She is a CEO who brakes for salamanders, has bottle-fed rescued squirrels and spent her vacation building furniture for a rural school in Costa Rica. She believes in the future and in the people who will build it. A former distance-learning professor at Tulane University with a master’s in environmental health & safety, she turned an interest in forest conservation and endangered species into a growing, local business. She delivers rainforest statistics at breakneck speed, but knows how to slow down and appreciate the beauty of a newly finished piece of heirloom furniture.
How much do you love Christmas shopping? Are you someone who keeps an eye open all year long for just the right gift for each person on your list? Or do you wait till the last minute because you’d rather have a root canal than shop? Probably you’re somewhere in between but either way I submit to you that everyone loves to receive a beautiful, handcrafted gift for the holidays. So why not start (or finish) your holiday shopping at the 1st Annual Vernon Artisan Market? It’s a new and exciting local shopping event organized by artists and craftspeople throughout the town of Vernon.
Handmade Christmas Gifts
Many of the artisans will be set up in the Vernon Town Hall and others are inviting you into their studios to see how their handmade gifts are crafted. You’ll find a map of the studio tour on the Vernon town website. Artists include potter Bronna Zlochiver, jeweller/painter/graphic designer Margaret Shipman, floral designer Nancy Renaud of Barn Door Wreaths, artist/jeweller/painter Donna Scully, basket maker Sandy Harris, quilter Jean Carr, artist Barbara Emery Moseley and baker Carol Hammond. Vermont Woods Studios is on the tour too so come visit us at Stonehurst and start crossing off those names on your Christmas list!
I founded Vermont Woods Studios 10 years ago on a mission of forest conservation. I was looking for a way to raise awareness about where wood products like furniture and flooring come from. What many people don’t realize is that when you buy these wood products from big companies like Lumber Liquidators or IKEA, there’s a good chance they’re made from trees that have been illegally clear-cut from the world’s rapidly disappearing rainforests. The idea with Vermont Woods Studios is to provide beautiful, sustainable, American made furniture as an alternative to imported furniture of suspicious origin.
The Vermont – Amazon Connection
Earlier this year, my sons Kendall & Riley and I made a trip to the Amazon rainforest to support the forest conservation efforts of Rosamaria Ruiz at the Serere Reserve in Bolivia. While there, Riley became friends with Marco Antonio Gonzales Silva, a remarkable young conservationist working on social and environmental projects in the Bolivian Amazon.
Marco’s Holiday Giving Project
Marco grew up as a “street kid” in Peru, shining shoes for a living. His dream is to help kids in the Peruvian Amazon, especially those living on the streets and working every day just to feed themselves. So for the past three years, Marco has been sponsoring a project to bring holiday cheer to these children. He uses his own money and also fundraises to buy gifts and food for the kids. Each child receives a toy, a sandwich, and some hot chocolate for Christmas. The cost is about $5 per child. Marco told Riley that most of these children have never had a toy before and do not yet understand the concept of a toy.
In his first year, Marco was able to donate to 500 kids by himself! With the help of some friends, he was able to up that number to 900 in his second year. Now in his third year, Marco took to Facebook to ask for help and we’re trying to help make it his biggest year yet!
Every Furniture Sale = a $50 Donation
We’re sending Marco a $50 donation for every furniture sale made at Vermont Woods Studios this weekend (Friday, Saturday & Sunday). The money will be donated through a GoFundMe page set up for Marco by Riley. The campaign runs until Dec. 14th, 2015 and Riley’s goal is to raise $2,500. He is promising to match the largest donation (up to $200). If you’d like to support the cause or learn more about it, please click here for details and a secure donation site. Even a $5 donation will make a big difference in the lives of these children. Thanks!
This is the story of a boyhood dream. It begins in 1937, during the “recession within the Great Depression”. The first child of a hard-working young Irish couple from Johnson City, NY is sent to spend the summer on his grandparents’ farm in Dushore, PA.
The lad is tasked with feeding the chickens, weeding the garden and sweeping the dirt floors. But his favorite chore is helping plow the fields with a team of black Percheron draft horses name Maude and Tony. For many summers, little Bob was delivered to the O’Neil Family Farm the day after school let out in June and returned to his parents in Johnson City on Labor Day weekend, just in time to start the new school year. Driving and caring for the team of blackies quickly become his passion and thus the dream was born.
“One Day I’ll Have My Horses”
The boy was my dad. But farming wasn’t in the cards for him and like his parents he wound up raising a family and making a living in a small city. “You mark my words”, he’d say “one day I’ll have my horses”. We all laughed.
