Pottery Barn Reviews

Updated October 15, 2014
Updated October 15, 2014
258 Reviews
2.9
258 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Pottery Barn President Laura J. Alber
Laura J. Alber
98 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great discount on some nice merchandise in all WS brands, even catalog purchases (in 26 reviews)

  • The environment is super nice, product is easy to stand behind & the 40% employee discount is awesome (in 24 reviews)


Cons
  • Store Managers are treated with such disrespect by upper Management (in 20 reviews)

  • low pay, creates competition even when pay is not on commission (in 18 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    The "Mantra" of "People First" of this company no longer exists.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Assistant Manager
    Former Employee - Assistant Manager

    I worked at Pottery Barn full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great discount even though now it has changed (another thing taken away from the associates so that may be really a "Con". Fairly flexible with giving time off when needed. Wonderful team with a willingness to pitch in.

    Cons

    Too much expecation is put on the associates and setting standards that are sure to make the associates fail.. There is a lot of burnout. Hours are based on entire staffing including those who go on in home appointments leaving managers understaffed in the stores to service the customers properly. It is no longer humanly poosible to give "World Class Service" the way it shoudl be and was. Very sad to see this component of what Pottery Barn used to be known for being so diluted as well as the "People First" culture virtually kicked to the wayside. Used to be a great place to work for but not anymore.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The original CEO believed that if you take care of your staff, well then your staff will take care of you and do what you need to be done in order to be successful. What the original culture of "People First" was really about worked. The new leadership in place now need to revisit that philosophy and read "Howard's Rules" on a daily basis, most especially #2 and #4. Perhaps Ms. Alber has forgotten that aspect of the business that Mr. Lester worked so hard to instill into the company. He was a man of great vision. Mis. Alber has lost sight of that vision. Yes, you want to make the shareholders happy and grow and be financially successful but if the people who work for you aren't happy they won't do a good job.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    A truly great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior District Manager
    Current Employee - Senior District Manager

    I have been working at Pottery Barn full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    The reason I have worked for this organization for so many years is the talent, the service (both internally and externally), and the desire for excellence in all that our company does. I have the honor of working with, what I think, are the absolute best teams in retail. From our sales and stock teams, to our design teams, to our leadership teams, our field organization is comprised with talented, passionate, dedicated individuals. We are led by an Executive team and supported by a Corporate team that is extremely innovative, supportive and relentless in their pursuit of excellence in service, in merchandising, and ultimately in our financial performance. This is not an organization for transient, short term thinkers. You must be open to direct feedback, be innovative at both a micro and macro level, have the ability to connect short term reasoning to long-term results, and be truly committed to the organization.

    Cons

    Technology is an opportunity for our organization. While our leadership team has acknowledged this fact, we do have some fairly large outages that will need to be addressed in the coming months/years to ensure we continue to support teams in offering the absolute best service possible.

    While our furniture demand is extremely exciting, our supply has struggled to keep up while maintaining the timeliness to the guest that we strive to deliver. On a good note, this has allowed our organization to hire additional headcount within our supply chain; we do have some catching up to do to ensure we stay competitive.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please keep asking what teams need. We appreciate your openness and willingness to listen. The more you ask, the more you will hear and therefore the better off we will be. Continue to be very strategic with resource allocation. With our business trend continuing to evolve, it will be essential that we continue to think differently on how and why resources are allocated the way they are. Finally, as the size of our organization grows, it will be imperative that we come up with creative ways to ensure all Associates are informed of the great things happening across all brands and across all functions. We have so much to be proud of both internally and externally. We need to ensure we are communicating those milestones and celebrating with our Associates.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Wonderful company to build a career with

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - District Manager
    Current Employee - District Manager

    I have been working at Pottery Barn full-time

    Pros

    I get to work with and for amazing people. We work really hard, mentally and physically, but we have a great time and are always learning! There is truly never a dull moment. My corporate partners are great to work with and are a wonderful resource to me. We are encouraged to think of new ways to grow our business and really embrace the shopkeeper mentality. The field is always asked for ideas and our opinions are valued.

