American-Made-FurnituresWe've been working hard to promote American Made products lately, in support of American workers who need jobs.  All of our furniture is 100% American Made (100% Vermont made actually– well OK, I think we have a few chairs that are made in Massachusetts) but we wanted to do more.  Dennis started our "Made in America" Holiday Gift Challenge event last month asking people to purchase "American Made" holiday gifts.  We've got about 46 takers so far and you can add your name to the list if you're on Facebook.

Well, more and more with each passing day, it seems that buying American isn't just a patriotic thing to do– it's an economically smart strategy.  In his Harvard Business Review column, Harold Sirkin sees a resurgence of USA manufacturing coming in response to changing economics.  Chinese workers are starting to fight for higher wages at the same time that the cost of fuel and shipping from China to the US are also on the rise.  Companies like Volkswagen are noticing– they recently opened a new $1Billion factory in Tennessee.

Now what will the big so-called "American" furniture companies do… like Furniture Brands International, the huge multi-national company that's bought out many of our iconic American furniture companies (Broyhill, Lane, Thomasville, etc.) over the last 30 years?  Well they anticipated this years ago and have moved many of their overseas operations from China to Viet Nam where wages are still deplorably low and regulations are even more non-existent than in China.  But that's for another day and another discussion.

The good news is that there is still plenty of American made furniture being built in the USA and the best of it is right up here in Vermont!

 

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.

Furniture-american

 

Last week I blogged about Diane Sawyer's Made in America Series on ABC News.  As I was going through ABC's website I noticed that they have a great little map of the USA that shows where American made products are being produced.  The only problem was that Vermont Woods Studios Furniture was not on that map. 

So I contacted ABC and requested that we be included.  Low and behold… a few days later I got a call from Zach at ABC wanting to know what our company was all about.  I assured him that all of our furniture is made right here in Vermont by Vermont furniture makers using wood that is sustainably harvested in America, preferably locally– in Vermont and New England. 

Now we've been featured along with the many other awesome American companies on ABC's website.  Check us out!

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.

Made-in-america This week ABC News with Diane Sawyer is running a Made in America series in an effort to get people to think about American jobs whenever they buy something.   The series takes a look at a family of four in Texas.  It turns out they own hardly a thing that's made in the USA.  So ABC news clears their house out of everything imported (basically only a flower vase is left) and re-fills it with American made furniture, appliances, clothing, toys and such. It's interesting and a great reminder to buy American. 

 

Vermont-shaker-sleigh-bed At Vermont Woods Studios all of our furniture is 100% made in America but we realize that's not enough.  Like any other American company that's going to be successful selling to consumers in the USA, we have to also have the best quality, best prices, best service and best social and environmental policies.  We're always working on that and welcome your feedback and advice.

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.

Furniture made in America
Labor Day seems to be a good time to talk about American Made Furniture.  At Vermont Woods Studios Furniture, we were excited this week to read that Maine’s struggling Moosehead Furniture company has been rescued from extinction and bankruptcy by Maine businesswoman, Louise M. Jonaitis.  This 60 year old company, the largest privately owned furniture company in New England provided jobs for 250 workers in 2002 but was shut down in 2007 leaving the residents of Monson ME jobless and with little hope.

Moosehead is just one of the hundreds of small furniture makers across American that have been driven out of business by cheap furniture imports.  Why care?  I don’t think many customers realize this, but most of the furniture you see in the USA is made in China and other third world countries.  Even furniture that’s specifically labeled, “Made in America” typically has only about 30% American parts in it.
So why has the US furniture industry collapsed over the last 30 years?  It’s sad, but globalization has enabled the “lowest price” to trump all other facets of furniture shopping, particularly quality.  Think about it.  In China labor costs are about 20 cents/hour and there’s no health care cost added to that. And there’s no regulatory costs. So almost all the big companies that used to build American Made furniture (like Thomasville, Basset, Lane and even Ethan Allen) have moved their operations overseas.  Because these companies save so much money in labor and they often obtain their lumber illegally, their main costs are shipping, warehousing and marketing.  Cheap furniture–FAST is the way they’ve characterized “American Made” furniture.

At Vermont Woods Studios we’ve chosen a different path.  We know there are plenty of people out there who still value quality and wish to buy furniture that will last a lifetime– something they can proudly hand down to their children and grandchildren.  And the benefits of buying American made furniture go far beyond your own home and into the homes of American craftsmen: your decision to buy our USA made furniture means that local Vermont communities have sustainable economies and… the tradition of high quality American craftsmanship lives on. I think it’s a win-win for all involved.  What’s your opinion?

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.

Shaker-dresser
At Vermont Woods Studios we have the privilege of working with some of the best fine furniture makers in the world, so the crafting part of our business is always pretty trouble-free.  It's the shipping end of things that presents the biggest challenge. 

Our shipper is an award-winning antique furniture specialist.  They are the shipper of choice for Sotheby's and Christie's too.  Occasionally however, we get a phone call that something has gone awry.  That happened last month when Jessica L phoned.  There had been a mis-communication between Jessica and our shipper and as a result, this Vermont Made Shaker Buffet was delivered when she was not at home. 

Normally the shipper would contact Jessica and return another day, however Jessica's neighbor volunteered to receive the delivery on her behalf– a solution that didn't work out for Jessica.  Our job, when something isn't quite right like this is to fix the problem and make sure our customer is happy with the result.  Rebecca is our ace problem solver and here's how Jessica described her damage control efforts:

Dear Peggy-

I wanted to write you to thank you for the excellent customer service I received from
Rebecca.
I initially wrote to complain that a delivery of a dresser had been
made without notice or my confirmation – since I was not home, the
dresser ended up at my neighbor's. Rebecca immediately emailed me back, and called, with apologies. I had not expected or thought that anything could be done, but Rebecca
arranged for the delivery men to return and move the dresser from my
neighbor's to my apartment. I was so impressed by the attention she gave
the matter, as well as her ability to redress the situation. The
dresser was moved yesterday, without a hitch. Also, the piece I ordered
is absolutely beautiful. I look forward to ordering from Vermont Woods Studio in the future, and my neighbor – who housed the dresser for a
week – also asked for your website info, as he loved the piece.

I don't usually write letters like this, but I don't usually receive
such great service. The true mark of a company is revealed, I think, not
by flawless service, but how problems are addressed. This situation was
addressed with the utmost care, respect, and competency. I truly thank
you and

Rebecca for that.

All best,

Jessica

Thanks Rebecca for all you do for our customers and our business.  You are awesome!  And thanks Jessica for taking the time out of your busy day to write such a nice note.

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.