But, despite the years that passed and the naysayers and the remote odds, his dream never died. In 1985, Dad flew out to Millersburg Ohio to meet with his dear friend Monroe Miller, a Percheron horse breeder. He returned home driving a trailer with 2 young geldings, he named Prince and Tony. The horses were Dad’s pride and joy. Although their plowing chores were few, Prince and Tony were often pressed into service giving hay rides and sleigh rides to local children. They lived an honorable life.
Driving the Team Back to a Farm: Stonehurst!
Last weekend when I went to Plattsburgh to visit my mother I saw this familiar drawing of the 2 Percherons that Dad had purchased from Iowa artist William A Weber. I asked if I could relocate the boys to Stonehurst, which had been a working farm on and off for over 200 years. It would be a fitting place for the horses to retire as Stonehurst in the 1930s would have been quite similar to the O’Neil Farm that Maude & Tony served at that time. Mother agreed & now the 2 two horses hang on the wall looking out the windows of our showroom to the farmland that houses our sustainable furniture store today.
Come Visit Stonehurst and Meet Prince & Tony
Love horses? Farms? History? Come visit us at Stonehurst! You can enjoy the 109 acre plot of beautifully managed farm and forest land that’s now home to Prince and Tony. And if you’re in the market for sustainable, American made furniture or Vermont made home decor, all the better. See you in the showroom!
In the world of Vermont’s Made to Order Furniture there are many advantages: your furniture is handcrafted especially for you, you can customize it to fit exactly into your space, you can feel good about the fact that your furniture is made from trees that are harvested sustainably with respect for the forest environment, you’re helping to keep American craftsmanship alive & thriving, providing jobs and much more. But there is one downside to having furniture built just for you:
It Takes Time
Time to Craft
Depending on who is making your furniture (we work with a dozen or so independent furniture makers), and what they’ve already got in their queue, time to complete building the furniture can vary.
The best way to find out the estimated lead times for our furniture is to check the Lead Time tab on the product’s page. You can read more general information about our lead times on our Shipping & Delivery page.
Time to Ship and Safely Deliver
After the furniture is built, it takes another 1-5 weeks to ship it, depending on where the customer lives. Fine furniture cannot be FedEx’d (unless maybe it’s an end table or something that’s been designed for quick-ship). Believe it or not, some of today’s FAST furniture delivery companies have average damage rates of up to 40%!
We’ve learned over the past 10 years of delivering furniture to homes in all 50 states that rushing an order to it’s destination is a gamble. It might get there safely… then again it might not. And since our customers are already waiting several weeks for their authentic, made to order furniture, we don’t want to have to call them and say, “sorry your furniture was damaged in transit and we have to re-craft it. And re-ship it”.
Fortunately our customers understand this and are generally very patient and willing to wait for something that will one day become a family heirloom.
Keeping You Informed
Rebecca, Sean, Michelle and Loryn use a series of emails and phone calls to keep clients in the loop during the crafting and shipping process. Right after your order, you’ll receive an email acknowledgement asking you to review the order details for accuracy & giving you an estimate of when it will be delivered. Then when your order is half way through the process, we’ll email you again with an update. Another communication will arrive when the craftsman has completed your order and we’ve scheduled it for pick-up with our furniture shipping specialist. Finally when your order is in your area, we’ll connect you directly with our shipper to schedule a convenient time for delivery. All along the way, you’ll have someone here, that you know by name, to talk to if you have any questions or concerns. Then after delivery, we’ll email you again to make sure the delivery went well and you’re happy with your new furniture.
Quality, Made to Order Furniture that Lasts a Lifetime
In this world of instant gratification, where most furniture buyers walk into Bob’s Discount Furniture, Ikea or Ashley Furniture and walk out an hour later with something that’s substandard and unsustainably produced overseas by huge multi-national conglomerates, we find ourselves immensely grateful to our customers for their patience in waiting for the real thing. When buying furniture that’s built to last a lifetime, we hope you’ll feel it’s worth the wait.
Know any Sales professionals looking for a complete change of pace? The Sales Manager job opening we have at Vermont Woods Studios is pretty unique. First of all, although we sell to customers from New York to Los Angeles, our showroom and offices are in the tiny rural town of Vernon, Vermont. It’s beautiful here and there’s lots to do if you love the outdoors (admittedly you’ll have to drive a couple hours to get to a theater or stadium though).
About the job… well it’s all about helping people and being a resourceful problem-solver. You’ll be helping our brilliant sales people and improving the tools they use to serve our customers. You’ll be helping our furniture workshops understand and fulfill our customer needs. You’ll be helping all of us here at Vermont Woods Studios to manage and grow our company. And you’ll be helping us with our mission of “furnishing a greener world”.
If you’re interested or know someone who is, check out this job opening and send us a resume. Then pick out your new office from the photos in our Stonehurst archive and let us know which one you want. This one’s Ken’s but there’s room for a second person, if you don’t mind the cold.