Vermont Woods Studios Handmade Furniture

shipping

Shipping It Out

January 3rd, 2013 by Liz Francese

Maybe the best things in life aren’t free…

Usually when we see the word ‘Free’ it is associated with a couch that belonged to someone’s great aunt and is now sitting on the curb in your neighborhood hosting exposed springs and splintered upholstery.  As a result of this common association, we’re apt to raise a skeptical eyebrow at the word.  Is anything really free?  Sure, you can take the couch at no cost, but you’ll be paying for the tetanus infection later.

Rest assured, there is one place where you can trust ‘Free’, and that’s right here at Vermont Woods Studios.  Our free shipping guarantee is applicable to most locations in the lower 48 states- that means you too, California!  And just because it is free does not mean it’s cheap!  Nay, we only trust our furniture to ship with the best.   Shipping companies and types  will vary with individual customer orders and needs as we see fit, guaranteeing the best shipping match for you and your furniture.

White Glove Delivery

Our cream of the crop delivery service comes wrapped in a blanket and delivered by our go-to shipping guys- Clark & Reid.  These guys know furniture- how to carry it, how to assemble it- and they do it with finesse and professionalism.  For local deliveries, however, Vermont’s own Green Mountain Messenger may be the ones at the door boasting the amicable attitude that comes standard with a Vermonter.

Another noteworthy white glove shipper we place our faith in is Manna Distribution Services- another good name for them would be Road Runner (we hear that’s taken though).   With them, the furniture may not come blanket wrapped but it will be there fast!

Threshold Delivery

For smaller orders, like a single coffee table or nightstand, or orders from our Copeland line, our standard shipping treatment is threshold delivery.  It means exactly what it sounds like- it is delivered right to the threshold of your home.  This is usually done by the popular shipping guys like UPS or FedEx, though we use a few others for larger pieces.  Occasionally we have a real do-it-yourself customers who insist on this sort of delivery, so they can put their new furniture together themselves.

Far Out Shipping

As I said above, free shipping only qualifies to most places in the U.S but those really determined to get a piece of the Vermont Woods Studios pie are more than welcome to contact us about shipping.  We’ve successfully shipped to Hawaii, Alaska and Canada and we’re even in the process of sending a Dana Thomas Grand Extension Dining Table to Kuwait!

 

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Behind the Veil: Customer Service- Part One

December 3rd, 2012 by Liz Francese

Liz, Sean and Heather: Fine Furniture Sales and Customer Service Team

After you purchase fine furniture at Vermont Woods Studios, your order is in the hands of Liz, Sean and Heather– our Customer Service Team.  In spite (or because) of their occasional joking around, I don’t think you could find a more capable team to look after your interests and ensure a safe, smooth delivery to your home…          -peggy

Though I proudly work as a customer service representative at Vermont Woods Studios, like most everyone here, I have multiple responsibilities- like coordinating our shipping department.  When I say ‘department’, I mean  myself and ample help from my co-workers, Heather and Sean.  And when I say ‘coordinator’ it should be understood I’m not blanket wrapping or boxing furniture or doing any heavy lifting (in the physical sense)- no, my job more consists of generously detailed spreadsheets conveying who has what going where.  Of course, this is the most plain way to relate the job of shipping coordinator- behind every spreadsheet entry is a person that myself or one of my close seated co-workers has likely spent time helping to carefully select the furniture destined to become heirlooms in their lives.

 

Perhaps you’ve been one of these people or you soon will be.  Either way, you may be curious what happens after the phone calls and email exchanges are done and your furniture crafting is under way.  I’ll start by saying you are never forgotten.  There may not be a group of Einsteins providing customer service here (though we certainly know a heck of a lot about furniture) but we have an inspired sense of memory when it comes to recalling individual customers- their personalities, orders and  particular needs.

 

Order processing, peer checking, communicating with craftsmen, booking delivery and the occasional office party barely begins to highlight the ins and outs of our department.  Want to explore the caverns of the Vermont Woods Studios world?  Check back every other week for a detailed (possibly wordy) exploration of our day to day.  Next week features  Behind the Veil: Customer Service- Part Two; the surprisingly interesting (in the opinion of some) order processing process.

