December 22nd, 2012 by Kelsey Eaton
What a difference a year makes! When we initiated our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge last year, it was our hope that a large scale movement would begin. We hoped to get our message out in our community, and if it reached out further, all the better. A nationwide movement seemed like a long-shot dream, until ABC World News got wind of our concept. They liked the message, and helped spread it across the nation. Unfortunately, the segment aired only 5 days away from Christmas, so it left little time to participate, but at least the tradition began.
Fast forward to this fall: we have seen many new websites, blogs, and Facebook pages jump on the bandwagon helping to promote American made goods for the holidays. This figure went viral: the average American will spend $700 on holiday gifts, totaling more than $465 billion. If we spend just $64 on American made goods, 200,000 new jobs could be created. Americans were shocked by the figure, and eagerly wanted to join in on the challenge. ABC World News had people young and old across the country yelling, “We’re in,” and a full fledged, nationwide movement was created.
One question we kept hearing through out the various American made holiday campaigns was, “where do I find American made goods?”
This is where we came in. We searched the internet and our local stores to find you a variety of American made gift ideas. We pinned these gift ideas, put them on Facebook, and blogged about them. We did just about everything except parade down Main Street to make you aware of the vast amount of products that are made in America.
Here is our final wrap up of the products we featured on Facebook:
1. Crane & Co. holiday greeting cards
2. VZ Wraps reusable gift bags
3. Simon Pearce ornaments
4. DODOCASE electroic covers
5. Vermont Teddy Bear teddy bears
6. Alex and Ani bangles
7. Channellock tools
8. Vermont Flannel clothing (for dogs too)
9. Laura Zindel ceramic goods
10. Sprinbok puzzles
11. Maple Landmark Woodcraft toys
12. Warby Parker eyewear
13. Nordic Ware baking pans
14. Green Toys children toys
15. Lake Champlain Chocolates delicious treats
16. KitchenAid mixers
17. Leatherman tools
18. Tittle Tikes riding toys
19. Turtle Fur hats
20. Dogeared jewelry
21. Darn Tough socks
22. Way Out Wax candles
23. Zipfy snow sleds
24. Tervis tumblers
Thank you for joining us on this American made journey this season. We are ecstatic that our dream last year has turned into a movement supported by the whole country. We hope that this will be encouraging enough for you to continue buying American made products through out the entire year! Make 2013 the year to buy American made.
December 15th, 2012 by Kelsey Eaton
Last minute shopping is inevitable, especially during the holiday season. The last few months of the year seem to fly by. One day you’re eating Thanksgiving dinner with your family, and the next day you wake up and it’s Christmas Eve. How did that happen?! Don’t panic, I have compiled a list of five last minute gift ideas or “go to” gift ideas for when your timing is a little too close for comfort.
Whether time has slipped away, a friend invited you to their holiday party last minute, or you need a gift for a co-worker you don’t know well, there is something on this list that will work for any person in a pinch.
Wine is the perfect go-to gift during the holiday season. Hosts love when you bring a gift that they can share with their guests during the party. It’s something that is useful, and won’t end up collecting dust on a shelf. Not only do most people enjoy a good bottle of wine, it only takes a few minutes to pick it up at the store. If you want to make the wine more meaningful, try to remember if you have heard them talk about their favorite type. If not, pick out your favorite kind and introduce it to them! Try to buy from a local winery whenever possible (this is, afterall, a Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge). Wine from Vermont’s Putney Mountain Winery and Shelburne Vineyard would make great holiday gifts.
Who doesn’t love chocolate? Chocolate is a great last minute gift idea for everyone! Many chocolate companies have already helped you out by festively decorating their packages, so you won’t even have to wrap the gift. Take a look at Lake Champlain Chocolates‘ seasonal assortments. This Vermont based company makes their delicious chocolates without preservatives, and you can taste the freshness! Also, go to your local food co-op to see what your area has to offer. You may be surprised to find you have a hidden chocolate gem in your state too!
