Vermont Woods Studios Handmade Furniture

mission

International Day of Forests 2014

March 21st, 2014 by Kelsey Eaton

International Day of Forests is held anually on March 21st as a way to raise awareness for sustainable forest management, conservation, and sustainable development of all types of forests for the benefit of our planet and for current and future generations.

Why Raising Awareness about our Forests is Important

Forests cover one third of the Earth’s land mass, performing vital functions around the world. Around 1.6 billion people – including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures – depend on forests for their livelihood.

Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than half of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. Forests also provide shelter, jobs and security for forest-dependent populations.

They play a key role in our battle against climate change. Forests contribute to the balance of oxygen, carbon dioxide and humidity in the air. They protect watersheds, which supply fresh water to rivers.

Yet despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, we are destroying the very forests we need to survive. Global deforestation continues at an alarming rate – 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually. Deforestation accounts for 12 to 20 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.” (UN)

Participating in International Day of Forests

Forests are a vital part of our local and international ecosystem. At Vermont Woods Studios, we’re proud to make our commitment to sustainable forestry the driving force behind our mission. We hope that by promoting sustainable wood products, our audience will become more aware of where their wood furniture comes from & choose not to support companies who practice unsustainable logging practices. We celebrate trees & forests each and every single day.

 For International Day of Forests, countries across the globe will celebrate trees and forests with a variety activities spanning from community level activities like film showings and tree plantings, to national and international campaigns through art, photography & social media. What are you doing to celebrate International Day of Forests? Let us know in the comments section or on Facebook!

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Just Released: New online tool tracks deforestation in ‘near real time’

February 28th, 2014 by Kelsey Eaton

Deforestation Tracker

“Highlighted in red, the new tool can show the scale of tree cover loss between 2000 and 2012″ — via BBC News

Providing solutions to rain forest deforestation is a central part of our mission  at Vermont Woods Studios. We’re inspired to do our part in making illegal logging and mass deforestation a thing of the past, so needless to say, we’re more than excited about this new tool that provides practically real time information on tree loss. Our furniture is never made from rain forest lumber, but we are looking forward to a day when other furniture (and various wood product companies) will join us in the mission for a more sustainable world.

According to BBC News, “Despite greater awareness around of the world of the impacts of deforestation, the scale of forest loss since 2000 has been significant – data from Google and the University of Maryland says the world lost 230 million hectares of trees between 2000 and 2012.”

Staggering Statistics: “Forest campaigners say this is the equivalent of 50 football fields of trees being cut down, every minute of every day over the past 12 years.”

As noted in the BBC article, one of the major problems regarding deforestation is the lack of accurate information. To take on this challenge of obtaining accurate and reliable information, ” the US based World Resources Institute (WRI) has led the development of GFW, using half a billion high resolution images from Nasa’s Landsat programme.”

This program will make it harder for illegal loggers to continue clearcutting without accountability or consequences, as this new technology is  “a near-real time monitoring platform that will fundamentally change the way people and businesses manage forests,” said Dr Andrew Steer from WRI…From now on, the bad guys cannot hide and the good guys will be recognized for their stewardship.

Tracking widespread illegal logging across the globe might seem like an impossible task, but “the technology is said to be easy to use and will incorporate information showing protected areas, logging, mining and palm oil concessions and daily forest fire alerts from Nasa.” 

The tool will involve a global support system of concerned groups, citizens, and politicians.  So “when tree losses are detected, alerts can be sent out to a network of partners and citizens around the world who can take action.”

So what does this mean for the wood industry, and the consumers who support it? 

According to Unilever CEO, Paul Polman, “As we strive to increase the visibility of where the ingredients for our products come from, the launch of Global Forest Watch – a fantastic, innovative tool – will provide the information we urgently need to make the right decisions.”

For more info, check out the original BBC article.

| 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. |

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2 Day Benefit Sale for WCHS!

February 22nd, 2014 by Kelsey Eaton

Contemporary Craftsman Furniture On sale

Roofus loves the Contemporary Craftsman low footboard bed he’s sitting on, and wants to let you know that its on sale!

