Are you the kind of person who makes New Years resolutions? What are you determined to do differently in 2014? With all the work we do here at Vermont Woods Studios in promoting American Made Furniture, you can probably guess that one of my resolutions is to buy more American made products next year. I’m not alone. We surveyed our customers earlier this year to find out why buying American made is so important to them. Have a look at the results:
Top 5 Reasons to Buy American Made Furniture
Local Jobs and Local Economies – The American furniture maker has suffered over the past 5 decades as most large, quintessentially American furniture companies moved to China, Vietnam and other third world countries. Consumers are weary of seeing their communities struggle to recover from the loss of skilled jobs. Small manufacturers like Vermont’s Lyndon Furniture, Copeland Furniture and Pompanoosuc Mills remained in the USA during the age of outsourcing and maintained their commitment to local communities. Their loyalty and integrity has not gone unnoticed.
Quality and Craftsmanship – American made furniture is well known for it’s high quality and craftsmanship. States like Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, Pennsylvania and Ohio have a long tradition of making heirloom quality furniture from local wood. In Vermont, fine furniture making has been a part of our heritage for over 200 years and that translates to superior quality, sophisticated style and great values in handmade furniture.
Reliable Customer Service – Ever try getting a piece of furniture fixed after purchasing it from IKEA or Pottery Barn? Not. That furniture is more than likely going to head out to the curbside rather than get repaired. American made furniture companies stand behind their quality, with many companies offering a lifetime guarantee.
Sustainable Furniture from Well Managed American Forests – Where does your furniture come from anyway? Americans have become more aware of where their food comes from over the past couple decades. Now it’s time to learn where other things come from, including wood furniture and flooring. As consumers become more aware of the link between imported wood furniture and rainforest devestation, they are seeing the value of acquiring sustainable furniture for their homes.
Healthy, Natural Furniture with Non-Toxic Finishes – American furniture companies are subject to strict consumer protection laws and regulations governing product safety as well as safety and health for the craftspeople making furniture. Consumers don’t want to worry about lead based paint or formaldehyde in the coatings of the furniture. American companies are leading the way in the area of safe, non-toxic furniture finishes.
Good reasons– and not exclusive to furniture by any means. Let’s hope 2014 brings renewed commitment to the Made in American movement. What are your New Years resolutions? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments section below.
All across the USA, craftspeople and those who love their work are celebrating American Craft Week October 4-13. In Vermont we extend our celebration to the whole month of October which the Governor has proclaimed American Craft Month.
Our friend Greg Worden at Vermont Artisans Designs on Main Street in Brattleboro was influential in making that happen. He’s also one of the founders of Craft Retailers & Artists for Tomorrow (CRAFT), the non-profit organization that sponsors Craft Week. Members of CRAFT are dedicated to presenting artistic work with one common characteristic– it’s handmade in the USA:
“American Craft enriches our homes, wardrobes, offices and public spaces. It contributes to our nation’s economy, our balance of trade, and the fabric of our national history. It is original, beautiful and enduring, so let’s tell the world!”
This seems like a good opportunity to publicly thank Greg for his leadership and tireless efforts in promoting the top artists and craftspeople in Vermont and throughout New England. If you love high end crafts and fine art but you haven’t already been to Greg’s Vermont Artisans Designs– put it on your to do list! Here’s a short video of Greg’s gallery. It’s worth a trip, as testified on his website by art lovers from across America.
American Pride is on high this week– especially with the 4th of July being just a few days away and all! This is pretty exciting for us because A) all of our products are made in the USA and B) we were recently featured in Nationalist Magazine, a fashion lifestyle magazine that features exclusively American made products, artists, and designers. Nationalist highlighted the fact that all of our products are environmentally friendly, sourced in the US, and true to Vermont Style! We were eager to collaborate with a team that is just as passionate about their ideals as we are. We’d like to extend our sincerest gratitude to the Nationalist team for featuring us in their publication!
The July issue of Nationalist mag is their first anniversary issue, and its full of great content for those of you who love style, design, and products that are made in America! Be sure to check out their most recent issue, our piece is on page 179-180!
Are you looking to buy American Made furniture? One of our customers mentioned yesterday that she finally found us at Vermont Woods Studios after searching high and low for furniture made in the USA. She was amazed at how difficult it is to ascertain where a piece of furniture is made.
Kind of like cars… it's nearly impossible to find a definition of US made furniture. That's because most furniture companies we think of as American are making their furniture overseas (for example, Bassett, Broyhill, Lanye, Lazy Boy, Ethan Allan, Thomasville, Pennsylvania House, Drexel, American Drew, Stanley and others). Rather than be up front about it, they will often complete the last manufacturing step or two (for example applying the finish) in the USA and will then state that their furniture is Made in the USA. They lobby against any sort of definitions for the American made label because it does not suit their interest.
Just so you know, though there are furniture makers left that really do make their furniture 100% in the USA. Vermont has become the hub of American furniture making over the last 30 years or so, as North Carolina companies have mostly gone overseas.
Of the 2000 or so Vermont furniture makers, I can think of only two that have a portion of their operations overseas. That says something about Vermont, don't you think?
We've been working hard to raise awareness about where your furniture comes from and how it is made. Part of our founding mission at Vermont Woods Studios is forest conservation and we've focused much of our attention on preservation of the world's rapidly disappearing rainforests.
Did you know that up to 90% of the furniture you see in American furniture stores today is made with wood that has been illegally clear cut from the rainforest? In fact the rainforest is being logged at a rate of about 1 football field per second to satisfy the world's insatiable demand for cheap furniture and flooring.
Hard to believe isn't it? But sadly it's true and along with loss of the forest we are losing many species of plants and animals. Scientists estimate we lose over 100 species every day just due to rainforest destruction.
Well, I guess our efforts (and those of many others) to protect the rainforest are beginning to have an effect because China and other overseas manufacturering hubs are beginning to find additional sources of lumber. Guess where they are getting enormous supplies of wood?
Would you believe Vermont? Yes and other places across the USA and Canada. So here's how it goes: logs are shipped from the USA to China. They are fashioned into low quality furniture by workers making about 20 cents/hour. Then the furniture is shipped back to America for sale where it will hold up for about 3-5 years before it's placed out on the curbside. Does that sound crazy to you? I guess that's what they call globalization.
But there are still many small furniture makers in the USA who are fighting to maintain our 200+ year traditions of craftsmanship, style and quality. Check them out before you head to Ashley Furniture or Bob's Discount. You'll pay more up front but in the long run you'll save big time, buying high quality American made furniture that will be in your family for generations.