The following following article ran in the August 1939 edition of the trade publication, China, Glass, and Lamps and details the early years of Chic Pottery:
Backed by determination, ideas often bear fruit. That is the situation of Dana K. Harvey and the Chic Pottery Company of Wellsville, Ohio. A little more than two years ago, Mr. Harvey had an idea that a modern line of small pottery specialties would have merchandising appeal. He started by himself and today he has a sales organization that covers the country.
Two years ago, all the operations of the Chic Pottery Co. were performed by Harvey alone. It is a different picture today with total sales in one day amounting to more than the first two months combined.
Dana Harvey had an idea that an attractive and quality line of novelties, especially animal figures, would find a wide sales appeal. Putting his effort and knowledge behind that idea, he has found a steadily increasing response.
In the Fall of 1937, Chic Pottery Co., Mr. Harvey recalls today, consisted of himself, six moulds, a bucket and a sponge. He made the molds by hand. With such sparse equipment he sought a place where he could make the figures and decorate and fire them. He found such a place in part of a former dinnerware pottery in Wellsville. Today, there are more than 2,000 moulds and the number increases as each week passes.
Harvey has found that there is a place in retailing for quality animal figures and small novelties made in the country by American workmen. And he is adding to the line an array of real miniatures. These small objects require patience in manufacturing, but those who know his story know that Harvey has patience. And he has instilled that quality into his co-workers in the expanding operations in Wellsville.
After he made a quantity of his wares, Mr. Harvey loaded them in his automobile and started out to sell them. His first customer he found in Pittsburgh and this customer today is his best single customer. Relations over the two years have been most harmonious and each month the fist customer purchases more than in the previous month. Sales were increased by selling from the automobile direct to stores. For some weeks, Harvey spent half his time making his wares and half the time selling them.
Soon the demand grew larger and Mr. Harvey was able to employ others. The business progressed steadily and from the East Liverpool-Pittsburgh area distribution of Chic wares spread into most of the country.
Feeling that he had a line well adapted to department store selling and one which department stores and china and glass shops would appreciate, Mr. Harvey brought his selling effort to a new high point with a display at the 1939 Pittsburgh Glass & Pottery Exhibit. Since then, most of his attention has been given to the development of new wares and supervision of the manufacturing process.
When he began his pottery venture on his own, Mr. Harvey was not without a long acquaintance with pottery making and selling. Pottery has been a major effort of various members of the family for many years. His grandfather, Isaac Harvey, was an early master pottery in East Liverpool and for a while was a partner of Isaac Knowles in the venture which lead eventually to one of the largest dinnerware pottery firms in the country.
It would be strange if a boy in East Liverpool did not gain some knowledge of pottery making. Most of the population worked in the potteries or in plants which supplied pottery materials. And to his knowledge of pottery, Mr. Harvey adds ability as designer.
That he knew what he was about is shown conclusively by the continued expansion of wares made by the Chic Pottery Co. The first wares sold readily and Mr. Harvey is understandably proud of the fact that virtually all of his early customers in the department store field continue to buy his wares.
It was not a question of producing his wares at the most cheaply. Mr. Harvey had an idea that wares well designed and nicely made and decorated would find a market in which price would not be the predominating factor. This has been proven, at least to his own satisfaction.
Small items, including the new miniatures, require care, skill and patience in order that they may be made properly. The designing has to be right and the manufacturing process calls for more handling and more attention to detail than is required for the larger more staple ware that can be procured rapidly in volume.
The range of sizes in Chic wares runs from the new miniatures where a dog measures 1 1/4 inches long by 5/8 of an inch in height to animal figures whose largest measurement is eight inches. Most of the wares are original in conception, especially in the matter of pose and decorative treatment. It has been Mr. Harvey's purpose to make pieces which would have their own appeal.