By Dennis Shanoff

Here at Vermont Woods Studios, we have always (and only) sold 100% USA made wood furniture. Vermont made furniture to be more precise.  And the reasons this matters are many and compelling. Let’s start with superb, lasting quality and built from a natural and sustainable material. Well that’s good for your wallet and very good for the planet. And when you factor in the US jobs it creates and the local economies it helps support, well to me that’s when it becomes very compelling. Our product and service choices really do matter and can make a difference.

This past year ABC news ran some Made in America feature stories. You may have seen all or part of these week long series specials on the nightly news. They did a great job of raising awareness of how little we have in our homes that was produced in this country. And the obvious “reason this matters” drawn from these segments was how it has impacted the US economy and our jobs market.

So it did get me thinking that maybe I could shift at least some of my buying to US made goods (as challenging as that sounds).  I would do my part plus I certainly have been experiencing some quality issues with my offshore made products, especially tools. Why is my father’s power drill from the 1950’s still working while I am on at least my 5th one!

And my next thought was that I couldn’t be alone in this thinking and that sooner or later a “Buy American” movement would begin. If ABC news couldn’t push this movement, no one can! Well the whole ABC coverage did inspire and encourage me to think more about this and ponder what a small movement with “spreading potential” could do? When could we make a really big difference? How about the time of year when we really ramp up our spending? What would be an easy to adopt theme? And then it hit me, holiday shopping is right around the corner. How many Secret Santa office parties will there be? How many school children will be partaking in a holiday gift exchange? And how many families and friends will be having an old fashion Yankee Swap! So why not an American Made theme holiday gift party this year? And that’s just what we are going to do here in our Vermont Woods Studios office and that’s what I am going to do when it comes to my family and friend gift buying.

In the coming weeks I will be posting on this blog the results of my findings and ideas. So if you are curious as to what I find or if you want to share your thoughts or findings please come back and post your comments here (or even better– on our Facebook page).

Now imagine if a million holiday gatherings follow this Buy American theme this season… well that will really matter!  Join us and pledge to Buy American this holiday season.

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.

American-made-holiday-gifts I'm really not an early Christmas shopper.  In fact I'm not a shopper at all.  When the kids were little they used to like to holiday shop at the local craft fair… that was fun.  But the boys are teenagers now and I can't imagine getting them to do that anymore.  A couple times in recent years, I was able to convince Ken and the boys to make an overnight holiday shopping trip to Boston where we wandered around downtown and at the Wrentham Mall picking up a few gifts. I enjoyed that but the kids seem to have outgrown any kind of activity that involves parents.

 

 

Anyway… yesterday in the office, Dennis floated the idea of buying only American made things for Christmas presents.  Pretty cool idea, don't you think? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brattleboro-farmers-market But the thing is, this is shopping we can't leave till the last minute.  It will take a bit of research and planning.  Isn't it ironic that many American made gifts would have to be purchased online and shipped here from across the country, whereas imports are available anytime, in every store in town, at a moment's notice?

So at Vermont Woods Studios we'll plan to start our shopping now and share our research with you as we go.  Saturday I tagged along with Annette at the Brattleboro Farmer's Market.  That's probably a reasonable place to start… maple syrup, handmade pottery, wooden bowls. 

Why not join us in our "Buy American Made" Holiday Gifts Challenge?  If you have gift suggestions, pass them along in the comment section below or send photos and links and we'll post here or on our Facebook page.

They say that if each of us in the USA spent just $3.33 on American made goods, that would generate 10,000 jobs… a pretty decent Christmas present in itself, I say.

Vermont Woods Studios

100% American Made Furniture

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.

American-made-dorm-rooms Have you seen any of the ABC News Made in America specials on World News with Diane Sawyer?   This week they're talking about the impact college students could have on our economy if they purchased USA made dorm room accessories and linens from American companies.

 

It's tough to do since universities are unwittingly pushing imported goods through their campus stores, but it is possible, as demonstrated on the show.  And in fact this room was $92 cheaper to furnish with American made items than similar imported ones.

 

 Sawyer notes that the average college student shopper spent $800 this season or a total of $46 BILLION.  If that money had been spent purchasing American goods, it could have provided almost half a million American jobs! 

 

Usa-american-made

So it turns out it can be cheaper to furnish a college dorm with American made items than imported ones?  Maybe some smart college presidents will commission their business school faculty and students to get on this and transform their campuses into American Made spaces.

 

 

 

 

 

Oh and if they're looking to add American made furniture to the dorms, Vermont's own New England Woodcraft has been building solid wood furniture for college dorms right here in the USA for over 50 years.

New-england-woodcraft 

It looks like this Vermont-made furniture is pretty well equipped to handle college students, wouldn't you think?

And while we're on the subject of USA made furniture, I can say that 100% of our furniture at Vermont Woods Studios is 100% made in America… in Vermont to be precise. 

 

Your purchases here employ our 5 staff members who operate the website and take care of sales and customer service, plus about 15-20 furniture makers and many additional support people including shippers.  You are making a difference when you Buy American and we are grateful for your support.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Charlie-shackleton-furnitureI can't believe it's leaf-peeping season already… an annual outdoor extravaganza that comes with great ambivalence among Vermonters.  Most of us are not really ready to think about the winter ahead yet, but on the other hand, Fall is pretty spectacular up here in New England. 

 

Over the last decade a popular new stop on the Vermont Foliage Tour has emerged and that's the Fine Furniture Festival in Woodstock, VT

 

It's an annual gathering of Vermont's fine furniture makers— undoubtedly some of the best, most meticulous craftspeople in the world.  Here you'll get to see, feel and sit in beautiful, handcrafted solid wood furniture that's unlike anything you've seen in the stores.  You'll get to chat with craftsepople whose pieces live in luxurious penthouses and mansions around the world.  And you'll find that they are approachable, down to earth and passionate about the integrity of their work.

 

Bill-laberge-furniture Honestly, if you're interested in furniture with authentic old world craftsmanship and/or creative modern style, Woodstock is the place to be.  And acquiring this kind of heirloom furniture is not out of reach– not when you're shopping in Vermont. 

 

OK, it's a totally different product than what you'll find in "luxury furniture stores" like Restoration Hardware or Crate and Barrel.  It's American made with sustainably harvested wood and it's made (and usually guaranteed) to last a lifetime so naturally the price will be higher than the imported furniture you're used to seeing in stores. 

 

 

But if you're looking for value, you won't find a better opportunity than this.  You'll be purchasing direct from the furniture makers and your solid wood furniture will be made to order just for you.  Shipping is no problem either.  These professionals have been shipping their work around the globe for years and they know how to do it right.

Shackleton-furniture So… designers, architects, homeowners- we'll hope to see you in Woodstock this weekend.  It will be a highlight of your foliage tour I promise!

 

Photos:

Shackleton Thomas Furniture

Bill Laberge Furniture

Shackleton Thomas Furniture

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.

Custom-walnut-slab-table Our friend David Allard and the talented furniture makers at Lyndon Furniture are always coming up with some new, exciting wood furniture design project.  Check out this huge custom walnut slab table they recently finished.  It's 13.5' long and the two planks in the top are made of 1 ¾" thick solid black walnut.

The legs are made of welded steel tubes that thread through the walnut slab top like through-tenons.  On the top, Dave left a gap between the 2 walnut slabs to allow for wood movement.  Believe it or not, even kiln-dried wood (like these walnut slabs) expands and contracts quite a bit with changes in humidity and temperature.

Such a simple elegant design, isn't it?  But as any amateur woodworker could attest, it's not one to try at home unless you've got the hand of a trained professional.  And a crane 🙂

 

 

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.