April 24th, 2013 by Loryn Dion
Monday, people across the globe were doing good deeds to help our planet and celebrate nature. Here at Vermont Woods Studios, every day is spent helping our planet (we are the top retailer for locally sourced, sustainably produced furniture, after all) so we took some time out of the day to donate blood at the Vermont Advent Christian Home.
While Peggy has donated before, this would be my first blood donation experience. Being a first time donor, I was a little bit nervous going into it. I had always wanted to donate before, but I am kind of a wimp when it comes to pain so I have always talked myself out of it. But after the events during the Boston Marathon last week, a city near and dear to my heart, I knew that this was a fear I had to get over.
Looking back now, I have to say I kind of enjoyed it! We decided to walk over, since it was only a five minute walk from the office. After a little bit of paperwork and a quick check-up, I was in the chair, ready to donate. The volunteers and American Red Cross workers were very helpful and talked me through every step of the process and answered all of my questions, which helped to ease my mind. The actual donation only took about 10 minutes and it was not as painful as I was expecting it to be. My other fear was fainting after I gave blood (I’ve never fainted before, but there’s a first time for everything!). But after drinking some juice and enjoying some homemade baked goods, I felt fine and was ready to head back to work. For anyone nervous about signing up for their first time blood donation, you have nothing to worry about! It was easy, fun and you’ll feel great about making a difference!
It is a great feeling being able to help those in need. At Vermont Woods Studios, part of our mission is to be an active part of our community and participate in local service projects. I am so lucky to work for a company that is willing to support the causes that not only matter to our mission, but ones that matter to me as an employee. When I brought up to Peggy that I was interested in the blood drive, she, Kendall and Liz all signed up with me. Now who wouldn’t want to buy furniture from people like that?
April 22nd, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Greetings from Southern Vermont on Earth Day! We hope you’re celebrating — perhaps with some local organic food or by joining a community gardening project or cleaning up the roadside or whatever. Last year at Vermont Woods Studios we launched the Green Up Your Workplace Challenge where we used Facebook, our blog and some other physical and virtual venues to promote sustainability at work.
This year we’re swamped with our Stonehurst Fine Furniture Showroom project and haven’t had a chance to launch a 2013 Earth Day campaign. But in lieu of that, I can report that we’ve been very careful to use local lumber and building materials for Stonehurst and we’ve re-used, re-purposed and recycled as much of the original design and structure whenever possible. Stonehurst will truly be a green workplace.
We do have a couple modest Earth Day activities on tap today. We’ll be installing the bluebird nesting boxes we made last month out of a Norway Spruce tree that had to be taken down from Stonehurst in the Fall (because it was leaning on the top of the building). And we’ll be indulging in some local fare for lunch today… maybe from The Blue Moose Cafe or The Works in downtown Brattleboro. If you’re in the Southern Vermont area you know we’re lucky to have many fine farm to plate local eateries to choose from on Earth Day and every day. Maybe we’ll see you at one of them. Bon appetite and Happy Earth Day!
April 17th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Forest conservation is at the heart of our mission at Vermont Woods Studios and we’re always trying to raise awareness about where your wood furniture comes from. If you’re committed to buying American made furniture– no worries. Chances are it’s made from legal wood, sustainably harvested from well-managed forests right here in North America.
But if you’re buying imported wood furniture (and according to a Washington Post article 70% of furniture sold in America is imported) then: Houston, we have a problem.
A recent Washington Post article by Brad Plumer entitled Organized Crime is Getting Rich Cutting Down the Rainforest describes how the illegal logging trade has become just as lucrative (and far more destructive) than the drug-trafficking industry. 50 to 90 percent of forestry in tropical areas is now controlled by criminal groups! “A great deal of logging simply takes place illegally — much of it in tropical areas such as the Amazon Basin, Central Africa, and Southeast Asia.” (ref: United Nations and Interpol)
The U.N. estimates that illicit logging is now worth between $30 billion to $100 billion, or up to 30 percent of the global wood trade. That illegal wood is often shipped from pristine rainforests to China, Vietnam and other third world countries where it’s fabricated into low quality furniture which is sold to US consumers. We’ve written quite a bit about the links between rainforest destruction, global warming and the furniture and flooring you choose for your home:
If you’re considering buying furniture at IKEA, Home Depot or any big box store… ask where the lumber originates and let us know what you find on our Facebook or in the comments section below. Then re-discover sustainable, American made wood furniture and join us in feeling good about your furniture and your green home.