While you might have noticed that we’re currently holding a bedroom sale, we’re also doing a special weekend benefit sale for the Windham County Humane Society! This weekend only, $50 from every sale will go towards this great cause. The Windham County Humane Society is a non profit organization that helps animals in unfortunate situations find loving homes.  This organization advocates for animals and we’re always happy to support that!

Browse our collections of American made furniture and feel good knowing that if you purchase this weekend, not only are you supporting a small American business– you’re also helping keep an animal safe, happy, and well fed!

 Want to learn more about WCHS ? Learn more at their website.

| 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, a 200 year old farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains. |

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Investing in the Community: VWS Donates to Windham County Humane Society

February 20th, 2014 by Kelsey Eaton

Vermont Woods Studios Mission

Loryn, our community outreach coordinator, is passionate about the animals and used to work with WCHS before coming to Vermont Woods Studios. She loves getting out into the community and helping out a good cause; both at work and during her free time.

Supporting good community causes is a big part of our mission, and it’s something that each of us at Vermont Woods Studios is passionate about personally. So it makes sense that we didn’t hesitate to get over to the Windham County Humane Society, even during a snowstorm. If there’s one thing that separates Vermonters from the rest, it’s our ability to completely go on with our day normally in weather conditions that the rest of the country panics about. That, and our dedication to helping out our neighbors, of course!

(For the record, none of us actually knew it would be snowing this much when we ventured out. Safety first!)

Yesterday, Loryn & I visited the humane society to drop off our donations to their Wags to Riches auction and fundraiser–and to pick up our tickets for the event! I even got a new dog tag, for my darling Chihuahua, Pappy!

The WCHS team was super appreciative of our donation, and emphasized how much community support matters to them. Without the kind support of businesses and community members, WCHS wouldn’t be able to work as hard and help as many animals as they do. The Windham County Humane Society “is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the safety and well-being of animals and enhancing the relationship between individuals and pets through adoption, education, advocacy, compassion and promotion of animal welfare.” They  help “stray, abandoned, neglected and surrendered pets by giving them a second chance at a healthy, happy life.”

We’re happy to support them, and are even more excited to attend the amazing Wags to Riches auction on March 1st. Loryn will be writing a blog about it when the date gets closer, so stay tuned!

If you’d like to contribute to WCHS, read more about ways to help out on their website!

 

| 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, a 200 year old farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains. |

 

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Supporting the Womens Freedom Center

January 18th, 2014 by Kelsey Eaton

You might not expect this from a small furniture company in Vermont, but two of us who work here are bellydancers! (I know, weird right?!) I started teaching classes in Brattleboro last summer, and Liz has been taking them with me ever since. Bellydance is a great way to build confidence, positive body image, and it’s a pretty great workout too!

Today, January 18th 2014, I am hosting a bellydance benefit show for the Womens Freedom Center of Brattleboro. The Womens Freedom center supports women who have been victims of domestic violence with Shelter, a 24 hour safety hotline, Support groups, community education, safety planning, and more! They have been a major part of the Brattleboro community and I’m so glad to be hosting this benefit for them.

What’s even greater is the fact that the Brattleboro community (surrounding towns included) have shown an overwhelming amount of support for our benefit show– including Vermont Woods Studios.

On Saturday, January 18th (today!) Vermont Woods Studios has offered to donate $20 from every order to go towards our benefit for the Womens Freedom Center!

If you’ve been thinking about making a purchase but haven’t had the motivation to buy, let this be your motivation & know that your furniture helped support a wonderful cause. Browse our collections of wood furniture.

Not ready to buy but still want to support the cause? Here’s how you can get involved!

 

 

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My Boss is a Cat

January 14th, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh

My Boss is a Cat

She’s fat, bossy and demanding but when it comes to tough decisions –nobody puts Pepper in a corner.   Article originally posted on medium.com

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

Susan: huh?

Dennis: sends selfie (above)

Susan: lol

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

Susan: Yet

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.