    Cons

    Lots to balance, but I am never bored. As we continue to add services in our stores (which is great), we are having to figure out exactly how to balance our payroll store by store. Definitely a learning curve but it is in our DNA to problem solve,so I know we will get through this pain point.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Ok

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Pottery Barn full-time

    Pros

    you get to Work around pretty things

    Cons

    low pay for physical work

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    I enjoy working for Pottery Barn, every single day!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Pottery Barn full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    People 1st Culture, a place where you can be an entreprenaur, a place you can bring your best self every day, a place where our customers inspires us! We have amazing people that choose to work for our Brand! The product, the astetic, our beautiful stores!

    Cons

    The workload can be much payroll structure supports.
    The technology needs to be updated.
    We need to be better at delivering our product to our customers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Find a way to really know when we disappoint a customer and find a way to resolv or offer the product in a time frame the customer expects. Allow stores to have the full assortment of product in one easy way to order for the customer.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    Wonderful Coworkers, Fabulous Discount, Poor Management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Edina, MN
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Edina, MN

    I have been working at Pottery Barn part-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Let's not kid ourselves, the best part about working at Pottery Barn is the amazing 40% discount on non-sale and promotional merchandise. It used to be a straight 40% across the board, but that changed to 20% on sale merchandise just a month after I started. Bummer, but oh well. The discount also applies at Williams-Sonoma (only 20% on electrics though), PB Kids, PB Teen, West Elm, and Mark & Graham. I also really love my coworkers - it's like a family. There is always something to do to pass the time, and someone to chat with when you're doing mundane tasks like stuffing pillows or folding towels. .

    Cons

    As good as the pros are at this company, the cons unfortunately outweigh them. When I was hired, I received little to no training. No one helped me set up direct deposit or taught me how to use the registers. I have been there for five months now and still don't have a name tag. Every manager has a different focus when they're in charge which leads to a lot of confusion - some focus on sales goals, others do not. Sales associates are supposed to keep tabs on customers they spend more than a half hour with in store and enter them in the system as a possible lead for the design team, but there is never any accountability or follow-through on management's part to ensure this is happening or that staff is trained properly to do so. I had to learn pretty much everything on the job. Computer systems are slow and outdated, and there is a lot of redundancy in the processes used to look up items in stock.

    My particular store is perpetually understaffed due to payroll concerns. After talking to many customers who have complained to me in person, I'm forced to conclude that the store is caught in a vicious cycle that management can't seem to solve. Fewer employees on the floor equals fewer customers helped. Fewer customers helped equals fewer purchases, which leads to cutting employee hours. Often a customer will wander for nearly an hour (it's a big store) before finding someone to help him/her. Having come from a company where customer service was of the utmost importance, this is shocking and unacceptable to me. Yet, when I brought a particular customer's legitimate complaint to senior management, the reply was a very sarcastic, "I hope she [the customer] didn't lose sleep over it."

    Sales associates are also not trained on how to sell furniture. Problematic, especially when a sale is on and multiple guests are looking at large purchases. This training has been promised for months, but nothing ever comes of it. For now, furniture sales belong to the Design Studio Specialists, some of whom are very territorial with their department. The moment they sniff out a sales associate talking to a customer about furniture, they pounce (sometimes very rudely) on the conversation and take over. This is especially difficult as all associates have hourly sales goals that are unrealistic without being able to sell furniture.

    Well, I'll leave it there for now. I gave Pottery Barn the old college try, and have to say I disapprove. Any future retail job I take will be for a company that provides better customer service and comprehensive training.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Provide structured training to new hires. Update the old, slow computers and POS systems. Place a higher emphasis on customer service, and hire managers who truly care about the customers and won't trash-talk them behind their backs for legitimate complaints. Adequately staff stores on busy days.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Great Ambiance, Room for advancement, Love it

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Holliday Coordinator in Novi, MI
    Current Employee - Holliday Coordinator in Novi, MI

    I have been working at Pottery Barn part-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Love the product and my coworkers
    Everybody is willing to help
    Flexible Schedule

    Cons

    Working week end, lots of pressure, you have to be active for hours during the day

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More meetings are required so you can listen to employees concern
    Internal promotion

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  9.  