The winter season is a popular time to have candles lit around your home. Many people like having scented candles this time of year to get into the holiday spirit. The extra light on a dark winter evening also gives us a warm and fuzzy feeling. To avoid making your candle look a little generic and like a last minute gift, buy it locally. People like knowing the source of their gifts, and knowing that it was made close to home is an added bonus. Many local artisans create candles that can be personalized, or come with American made accessories to jazz up the gift. If you’re looking for a Vermont based company, Carved Solutions ships their candles out within 48 hours. Vermont Soap & Candle and Way Out Wax have a variety of scents and candle styles to choose from as well.
An ornament is a great gift for the holidays. Ornaments are easy to find (check the label for made in USA) and they are something that people will keep for years. They come in a large variety of shapes, sizes, and styles. This gift is great for someone you know really well, because you can get something based on an interest or hobby. Or, it can be good for someone you don’ t know well because you can get something a little more seasonally related, like a snowflake, that will be an addition to their decorations annually. Ornaments are also versatile-not only are they hung on Christmas trees, but they can be hung on an office cubicle wall or placed in windows! Danforth Pewter, a Vermont based company, handcrafts beautiful holiday ornaments that would make a special gift.
5. Gift Certificates
A gift certificate to a local business is an excellent gift; last minute or not. No one will think any less of your creativity because going to a free movie, or getting a free meal is welcomed by everyone. You can get a gift certificate to the person’s favorite local store, a bookstore, a coffee shop they frequent daily, a nice restaurant, the movie theater, a museum, a fitness class…the options are endless! When we purchase a gift certificate we are supporting local business, and helping the local economy.
Now that you have five last minute gift ideas, get off the computer and get to a store– you’re running out of time! Let us know in the comments if you have any last minute gift ideas, or share them on our Facebook.
December 8th, 2012 by Loryn Dion
If you’re anything like me, the hardest part about the holiday season is finding the right gift for everyone. I don’t mind the price tag or where I have to go to get it, it’s the pressure of finding something that a person will love that always gives me trouble. With the added challenge of finding something American-made this year for our Made in America Shopping Challenge, I seriously considered using the upcoming “2012 Apocalypse” as an excuse for skipping gift-buying altogether. Luckily, shoppers like me have the magical World Wide Web to assist us with our holiday dilemmas. Here’s my guide to finding gifts for the hard to buy for.
My Vermont pick for American-made kitchen wares would definitely be Simon Pearce. We’ve talked about their beautiful pottery and glassware before on our Facebook, but I’ll have to mention them again. Any cook would love to have a Simon Pearce piece in their kitchen. If you’re shopping for someone like me who would rather consume the food rather than produce it, check out some locally made specialty stores near you to find scrumptious treats and local delicacies If you’re in Vermont, try Snowflake Chocolate Baskets, Vermont Grafton Cheese Collections or check out the Vermont Specialty Food Association for more ideas.
Being an animal lover myself, I can assure you that animal people love gifts for their pets just as much as if you’d bought something for them. The Vermonter will love anything from Vermont Gourmet Dog Treats. If you’re looking for something a little bigger, check Just Dog Treats article about American-made dog treats. USA Made Pet Supplies will also give you some great ideas for animal gifts.
We all have that one enthusiastic friend who is always suggesting that you go skiing, mountain climbing, hiking or bike riding with them with them. American Made Outdoors has great gift ideas for those who like hunting, camping, and fishing. Ragged Mountain also has some great toys for the outdoor enthusiast and they’re all American Made.
Children normally won’t care whether their toys are made in America or nut, but their parents will! Check out Toys Made in America for a very extensive list of fun toys and games for kids of all ages that are made exclusively in the US.
Check out our Facebook for more great ideas to buy American made!
November 29th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
We drew names for our Secret Santa gift exchange here at Vermont Woods Studios today. Christmas, Hanukkah and the holiday season are always pretty festive in our office. This year we’ll again be focusing on promoting the idea of giving American made gifts to each other and to our families and friends.
You may remember that last year we launched a Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge. We asked our friends to pledge to buy American made gifts– to look at the tags on everything they bought for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other holidays and to choose the ones that were “American Made”. We found it wasn’t a new idea around here. In fact most people told us they go a step further and purchase only locally made gifts, handmade gifts and items that support people and businesses in our community. Anyway, we had so much fun with our project last year that ABC News caught wind of it and came to Vernon to film a segment about it for World News with Diane Sawyer.