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This Is Why We Do It

January 1st, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh

Fine Furniture Store | Where Does Your Wood Furniture Come From | Stonehurst

This barred owl visited us at Stonehurst today, reminding us why we located our fine furniture store in the middle of Vermont’s Green Mountain Forest, rather than on a downtown street.   We want to give customers a way to experience the beauty of the forest we’re trying to conserve through the promotion of sustainable wood furniture.  (thanks to Nina for the owl photo!)

People ask me why on earth I would put a fine furniture store in the middle of nowhere, aka rural Vermont.  Finding people who are looking to buy American made sustainable wooden furniture is hard enough.  After all, customers typically have to wait 6-12+ weeks to have their furniture custom handcrafted and specialty shipped to their homes.  Plus… compared to imported furniture, American made furniture is more expensive.  With such a small number of people fitting our customer profile (willing to wait for their furniture to be handcrafted of sustainably harvested wood by Vermonters earning a living wage), wouldn’t it be smarter to have our store on main street in a big city with maximum exposure and traffic?

I’m sure that’s true for most fine furniture stores but at Vermont Woods Studios we’re on a mission to raise awareness about where your fine furniture comes from.  Wood furniture comes from the forest and we believe the people involved in all aspects of furnishing your home have an opportunity to show you how choosing sustainable furniture makes a difference: in forest conservation, global warming, clean air, wildlife preservation and in the way you feel when you’re sharing a meal at your table.

See this barred owl who visited us at Stonehurst today?  He’s able to be here because (under the direction of professional forester Lynn Levine) we’re managing 100 acres of forest for wildlife habitat.  We believe businesses have as much obligation as governments to conserve our planet’s resources and protect endangered species.  We believe our customers support that philosophy and want to see it in action.  As we venture into the new year we extend our thanks to them and pledge our continued efforts in the area of forest and wildlife conservation.

Come visit our sustainable furniture showroom at Stonehurst.  See first-hand how your choice of furniture can make the world a better place.

 

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American Made Furniture: Top 3 Styles in 2013

December 11th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh

2013, our first year at Stonehurst gave us another reason to study and analyze what our customers’ favorite American made furniture styles are.  With limited space in our showroom, we wanted to display the very best selection of Vermont furniture, as defined by customer purchases.  After looking through the sales statistics, we found these Top 3 American Furniture styles, which we’ll be featuring often at Stonehurst:

Shaker Furniture was the top selling style in 2013

Shaker Style Furniture

This Vermont Shaker bed, nightstand and chest are pretty accurate reproductions of the original Shaker style furniture crafted by communities of the United Society of Believers starting in the late 1700′s.  Born here in the Northeast, this American furniture style is a simple, utilitarian design characterized by straight tapered legs and mushroom-shaped wooden knobs.  Vermont furniture makers have become today’s authority on Shaker furniture and customers seeking a simple elegant, solid wood design have grown to love their work.  It’s our top seller and customers are customizing it in their choice of cherry, walnut, maple and oak woods (preference is in that order).  Sometimes customers will choose two contrasting wood colors like cherry and walnut or maple and walnut to trick it out– if there is such a thing for “Shaker furniture”.

Craftsman style furniture, handmade in Vermont | Stonehurst Fine Furniture Gallery

Craftsman Style Furniture

This Contemporary Craftsman Bedroom Furniture collection is a modern rendition of the American craftsman and “arts and crafts” furniture that became popular in the late 19th century and remained prevalent through the 1930s.  It’s handmade of real solid cherry wood with contrasting drawer pulls in solid walnut wood and reflects the true craftsmanship of this period.  The finish on this collection is a traditional hand-rubbed oil and wax.  If you like this contemporary craftsman style furniture, learn more about the details and craftsmanship here.

Mission Style Furniture | American Made in Vermont | Real Solid Wood | Oak, Cherry, Walnut, Maple

Mission Style Furniture

This mission sofa table and mission dining chair have the rectilinear design and heavy proportion characteristic of Mission style furniture which became popular in the late 19 century. At Vermont Woods Studios we have a traditional American Mission Furniture collection and a Modern Mission Furniture collection, both constructed of real solid woods in your choice of traditional oak or cherry, walnut or maple woods.

