January 14th, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh
Editors note: OK, this is really me (Peggy) but I found this old photo of our Marketing Manager Dennis Shanoff and it got me wondering how we ever survived the early days of start-up.
Eight years ago I started this online furniture store. I had no experience with ecommerce— or any sort of business for that matter. I am a chemist by education and a teacher by trade. I had recently lost my job, I was approaching my 50th birthday and I decided my next career was going to be my last. Thirty years after graduating from high school I would finally take the advice my guidance counselor offered: “follow your passion”.
Fast forward a few years after (a slow) start-up. I’ve just hired a “Marketing Manager”, Dennis Shanoff. It’s his first day on the job. I’m imagining this conversation he’s texting to his wife:
Dennis Shanoff: My boss is a cat
Dennis: sends selfie (above)
Dennis: I’m sitting at a desk in this lady’s spare bedroom trying to figure out how I’m going to build a furniture brand around her passion
Susan: which is?
Dennis: saving the rainforest
Susan: from Vermont?
Dennis: most furniture is made from rainforest woods. Peggy’s trying to raise awareness about that and promote sustainable Vermont made furniture instead
Susan: OK so it’s a stretch. Don’t panic
Luckily Dennis didn’t panic. Four years after what must have been an unnerving first day at work, Dennis Shanoff has helped transform a fledgling start-up that no one believed would ever get off the ground, into a small business with a reasonable chance of long-term survival.
I don’t think our story is that atypical for small businesses in Vermont or throughout America for that matter. It’s full of hopes and dreams and absurdity. Luck, misfortune and determination. But more than anything it’s a story of how a small group of disparate entrepreneurs managed to leverage their differences in an effort to change the world.
My friend Annette thinks I should start reflecting on this unorthodox journey with Vermont Woods Studios and share my memories here and on Medium.com. Maybe others with a passion to make the world a better place will find or offer encouragement. Think? Let me know (on Facebook or in the comments section below) if you’d be interested to read more start-up stories about Dennis, Douglas, Ken and the gang.
May 11th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
Most people think my mother must be crazy when I tell them she has 22 cats. But she's not one of those hoarders you see on the news.
Two (neutered) indoor cats are her preference. But last year someone dumped off 9 feral cats in her neighborhood and somehow they all found their way to Mother's back yard.
They were skinny and pitiful so she started to feed them. We got some Have-a-Heart traps and were able to catch 7 of the cats which we brought to the vet and had neutered.
But most feral cats are unadoptable. They're too wild. So after neutering– the prevailing wisdom, as explained to me by Dr. Stacy Lambrinos of the Red Fern Veterinary Clinic is to return them to their territory.
So that's what we did and today the cats still live in Mom's back yard– no big deal really. They roam the neighborhood, everyone feeds them and surely they'll soon be in the Guinness Book of World Records for the World's Fattest Feral Cats.
But there were 2 feral cats we simply could not outsmart with the trap. As luck would have it, they were both girls. So of course, this year we had babies. 10 babies.
This one is named Pierre because of his mustache. I think he looks more like Charlie Chaplin but I have no say. Lilly and Emily are the naming committee.
More later, including my mother's ingenious method of trapping the last 2 hold-outs and the plan for adopting these 10 kittens out.
Anybody looking for an adorable little black and white kitten?
Did you know that all kittens have blue eyes when they are born?
May 7th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
I'm visiting my mother this weekend and as always, I'm in awe at how amazing she is. I wonder how I will ever be able to live up to her legacy.
Mom always has a project going on. Right now she's in the middle of a feral cat rescue! I came home to find 2 mother cats and 10 kittens on her back porch. Mom is caring for them until the babies can be adopted and the mothers can be spayed. Can you imagine a white-haired, 80 year old gramma trapping wild cats, and ferrying them back and forth to the vet for shots and neutering? I guess if you haven't ever dealt with feral cats, this may not seem like such a feat… but I promise you these are not your average cuddly pussy cats. I'll post some photos later this week. Must get back to the porch now.
Wishing a Happy and Joyful Mother's Day to all our Mothers! Please tell me about your own amazing mother below.
January 16th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh
We've been working really hard trying to convey through photos, how absolutely gorgeous Greg Goodman's custom musician's stools are. Somehow the fine art of Greg's choice of figured wood and expert craftsmanship are nearly impossible for an amateur to bring to life through online images.
I guess Bongo sensed our frustration and was kind enough to jump up on the seat and give us a pose we could actually handle with our limited photographic capabilities.
He felt that portraying the level of comfort and confidence afforded by the stool was more important than the quality and craftsmanship involved.
Cats always have their own agenda.