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Movers and Shakers: Fine Furniture Shipping and Delivery

October 18th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh

Shaker Furniture: Moving, Shipping and Delivery

Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun when this customer sent us a nice note about how her Shaker furniture was delivered so professionally by our shippers. Clark and Reid is an award-winning executive moving company that also ships fine furniture for Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Vermont Woods Studios. We include this service in the base price of our furniture (Free Shipping).

Last week we received an enthusiastic email from a family in California thanking us for the great job our moving company (Clark and Reid) did with the delivery of their Vermont made Shaker bedroom set:

“I wanted to let you know what a wonderful experience I had with your movers. I had one of your beds shipped to my vacation home in the Sierras. Because the road is very steep and winding, Clark and Reid needed to bring the bed in a special shuttle, the cost of which they covered.  Also, I wasn’t able to be present at the house at the time a driver was available to make the delivery, and was able to arrange to have a concierge service meet the driver and let him into the house to assemble the bed. Clark and Reid offered to reimburse me for the cost of the service (up to $75).

I was told by the concierge that the driver was very professional and efficient. He arrived on time and handled all the details of moving and assembly. It was a pleasure to purchase furniture from you and to work with such an excellent shipper.  Thank you so much!         Best Regards,   Debbie D

We love hearing your Vermont made furniture stories and reviews, whether they’re about the delivery experience or the good times you share around the dining table with family and friends.  Keep ‘em coming!  You’re helping us make our systems better.  In this case, the comments went to straight to Clark and Reid where the driver and his manager reviewed them together (maybe someone will even get a well-deserved raise).  Other comments have helped us improve the quality of our Shaker furniture and the logistics needed to get it from the forest to your living room.

So help us Movers and Shakers by sending in feedback about your new Vermont handmade furniture.  Use the comments section below, email us or connect using our Facebook.  Thanks in advance for your feedback!

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Packaging and Shipping Your Fine Furniture: White Glove or DIY?

May 16th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh

Furniture-box-1

Our new file cabinet was just delivered DIY from Copeland Furniture. This is the "outside" box.  It took 4 of us to get the file cabinet out of it.

 

We received our first fine furniture order from Alaska last week and that makes the 50th state we will have delivered furniture to.  Once the bedroom set arrives safely, we'll have to have celebrate this milestone with a little party. 

 

It's actually a pretty exciting accomplishment for a small company like Vermont Woods Studios Furniture.

 

It turns out that packaging and safely shipping your fine furniture is the most challenging part of our business and we're always working to make the system work better, faster, cheaper and stress-free.

 

 

 

Furniture-double-boxing

DIY delivery requires double boxing with lots of padding for the edges and corners.  Upacking can be difficult.  The file cabinet inside weighs almost 100#.

Our preferred method of shipping fine furniture is to blanket wrap it and send it "white glove delivery" with the world's number one, award-winning furniture shipper:  Clark and Reid.  They are the best.  When you receive your furniture from C&R, they carefully bring it into your home, set it up wherever you like, help you inspect it for any shipping damage and remove the wrapping.  You do nothing but smile. 

 

However Clark and Reid is not the fastest or the cheapest.  So when customer's are in a hurry and need to save money, we can sometimes (depending on size) package and ship their furniture via common carrier or even FedEx to get it there faster and cheaper.  We call it DIY delivery and it has just recently been made possible with advances in packaging technology.

 

If your order is eligible for DIY packaging and shippping, we'll let you know.  As you can see, it's not your typical UPS delivery.  It took 4 of us to wrestle this filing cabinet out of the box. 

 

 

 

Furniture-3-layer-packing

Finally we get to see what's inside! The 3rd layer of packaging consists of more edge and corner protectors and shrink wrap.

I always try to emphasize to our customers that unpackaging and moving solid wood furniture is not easy.  It's heavy (often >100#) and if it has doors or drawers, you want to be especially careful not to damage or unbalance them.  If you're a "handyman" DIY can save you money and time but for most customers I wholeheartedly recommend the luxury and peace of mind that white glove delivery brings.

 

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Online Furniture Shopping: 2011 Customer Satisfaction Survey Results

December 6th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

Furniture-reviews-ratingsYesterday I mentioned our Vermont Woods Studios Furniture Customer Satisfaction Survey.  As far as I know we are the only company in the furniture industry that's willing to publish candid customer reviews and survey rating results. 