    Stock Assoc

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Stock Associate
    Former Employee - Stock Associate

    I worked at Pottery Barn full-time

    Pros

    Great hours, easy to ask for time off if needed it, management great to work with

    Cons

    Not enough room for raises/advancement. Over priced ,merchandise for the quality of product selling.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    Best Retailer in the World!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior District Manager
    Current Employee - Senior District Manager

    I have been working at Pottery Barn full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Outstanding leadership from the top down, best associates in retail!!! Rich culture and tremendous room for growth for humble leaders that strive to do right for store teams and customers. Great pay and benefits for store associates and managers. The design services program couples associates passion for interior design with the customers love for our products. Fast paced, service focused environment that invests in its people!!!

    Cons

    Complexity of supply chain consumes a lot of operating cost,

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 7 people found this helpful  

    Unrealistic Expectations. Remote/Uncaring Upper Management. Hypocritical Values

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manager
    Current Employee - Manager

    I have been working at Pottery Barn full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    At the heart of the company are many well meaning, hard working, and over performing sales associates and store based field leadership teams. The discount is generous. The benefits comparable to other retailers. The product is quality and the name brand lends itself to a strong resume.

    Cons

    The unrealistic expectations of the company are made on the backs of the Exempt Managers. The lack of payroll to accomplish ever increasing tasks, operations, and high level visual projects would be laughable if it were not truly tragic to see these hard working individual sacrifice personal time, vacation time, and sick time all on the hope of gaining the approval of a distant uncaring DM/RVP/SVP. To ask for help or to openly question the lack of payroll is to be seen as a troublemaker and unable to " manage time properly." Teams are exhausted. Frustrated. Demoralized. This cultural shift starts at the top and works it's way through to the DM level. The store level managers have no voice and no advocate. They are pawns of upper management and badgered by associates and customers.

    Metrics, levers, clienteling, events, and promos have taken the place of true customer service. If you think In Home and In Store appointments is compensation for excellent world class service you are mistaken. If you want that program to truly excel - give the payroll needed to ensure the store can still be run effectively. Two associates in the store to stock, clean, complete visual moves, participate in any of a number of conference calls, complete audits, take trucks, process shipment, the list is endless and two people can not get it done, and still go out on a 2 hour in home to sell a $3000 sofa. And again, to mention this to a DM or RVP is to be seen as a substandard leader.

    Your stock rooms are filled and unsafe. Your stores are dusty and dirty. Your teams are stretched thin and rapidly leaving. But you still think you are a premier retailer. You are really a joke. Paying a Design Specialist $13 an hour when they make over $1 million in sales for your company a year is a joke and a travesty. It is far from People First. Your 1.5-2% yearly increase is a slap in the face for all the hard work your managers do; especially when corporate executives receive a 130% increase and enormous bonuses - it stinks of elitism and misconduct.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Any advice given would fall on deaf ears. It is easier to paint the individuals who are leaving and speaking out as under performers and troublemaker than to truly look in the mirror and see the opportunity that this company has for improvement.

    Only way to ensure a better work environment would be to restructure the way the stores are run. Give recourses and payroll that truly meet the demands of the business. Allow the teams to process shipment, create inspirational visuals, and engage in world class service and clienteling - but compensate the store with payroll and tools that allow them to do it successfully.

    If you want high performing, skilled, and motivated managers and associates - then give payroll for training and continued education. So far - all that has been done is lip service. Your webinars are a joke. Your training material is a waste of paper if there is no time and money to execute them.

    But again…this review is easier to be seen as "just one more" disillusioned, burned out, manager.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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