() is a high-end American consumer retail company that sells kitchenwares, furniture and linens, as well as other housewares and home furnishings, along with a variety of specialty foods, soaps and lotions. Its international corporate headquarters are in San Francisco
The company operates 560 retail stores (2005) in the United States
under a portfolio of brands, including 255 Williams-Sonoma, 180 Pottery Barn
and 90 Pottery Barn Kids
stores. Other subsidiary brands include Williams-Sonoma Home, West Elm
, Pottery Barn Bed & Bath and PBteen. The company reported revenue for fiscal year 2005 of more than (U.S.) $3.539 billion and claimed more than 7,700 full-time employees.
Williams-Sonoma was founded in 1956 by Charles E. Williams
, selling professional and restaurant-quality kitchenwares for home use. Chuck Williams was one of the titans of the American food revolution. He had a tough childhood made even more so by the great depression. By the time he was a teenager he was on his own working his way through high school at a California date farm. During WWII he repaired war planes in East Africa and India. In 1953 took his first trip to France. He quickly fell in love with French kitchenware such as copper cookware, and is quoted as saying "I knew this was something that wasn't found in America, but thought people would want." Soon after, he formulated a plan to import French cookware into America. He settled... Read More