Check out Stephen Mills' article about Vermont furniture in the Burlington Free Press today. It's really encouraging to get this kind of exposure from Vermont's largest newspaper.
Stephen focused on a lot of the concepts we've been developing and promoting right here at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture, including the fact that Vermont truly is the Fine Furniture Capital of America and that Vermont furniture makers are the go to guys for authentically green, sustainable wood furniture.
Good job, Stephen! Thanks for spreading the good word.
It's taken six years, but our recent sale of Custom Shaker Bookcases to a family in West Virginia finally put that state on our map as the 49th state we've delivered Vermont Made Furniture to. How 'bout that?
I think we'll have to give a prize to the person who places the first order for delivery to Alaska (that's the only state left on our list). What should it be? Maybe something to keep them warm like Vermont made Darn Tough Socks or flannel pajamas from Vermont Flannel.
Or maybe one of Ken's solid wood cutting boards. Well, Alaskans… be the first and we'll let you take your pick.
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… and so on. But there is one downside to having furniture built just for you: it takes time.
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 cue, it can take anywhere from 2-16+ weeks from the day you place your order to the day it is complete. Typically the crafting time is about 6-8 weeks, but specialty items or furniture that's being made by our most popular craftsmen can take longer.
Then 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).
So Rebecca uses a series of emails and phone calls to keep clients in the loop during the crafting and shipping process. She and a customer were talking aout it in terms of old Vermont sayings yesterday– like "slower than molasses running uphill in January" and "It takes less time to do something right than to explain why it was done wrong".
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 immensley 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.
ps– Vermonters have a bunch of other funny old sayings. If you're interested, learn what "dryer than a popcorn fart", "flatlander" and "a chewing match" mean here at Virtual Vermont.
Vermont woodworkers are among the best in the world, so the furniture making part of our online business at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture is the easy part. It's the shipping and delivery that's our biggest challenge.
All of our furniture is made to order in small and medium-sized woodworking shops around our state. Furniture makers work with great care and precision to make sure their pieces leave the workshop in tip-top condition. The last thing we want is to have to ask them to make something over again because it got broken by a shipper. Not to mention that receiving damaged furniture is a huge let down to our customers and totally unacceptable by any measure.
So over the years we developed a policy where (unless it was something small or a customer absolutely needed a RUSH delivery) we ship furniture via a white glove delivery service. With white glove delivery, furniture is handled by only one company from the time it is picked up in Vermont until the time it's set up in a customer's kitchen, home office, dining room or bedroom.
The delivery crew arranges a convenient time for delivery several days in advance. They arrive at a customer's home in uniform, bring the furniture inside, unpackage it, help inspect it and set it up (including assembly, if any). For fine furniture I've always felt this is the only acceptable shipping solution.
Our new partner, Copeland Furniture, however is beginning to persuade me that it's possible to engineer a successful DIY (do-it-yourself) furniture delivery system that will save customers money. Copeland has made significant advances in the art, science and technology of fine furniture packaging and shipping over the last couple years. They are now the world leader in safe, efficient, economical fine furniture shipping.
So, for Copeland furniture only we now offer free shipping and do-it-yourself (DIY) delivery as a more affordable option for customers who are willing and able to handle their own delivery. With DIY delivery, your furniture is brought to your doorstep where you must unpackage and inspect it yourself, then sign for it. You are responsible to bring your furniture into your home and assemble it, if needed. For chests, dressers and desks, there is typically no assembly required, with the exception of drawer and door knobs. With beds and tables, you must assemble them yourself– and easy directions are provided.
Customers can save an average of $300 with a DIY delivery. If you're interested, just give us a call or specify DIY as your choice in the pull-down menu for shipping when you're making an online purchase. Of course, Copeland furniture can also be purchased with white glove delivery for an additional fee. You can specify that on the pull-down menu as well. Either way, if you're purchasing furniture online be sure to review the applicable Furniture Delivery and Inspection procedures to protect yourself in case of any possible problems down the road.
We are eager to get your feedback on this new method of shipping.