 

It's not all perfect and I'll admit, I'm more than a bit uncomfortable publishing it.  Not because we're doing badly (we're actually doing great and getting better every day), but because there is much discussion needed to interpret the results. 

 

I'll be writing a number of additional posts over the next few weeks to discuss the details behind the numbers as well as our plans for improving them as we move forward.  I have to ask you to read the whole series of posts or you won't have an accurate picture of our customer reviews, and how they fit in with the broader context of the furniture industry.

 

I welcome your comments and suggestions throughout the process.  You can post them in the comments section below or on our Vermont Furniture Facebook.  To all of those customers who contributed to this assessment, we say thanks as we continue to work through implementing your input.

 

So… here's how customers rated our performance in the following areas:

   *   Would you purchase from Vermont Woods Studios Furniture again?

  1. Yes – 98.53%
  2. No – 0%
  3. No answer or not applicable – 1.47%

   *  Ease of ordering

  1. Excellent or very good – 97.1%
  2. Neutral – 2.9%
  3. Needs improvement – 1.45%
  4. Unsatisfactory – 0%
  5. No answer or not applicable – 0%

   *  Quality of furniture

  1. Excellent or very good – 94.03%
  2. Neutral – 1.49%
  3. Needs improvement – 0%
  4. Unsatisfactory – 0%
  5. No answer or not applicable – 4.48%

   *  Shipping and delivery

  1. Excellent or very good – 89.55%
  2. Neutral – 2.99%
  3. Needs improvement – 4.48%
  4. Unsatisfactory – 2.99%
  5. No answer or not applicable – 0%

   *  Response of customer sevice personnel

  1. Excellent or very good – 86.95% (many online orders require no interaction with customer service personnel, thus the 13% response for NA)
  2. Neutral – 0%
  3. Needs improvement – 0%
  4. Unsatisfactory – 0%
  5. No answer or not applicable – 13.04%

So there you have it– the good, the bad and the ugly of our customer satisfaction survey results.  Please check in over the next few weeks to see further details about what's behind the numbers and how we're working to continuously improve them.

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Fine Handmade Furniture: Shipping and Home Delivery

September 24th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh

Whether you're buying fine handmade furniture at a local store or an online furniture store, you'll want to be able to feel relaxed and confident that your furniture is going to arrive safely at your home, in the same pristine condition that it left the showroom or shop in.  Believe it or not, we spend almost half of our time working with the best professional shippers in the business to make sure that everything goes smoothly with the white glove delivery of your furniture.

 

Slab-table-walnut
The cold cruel fact about high quality handmade furniture is that it's going to take awhile.   We're always looking for ways to improve our efficiency and decrease our lead times though.   So far, we've been able to get it down to an average of about 9 weeks from the date of purchase to the date of delivery.  That may sound like a long time and we're continuously trying to improve, but the reality is that quality does take time.  Here's why:

When you order a piece of furniture from Vermont Woods Studios, it is built to order just for you.  Typically your craftsman will have other orders in his or her queue so it may be a few weeks before he begins crafting your furniture.  Once begun, it may take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to complete the crafting process, depending on the degree of complexity and the type of finish you have selected.

white glove shipping and delivery
As soon as we receive a planned completion date from your craftsman, we begin arranging for our award-winning white glove shipper to pick up your order. If you live in the Northeast, shipping can take as little as a few days, whereas those in California may have to plan for up to 5 weeks (worst case) for shipping. 

We do have shippers who can deliver faster, but with speed comes increased risk of damage.  It's not an absolutely intolerable risk, but it's one we like to discuss with you upon order placement so you can make an informed choice.

And finally, if you're in a hurry you are not out of luck.  You can still order handmade furniture and have it delivered to your home in about a month if you choose from our Quick Craft Furniture Collection.  These are our most popular items that craftsmen make all the time so they can be ready FAST.

Give us a call and we'll find a way for you to get the beautiful handmade furniture you've been longing for within a reasonable time frame.  And remember the furniture you order from Vermont Woods Studios will be in your family for generations.  When you receive it I'm willing to bet you'll say, "it was worth waiting for".

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