So this year we wanted to carry on with the tradition. Heather Barrett has posted some great American made gift ideas on our Pinterest Board and Facebook page. Jump on board and share your own finds with her– we’d love it. You’ll see that we’re leaning pretty heavily towards Vermont made items, but certainly not exclusively. I do find that Vermont’s warm winter wear always goes over pretty well on a cold, snowy Christmas morning though. Johnson Woolens, Turtle Fur and Vermont Flannel are favorites in my family.
This weekend we have several local craft fairs to shop our way through. One is the 17th annual “Home for the Holidays” craft fair with 50 local vendors at the Vernon Elementary School and another is the 14th Annual Cotton Mill Open Studio and Holiday Sale in Brattleboro, VT. Hope to see you moseying your way through one of them. Our friends and neighbors who’ve been crafting all year long in preparation for the holiday season are depending on our support! Let the shopping begin.
November 12th, 2012 by Kelsey Eaton
One of our founding principles at Vermont Woods Studios is to sell American Made furniture. We have always sold 100% American Made wood furniture, and we will only sell USA made furniture in the future. The truth is, over 75% of the wood furniture that you see in American stores is manufactured overseas, and it is very likely that the wood was harvested illegally from one of the world’s rapidly disappearing rainforests. Furniture isn’t the only industry dominated by foreign made goods. It’s all around us.
There are a number of reasons as to why American Made goods are important; quality and the environment are just a few. However, over the past few years, people have seen a direct correlation between purchasing American Made products, and seeing local economies flourish. Creating jobs for American people seems to be the most compelling reason to buy products made in the USA.
This past year ABC news ran a Made in America series where they did a great job of raising awareness as to how little we have in our homes that are products of this country. The series cited some amazing statistics like this: if each American spends just $3.33 on American made goods this year it would generate 10,000 jobs. Wow!
Inspired by the TV series our staff member, Dennis, recognized that pairing the concept of buying American Made products with the holidays could make a difference. This is the time of year when we spend the most amount of money. How many Americans are buying gifts for family members and loved ones? How many Secret Santa offices parties will there be? How many school children will be participating in classroom gift exchanges? How many people are having a Yankee Swap? In 2011 the National Retail Federation predicted that Americans would spend $462 billion during the holiday season. This year, they predict that we will spend $586.1 billion during the 2012 holiday season. Imagine the impact that we could have on the economy if we all purchased a few American made items for the holidays.
Noting the impact that that a small business could have, Vermont Woods Studios participated in an American made holiday office party. In addition, we reached out to our family, friends, and customers and asked them to take a pledge to support our country’s economy by purchasing goods made right here in the United States. Our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge caught the eye of the producers at ABC News, and we were invited to join Diane Sawyer in an episode of the Made in America series! Watch our staff and our challenge from 2011 on ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer.
Thanks to many supporters, especially ABC News, the trend of buying American from last year has turned into a full movement. The awareness consumers have, and the mindfulness of buying habits, has further established the importance of buying American Made goods. So, this year we are continuing this movement with full force. We will have an American Made office party, and each staff member at Vermont Woods Studios has taken the pledge to buy American Made this holiday season.
Here’s how you can support our pledge and join us in spreading the word about our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge.
1. Like us on Facebook. Stay connected to us throughout the holiday gift buying season. We’ll offer our support through making our followers aware of the variety of American Made holiday gift ideas that are available.
2. Visit our blog. We will be sharing ideas, research, and findings about buying American made holiday gifts.
3. Follow our American Made Pinterest Board. This is the easiest place for us to store gift ideas for you to repin and save to your own boards.
Join us! Take the pledge to buy American Made holiday gifts! Let’s see if we can make a difference buying American Made gifts for the holidays. Write about it in your blog. Share it on your Facebook. Repin US Made products on Pinterest. Write an article for your local newspaper. Email it to your Mom. See if your friends and co-workers will jump on board too. Together, we can do it. We can make a difference!