister!

Kathy's Red Door Welcome said...

Well, I'm one of your fellow bloggers that works for PB. I also love repurposing and time worn loved objects and if it weren't for the huge discount I get as an employee I wouldn't be able to afford to shop there at all. Actually, I still can't afford it, but I do appreciate the design aethetic that PB offers, and it is still an awesome company to work for. I grew up in a home with your philosophy and I appreciate it.

Janean said...

I like Pottery Barn, but buy from their outlet store -- very, very reasonable. Agree that we also can sometimes make or find other alternatives and stores. I so enjoy when I see someone MAKE something that's normally $$$. Yay!

Sharlotte said...

Amen sister!

Ldy ~~ Dy said...

Ha! I enjoy looking at their table settings and bedding. But that's it! I can say I have never bought anything from PB...but I have walked away with a tablescape idea and used it in my home. So...I am with you! Hugs!

Miss Mustard Seed said...

Amen, sister! The only think I own from Pottery Barn is a gift that my mom didn't want. I like looking at the catalog as a I would a magazine (for inspiration), but I would never drop that much money on something. It's nice to see a reality check out there. :)

Queenie said...

Hey Kim!
What a great are just too cute girlfriend! Love that new photo of you are beautiful! Now, as for Pottery Barn...shhh don't tell anyone, but I've never even seen a catalog or a it must be a grossly expensive place! LOL! I think that with most stores you do pay for the name more than anything else...not really necessary, so I am in complete agreement with you...great post!
Hope you are having a great week! Thanks for visiting me this week!
I'll be bustin' a move on over to your shop now...I will be watching for you to launch it on your blog too! What fun!
Big Hugs,

Grandma Nina said...

Hi Kim,
I completely agree with you on the PB. We live in a small town and I have no Pottery Barn within 100+ miles, which is fine because it's just not my style. I love to decorate with antiques that I've gotten good deals on or have been handed down in the family. I only buy new on a major piece like bed or couch.
Also saw your Etsy store and looks great and you've had several sales already. Good for you! I was so excited with just one sale! And as I said, I love vintage, so I'll be back to browse again.

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

I couldn't agree with you more! Thanks for your kind words today on my tablescape -- I certainly appreciate your visit!