Pottery Barn on a budget - Part 1

This is the 1st part of a discussion on POTTERY BARN...

I just LOVE knocking off copying "reinterpreting" Pottery Barn for a fraction of the cost.

It's liberating....

It's my "stand" against the establishment....

As an ex-retail buyer who did business with several of the manufacturers that make some of Pottery Barn's merchandise, I know that they often mark their stuff up 300%.  Yep!  How do they sleep at night? (Umm, fat & happy would be my guess!)

I'll admit I'm a PB junkie.  I devour their catalogs & drool over each page.  Still, I can't understand actually buying anything (unless it's on final clearance) knowing what I know about their pricing.  But lots of people DO buy from PB, and often.  I get a catalog from PB every week practically.  They're obviously selling a lot of merchandise to fund such a huge marketing budget!

One of my favorite copies inspired projects were these curtains...

"Inspired" by these...

PB's very PROUD price?  $150 a pair.  My cost?  $45 a pair.  Not bad, eh?

I would like to spend the rest of this post talking about PB FURNITURE.  You may or may not know this, but often it is made in the same factories overseas as other retailers, like Wal-Mart and Target.  Yep, that's right!  PB is manufactured right alongside their mass competitors!  And sometimes the items are identical, only the label is different! Case in point, check out JCPenney and Wal-Mart's new Canopy line of furniture.  Hmmm, some of the pieces eerily resemble PB, yes?

One of the best places to get the PB look at a fraction of the cost is Ikea

If you don't have Ikea, find the one nearest you and plan a road trip.  And you might want to take a U-Haul...a big one!

Here are some of PB's bestsellers in furniture and a cheaper version I found at Ikea.  Were they made in the same factory?  Maybe not, but DARN they look close. 


PB Basic Grand Slipcovered Sofa $1899  and Ikea's Ektorp Slipcovered Sofa $399.  Can you spot the PB sofa?

Yep, the one on the left is PB.  That Ikea sofa is looking pretty good, right?

Price difference?  $1500!


PB Basic Sectional $2799                      Ikea Ektorp Sectional $799

A whopping $2000 price difference!

Pottery Barn Aaron Dining Chair $159        Ikea Ingolf Chair $59.99

Price difference? $99!  And when you're buying multiple chairs that can really add up.

Is PB's better looking?  Yes, admittedly so, but $99 better?  Hmmmm.....

Now one thing I always check is the construction, because if you're comparing hardwood to particle board, that's just really not fair, is it?

In the case of this X-Back chair, PB's version is made of kiln dried hardwood and Ikea's version is made of rubberwood (a hardwood from the para rubber tree, which is grown in Asia). 

PB Aris Pedestal Table                            Ikea Liatorp Pedestal Table
Extends to 66x45"  $799                         Extends to 61x43 $249

Sure the PB table is a little bigger, but are those few inches worth an extra $550?  The PB table is constructed of veneers over MDF and the Ikea table is birch.  Both have handpainted white finishes.

PB Logan Media System $2449              Ikea Liatorp Media System $1329

A difference of $1120!  I don't know about you, but I like the style of the Ikea system better!

Check back for tomorrow's post about Pottery Barn accents & accessories that YOU COULD  MAKE for a fraction of the cost.  Several fellow bloggers have done it, and I'll include links to their tutorials.

Sssshhhh, it's our secret!


Linda said...

Thanks for the update about PB...I'm like you...it must be on sale at a deep discount. I also was in the retail business 20 years ago(fashion) and once you have seen the huge mark up's, it's sooooo hard to buy without a discount.


Kendall at Finesse Your Nest said...

Linda -- Oh, I knew you and I just "clicked". What did you do in fashion? Own a business? I was a buyer for Foley's (now Macy's) and then Garden Ridge (home decor store). I sure do miss it, but the travel was absolutely insane with little kids.

sweetpicklesandchocolate said...

I hope Pottery Barn doesn't find your blog and send you some "hush" money with all that profit they're making!
Ikea rocks! I got my farmhouse sink, oak counter tops and firside book cases from there and couln'c be happier!
Keep up the good work scoping things out

sweetpicklesandchocolate said...

Honeybeez is a brand new shop that opened here in Garner NC. Owned by 3 women. They sell only handmade and have several awesome vendors. I wish they had a shopping website I could send you a link to.

Kendall at Finesse Your Nest said...

Dena -- Ikea DOES rock! I absolutely love it and really don't mind putting together the furniture when it's SO cheap!
Maybe you'll have to put the pressure on your little store to open an Etsy store! Speaking of, do YOU have an Etsy shop? You should!

design_aholic said...

Wow Kendall- great post! I know I've seen a lot of IKEA items that resemble the PB versions, but it's great to see them all side by side. And, come to think of it, I know I've also seen many items at PB (which I also LOVE still) at places like Target, etc. They slap a different label on it, and mark it up 300% and call it a day. I love PB clearance though. :)

Megan said...

I bought the same exact black PB chairs from Target -- with free shipping -- for $59. I love PB catalogs also -- but can't bring myself to spend that kind of money. Thanks for the heads up about looking elsewhere for basically the same stuff.

michelle@somedaycrafts said...

Go IKEA!!!

Kendall at Finesse Your Nest said...

I would marry IKEA if it were possible! (:

Jeannine said...

fyi, i just found this blog...
she is a carpenter that makes patterns of furniture inspirted by PB, Land of Nod, West Elm, just to name a few. They are all on her blog, along with pictures of pieces she and other followers made with her patters - best part - all the patterns are free, they seem to be pretty simple and save a bunch of dough!!! Just thought I would share!

Kendall at Finesse Your Nest said...

Hi Jeannine! I had another blog friend turn me on to that website as well. It's REALLY cool, if you are handy. I posted about it in Part 2 of my PB discussion. Thanks for the info though!

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