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At Vermont Woods Studios, we believe that businesses have a responsibility to make the world a better place–not only on Earth week, but all the time. We realize that the planet is precious, and that both businesses and consumers have the power to protect it. The five companies we are highlighting in this blog are ones we believe do their best to protect our planet, both socially and environmentally. From organic and eco-friendly materials, to trade cycles that benefit indigenous populations, we are happy to support the unique missions of these Earth friendly companies:

1. Boll & Branch: Boll & Branch describes their products as “linens with a mission.” Their 300-thread-count sheets & cable knit throws are made exclusively from Global Organic Textile Standard-certified organic cotton, and made in fair-trade farms and factories in India. They ensure that the factory conditions are safe, and workers are paid a living wage. Boll & Branch uses only low impact, fiber reactive dyes that do not contain any known toxins or heavy metals. Their linens are beautiful, luxurious, and most importantly, eco-friendly!

2. Yellow Leaf Hammocks: Every Yellow Leaf Hammock is 100% handwoven by “hill-tribe artisans” in rural northern Thailand. The opportunity to weave hammocks and earn a good living wage is transformative for the weavers and their families, many of whom previously worked in back breaking slash and burn agriculture. Instead of going to school, many children would end up working in the fields alongside their parents, stuck in a cycle of poverty. Yellow Leaf Hammocks empowers these people through job creation– giving them the tools they need to escape poverty and join the middle class.

3. Badger: Badger is a small, family-owned company nestled on the banks of the Ashuelot River in rural Gilsum, New Hampshire. They blend organic plant extracts, oils, butters and beeswax to make eco-friendly healing balms, lip balms, mineral sunscreens, and other personal care products. Everything they make is healthy, and promoting environmental responsibility is one of their core principals. Plus, they use only USDA Certified Organic ingredients in their products!

4. Deans Beans: Deans Beans encourages you to look in your kitchen and ask yourself, “where do your beans come from?” They believe in a progressive trade system where social and environmental consciousness plays an integral part in every step of the cycle (from production and distribution, from the farmer to the consumer). They believe in building a better future through business and hope that other coffee companies follow their lead. They only purchase their beans from small farm cooperatives, largely made up of indigenous people working hard to maintain their culture and lifestyle. Dean, the company’s founder, has a long history of activism for indigenous rights, and it’s one of the reasons he started the company in the first place.  They believe that the quality of their coffee includes the quality of respect for the environment and for their southern partners in the coffee world.

5. Seventh Generation: Seventh Generation is a Burlington, Vermont based maker of environmentally friendly laundry detergent, trash bags, and diapers. They took their name from an Iroquiois law that says, “in our every deliberation we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.” To make good on that pledge, Seventh Generation sells a line of products that includes biodegradable, vegetable-based cleaning products, chlorine-free tampons and paper towels and natural lotion baby wipes. They even have an employee bonus program that awards workers who figure out ways to make their products even more sustainable!

We hope that these companies have inspired you to take a look around your home and think about the products you bring into it. Where are they coming from? Who makes them? What are the consequences? Who am I supporting? These are all important things to consider when buying consciously and ethically. We invite you to join us in promoting some of your own favorite Earth friendly companies! You can leave a link and what you love about them in the comments section, or write to us on Facebook or on Twitter.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Just when we thought that we had the social media scene under wraps, another great social platform arises from the online abyss! This site is called Polyvore! Polyvore is an online platform where you can shop, search for items you love, and build sets! Here are a few sets that people have created using our furniture (click on the photo to see which piece is ours):

 

Organic Modern

 

cali flashback

 

Orange Break !!!

 

Whether its earthy, natural “sets” or quirky, colorful modern sets like the one seen above… Polyvore users seem to be loving our furniture! Want to build a set of your own using Vermont Woods Studios items? Visit our Polyvore page!

Stay tuned for a more comprehensive explanation of Polyvore next week, as well as how to use it for your own personal room planner!

For now, take some time to explore the site for yourself. What do you think about Polyvore? Let us know in the comments section or on Facebook!