Stop by our new fine furniture showroom at Stonehurst anytime to see what we’ve got on hand in our customers’ favorite furniture styles: Shaker, Craftsman and Mission furniture.

 

 

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Fashion On a Budget — And Supporting a Great Cause

September 11th, 2013 by Michelle Rooks

Created in loving memory of Jessica Bolognani, Jessica’s Closet is dedicated to helping young women build confidence & self esteem as well as to promote good health & hygiene (after all, beauty begins on the inside!).

I love a good bargain. Being a family on a budget with two fashion-conscious daughters, it can be tough to be budget-smart and keep up with fashion trends. Enter the women at Jessica’s Closet in Wilmington, VT and their lovely dresses available for rent. I first heard of this gem when Douglas’ daughter found her prom dress there. Our turn came when we were invited to a wedding this summer at the Harvard Club in Boston. None of the women of the family was happy with the dresses she already had. We made the journey to Wilmington and were very impressed with the boutique we found there. More than 1200 dresses, long and short, in any color imaginable…and all the accessories to go with them. The cost? A donation of $10 is suggested to cover dry cleaning costs.

Jessica, daughter of founder, Debbie Bolognani, was an active young woman “with a smile that could light more than a room.” She died in a tragic accident in 2010. “She LOVED to dress up and was always willing to share her closet with others.” In her honor Debbie and her friends established Jessica’s Closet as well as a a scholarship fund and Jessica’s Locker which is dedicated to providing sports equipment to the youth of their community.

Just two of our selections for the big event.

The mission of Jessica’s Closet is to build confidence and self-esteem in young women.  They provide formal and semi-formal dresses to those who otherwise would not be able to attend homecoming, prom or other special events. If you have gently worn formal wear—donations of dresses, purses, shoes, and accessories are welcome!

My daughters and I spent about an hour at Jessica’s Closet. We had our own “stylist” and every dress was beautiful. It was difficult to make a decision and in the end, we took home more than we needed. The price was so reasonable and we didn’t buy dresses that may never be worn again. That is true sustainability.

While Vermont Woods Studios is known for beautiful, American-made furniture crafted from carefully harvested wood, we also believe in recognizing other individuals and organizations who have a mission and make a difference in their community. Debbie and her friends have done an amazing job of fulfilling Jessica’s legacy for helping others …because every girl deserves to feel like a Princess.  

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Caring for the Community: Kelsey & Sean do Meals on Wheels

August 17th, 2013 by Kelsey Eaton

Vermont Woods Studios fine furniture participates in meals on wheels!

Do you see my new friend behind me? :)

Every Friday Peggy goes to the local nursing home and picks up meals on wheels for local Vernon residents. But on Friday, Sean and I got to go out and meet some awesome senior folks from the area and deliver their meals on wheels! We handed out a weekends worth of cold and hot food to nine different people around the town. It was great to see how happy and appreciative they were of the food, and we were really glad that we got the experience to meet them and be a part of the program. It was interesting to see that for some people there was more than just the food to really look forward to… it was just being around someone who was eager to say hello and listen to a story or to (or three or more for some people!)

When I first applied to Vermont Woods Studios, one of the things that really excited me was the fact that the company is mission driven. And while our mission is about sustainability, caring for your neighbors (particularly those in need) is a practice of sustainability. When you form a connection with your community members and neighbors, even something as small as volunteering to drop off food to local elderly people once a week is improving your local, community environment. It’s helping people sustain healthy, comfortable lives, and ending senior hunger!

Programs like meals on wheels are so encouraging. It helps you see that the little things count so much, and it only takes one action to really make someones day! If you’re having a bad day, I’d challenge you to go out and do something nice for someone in need, it’s hard to feel bad when you are making someone else smile. :)

To get involved with your local meals on wheels program, visit the Meals on Wheels Association of America!

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