April 15th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Back in January we got a phone call from a journalist, Nina Patel who was writing an article about American made furniture for USA Today’s Home magazine. Nina had come across our website while researching USA made furniture and home decor. She become interested in our green mission as well as our promotion of American made products through the Christmas Shopping Challenge we’ve been sponsoring the last couple years. We chatted back and forth for a week or so and Nina gathered lots of information about Vermont Woods Studios. I wasn’t sure which aspects would fit into her article, so we’ve been eagerly awaiting it’s publication to see what she found most newsworthy.
We were excited to see a preview of Nina’s “American Made” story in yesterday’s USA Today Weekend edition of their national newspaper. The full length article is in the Spring 2013 edition of USA Today Home Magazine which you can find at your news stand or online.
It turns out that Nina did highlight information about our sustainable forestry mission as well as our efforts to raise awareness about where your furniture comes from. We are grateful to her for discussing the value of American made, high quality, sustainable furniture in such a high visibility venue. The movement is catching on!
March 31st, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
We are wishing all of our customers and friends the peace of Passover, the joy of Easter and the happiness of Spring. From all your pals at Vermont Woods Studios: we send warm greetings from the Green Mountain State!
Peggy, Ken, Kendall, Riley
Douglas, Liz, Sean, Michelle
Dennis, Loryn, Heather and Neville
March 29th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Well I have good news and bad news today. The bad news is that our Marketing Assistant Extraordinaire, Heather Barrett is leaving us and heading up to the Big City (aka Burlington if you live in Vermont) to work for Dealer.com (Vermont’s pride and joy when it comes to Internet marketing companies). We wish her well, but she’s left some pretty big shoes to fill.
And speaking about that, the good news is that we’re looking for a new Marketing Assistant who may be you (or someone you know and love)! The job is actually my dream job. You get to surf around the Internet, hang out on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Houzz and other social media sites– all with the purpose of raising awareness about the beauty and sustainability of Vermont’s handcrafted furniture.
Actually there’s MUCH more to it than that. Perhaps the biggest challenge is keeping Dennis’ (he’s our Marketing Manager) many marketing projects organized and running smoothly. This means assisting with graphic design using photo editing software, managing the company blog and Email campaigns, helping with product management and merchandising, optimizing website effectiveness with analytics software and so on. It really requires a challenging blend of creative and organizational skills.
If you think this might be up your alley, send us a resume! All the details and instructions are on this Marketing Assistant job posting. And for an inside look at Vermont Woods Studios, check out this blog post (we’re recruiting for a webmaster too) from earlier this week where I wrote some candid thoughts about what it’s like to work here.
The truth is… we have a lot of fun. But I’d be remiss if I failed to say that we do work really hard. Check out the rest of our blog and Facebook for more info about our small, but rapidly growing company.
March 27th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
In a past life when I worked for GE, training US Navy personnel, we used to joke about what recruiters had told the guys to get them to sign up for service: “You too can work weekends, nights and holidays…”
Why am I remembering those words today as we’re recruiting for a new Assistant Webmaster position at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture? It’s a fun job (well I think so anyway) but it’s definitely a tough job. OK, for anyone thinking they might be interested: Full Disclosure. Here is the down side (a partial list follows):
But then again on the plus side, you’ll be working with some pretty interesting and clever characters who are on a mission to change the world (as much as we can, anyway). We’re partnering with some of Vermont’s best furniture makers to bring their high quality, sustainable wooden furniture to families all across America through the power of the Internet. And through this sustainable furniture we’re raising awareness about where your furniture comes from.
We do have a few other advantages besides working with fabulous people towards an environmental mission. Soon we’ll be moving our offices to a newly renovated 200 year old historic farm house on the grounds of a former Vermont ski area called Stonehurst. Ski break during lunch, anyone? Plus we’re looking forward to a year of exciting change and continued growth ahead, which will benefit our staff in many ways (we’ve been roughly doubling our size for the past 4 years). Regarding specifics to this job, the best advantage there– is that you’ll get to work for Neville Kerr who is the smartest website guy I know. Getting trained by Neville is a huge benefit. The two of you will be leading our company into adventurous new territory.
If you haven’t navigated back to Monster.com or Craigslist for continued job searching yet, have a look at the posting for this Assistant Webmaster job. Check out the rest of our blog and Facebook for more insight into this small, but growing company.