 


This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Loft Bedroom Furniture Collection

Our  Loft bedroom furniture collection is proof that simple is beautiful. It’s clean, modern design utilizes simple and straight lines to highlight the natural beauty of the wood. The crisp right angles and straight lines make this bedroom set ideal for practically any contemporary bedroom style.

The centerpiece of the Loft Collection is the ultra minimalist bed. It has quite unique legs, which draws attention to it but in a way that doesnt distract from the rest of the room. It’s bold and beautiful but not in your face. The case pieces are expertly crafted and unassuming. They are versatile enough to transform as your aesthetic tastes change.

Why we love the Loft Bedroom Furniture Collection:

-The Minimalist bed reduces clutter in your bedroom.

-It’s unique geometric look stands out from traditional bedroom furniture

-It’s perfect for both husband and wife

-It’s extremely versatile

-It’s better for the environment

-It’s reasonably priced

-It’s guaranteed for life

-It’s made in Vermont and supports the local woodworking community

-It’s just plain beautiful

The Loft bedroom furniture collection is expertly crafted in Vermont using sustainably harvested solid wood. Each piece is custom crafted to ensure the highest standard of quality. An eco-friendly, hand applied oil finish tops off the artistry of this design. If you like it as much as we do, why not make it your own? Shop it online or give us a call at 888-390-5571/contact us with your questions.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

This post is one in a series about Vermont Woods Studios’ mission of rainforest conservation and our support of Bolivian environmentalists dedicated to reforestation and eco tourism in the AmazonPart 1Part 2.

The Serere Reserve | Madidi | Bolivian Amazon Rainfdorest
The view of the Serere Reserve from Casa Grande, where we shared meals, plans and stories with the amazing people of Madidi Travel who are using eco tourism to fund conservation in the Bolivian Amazon.

The Amazon Rainforest & A Vermont Furniture Store

Where is the link?  Well, in the time it takes to read this series of blogs, an area of the Amazon rainforest larger than 200 football fields will have been destroyed.   Can you believe that?  Much rainforest destruction is done illegally, to feed the US markets for furniture and flooring.  Hmm… Vermont makes wood furniture.  With our 200 year tradition of  using local, sustainably harvested wood, we can provide an excellent alternative to illegal furniture imports.  At Vermont Woods Studios our mission is to raise awareness about the rainforest and persuade consumers to avoid illegal wood products (made from rare tropical woods like mahogany, teak and ipe) in favor of sustainable furniture and flooring made from North American woods (like cherry, maple, oak and walnut).

Massive tree in the Serere Reserve | Madidi | Bolivian Amazon
Riley is on the left, taking a break from his volunteer work to explore the rainforest with me and Severo, our knowledgeable (and entertaining) guide.

Finding A Way To Help

At VWS we’ve supported rainforest conservation since Day 1.  But quite honestly, donating our profits to reforestation NGOs (impressive and legitimate, as they are) operating 5000 miles away was not very satisfying.  We wanted to be more closely involved.  We wanted to see (and be a part of) the progress being made through our contributions.

My last post was about how my son Riley happened to end up volunteering for the legendary conservationist, Rosamaria Ruiz, of Madidi Travel in the Serere Reserve of the Bolivian Amazon Rainforest.  Perfect!  Kendall (my other son) and I went down to see Riley and offer to help Ms Ruiz with her efforts in reforestation and “conservation through eco tourism”.

Yellow Monkeys | Amazon Rainforest | Serere Reserve | Bolivia | Madidi
This troop of Yellow Monkeys crashed through the rainforest right in front of the Casa Grande where we were eating lunch. They seemed as curious and unafraid of us as we were of them.

Many Faces of Rainforest Destruction

After flying over huge expanses of the Amazon and trekking through the Serere Reserve, I realized there are many different rainforest destruction problems and approaches to solving them.  Some areas have simply been clear cut, the worst possible fate.  But “luckily” the Serere Reserve was ravaged by illegal loggers who were just interested in large, high value trees. For example, I did not see a single mahogany tree other than the saplings planted by Madidi Travel.  Cedar was also completely wiped out.  The good news is that, otherwise the Serere Reserve is still intact, extraordinarily beautiful & teaming with wildlife.

It’s an amazing place, filled with exotic birds, monkeys (we saw troops of howlers, yellow monkeys, spider monkeys, capuchins and a nocturnal monkey all in one day) fish and other wildlife.  Serere is one of the most bio-diverse places on the planet– it’s a nature lover’s dream.  Rosamaria says that wildlife is so abundant here because the animals feel safe.

Massive Rainforest Tree | Madidi | Serere
Although illegal loggers cleaned out the huge, high value trees from Madidi Travel’s Serere Reserve, there are still plenty of massive 200 and 300+ year old trees that will amaze you.

Conservation Through Eco Tourism

Last week I learned there’s more to rainforest conservation than planting trees.  In places where the rainforest is still standing, the goal is to protect what’s left and restore what’s been stolen.  Illegal loggers are a constant threat so rigorous patrolling and enforcement are always required.  That takes money.  Rosamaria Ruiz is showing rainforest communities around the world how to raise that money through eco tourism.  Devoted wildlife and nature lovers pay to experience the wonder of the rainforest, thus providing jobs for indigenous people to conserve and defend it.

If you love being up close and personal with nature, check out Madidi Travel and their eco tourism opportunities at the Serere Reserve.  It’s the last little corner of the Garden of Eden.  Get down there soon. The rainforest continues to disappear at an alarming rate.  The clock is ticking.

Amazon Rainforest Trip
On my way to the Bolivian Amazon,  I’m holding the National Geographic article I read 15 years ago, about Rosa Maria Ruiz and her rainforest conservation work in Madidi National Park.  It influenced me to create Vermont Woods Studios.  On the right, I’m in the Amazon, helping Ms Ruiz’s team members who are re-planting mahogany trees.  It was a good feeling!

 

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

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We just received the furniture today and are over the moon. We were so nervous about ordering online sight unseen but the dresser and nightstands are beautiful. Many thanks and please thanks the craftsman as well.” -V. Defrancis  

If you are feeling unsure about ordering furniture sight unseen, you aren’t the only one. Many of our customers take major leaps of faith when shopping for furniture online, and we’re always happy to see these nervous customers satisfied in the end. We get countless emails from our customers expressing gratitude for a quality product and great service, and we are proud to be a company people can really trust. We know that purchasing quality furniture is an investment, and we want our customers to feel confident that their investment is a wise one. If you are shopping around between different furniture companies, all offering furniture sight unseen, there are several things you should look for to make sure you can really trust the product and the company behind it.

5 Ways to Know if you can Trust an Online Furniture Company:

1. Ability to visit and see the quality of the furniture in person. Even if you can’t to go to the showroom and see the furniture yourself for distance reasons, having a showroom is a sign of confidence that the quality of furniture is most likely consistent with what the company promises online.

2. Transparency about the people behind the company. Can you meet the people who work there–from the owners to the customer service members? Can you atleast read and learn about them on the company website? Learning about the people who work at the company is a great way to get to know the company you are working with. If a company doesn’t tell you about who they are, how can you be sure they are people you can trust? You want to know that real people are there to handle your order and guide you through the process.

3. Quality testimonials. Check the website for a testimonials page, this should give you an accurate picture of the quality of their service and their product. Sites like sitejabber are a good resource as well.

4. Accessibility. Does the company offer you many different ways to reach and interact with their customer service team? Is it easy to contact them if a problem were to arise? Are they quick to respond? A trustworthy company won’t make it hard for you to reach them by phone, live chat, email, or in person.

5.  Lifetime guarantee. A company that is worthy of your trust is one that will stand by their product 100%. A lifetime guarantee should give you the confidence that what you are buying is top quality and crafted with care.

What else do you look for when shopping online for furniture sight unseen? Let us know in the comments!

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.