March 15th, 2013 by Kelsey Eaton
Our Acting Webmaster, Loryn, does a lot for Vermont Woods Studios. She was hired as a Marketing Assistant and when our webmaster left, she seamlessly took on that role. From making our website beautiful, to leading our benefit meetings, to writing about green interior design on our blog, Loryn does it all- with a smile.
Now, we have the chance to do something for Loryn and her family (the Dion’s). We received the news last week that Loryn’s family home in Fall River, Massachusetts, suffered substantial damage after a tragic kitchen fire. Luckily, all of her family members and pets are all okay. The house’s kitchen was affected the most by the fire, however, the rest of her home has smoke and water damage too.
To help the Dion’s, we’re doing what we know best: selling furniture. We will be having a benefit furniture sale on Friday, March 22. For every sale we have that day we will donate $50 to the Dion’s.
Help us help the Dion’s! This benefit furniture sale falls on the same day as our Make A Set Furniture Sale, so you can save big while helping one of our hardworking employees. The more you buy, the more you save, and the more her family benefits!
Spread the word about our benefit furniture sale by sharing this post with your friends! It’s one week away!
March 13th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
What do you love best about Vermont? Our maple syrup? Organic cheese? Skiing or snowboarding? Mountain climbing? Our farm to plate restaurants? Chances are whatever your favorites are in Planet Vermont, they are here for you because of Vermont’s working landscape. That’s the term Vermonters are using to refer to the Green Mountain state’s pastoral forests and fields– and there’s a concerted effort afoot to ensure they will remain sustainable.
Last year our Legislature passed the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Initiative which allocated $1Million to “stimulate a concerted economic development effort on behalf of Vermont’s agriculture and forest product sectors by systematically advancing entrepreneurism, business development, and job creation.” A request for proposals to carry out the WL initiative was issued last year and yesterday was the deadline for submittals.
Hundreds of entrepreneurs from all across the state have offered ideas and projects that will eventually add up to a wave of renewed commitment and progress in sustaining our working lands. We at Vermont Woods Studios are among the group.
Our proposal seeks to use WL grant monies to close the final funding phase of renovating our Stonehurst Furniture Gallery and Nature Center. From a Working Lands perspective, one of the advantages of Stonehurst is that it tells the story of where Vermont made furniture comes from and how it’s made– sustainably.
Putting our Working Lands proposal together has been quite a process and regardless of whether we win an award, I think it’s been time well spent. I know the grant is highly competitive. It’s my understanding that the WL Board received some 268 proposals for a total request of over $12 million. They are working with only $1Million in funding, so the odds aren’t good.
But I feel our proposal answers an important need in providing a market for Vermont’s wood furniture and a destination that will attract customers from beyond our borders. We’ve been able to forge many new partnerships and collaborations as a result of the grant application process and that alone makes the effort worthwhile.
Decisions on grant awards are expected in April and we’ll keep you posted. Best of luck to everyone who has invested their time into this important project!
March 5th, 2013 by Loryn Dion
As Heather blogged last week, this past weekend was the annual Wags to Riches Auction to benefit the Windham County Humane Society. Peggy, Douglas and I were in attendance to show our support and represent Vermont Woods Studios.
The night started at 6:00pm with the silent auction, which was broken out into three sections, which allowed people to move around and see everything there was to offer. And with close to 200 items in the auction, there was a lot to see! Light hor d’oeuvres were served as WCHS supporters mingled and bid on their items. Throughout the evening, staff pulled numbers for door prizes and kept everyone updated on when tables would be closing. After the silent auction ended, everyone was seated and the live auction began. It was amazing to see how many people were willing to spend money on multiple items to benefit WCHS. After the live auction, three 50/50 raffle tickets were pulled, in which both Douglas and our friend Annette managed to profit from. We each walked away having donated something to the humane society, either by bidding on an item or making a monetary donation. Annette walked away with a beautiful new Raleigh bicycle, Douglas managed to outbid Peggy on some flowers from Linden Gardens and I was able to score a spa and gym membership.
WCHS managed to sell every item on the list, plus raise an additional $4,000 to buy new computers for their office. We were so happy to be able to donate one of our cutting boards and a vacation trip to such a great organization. Overall, it was a great night and we look forward to the next time we can help out our friends at WCHS.