Vermont Woods Studios Handmade Furniture

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Every Dollar is a Vote: Sustainable Shopping Matters

August 29th, 2013 by Kelsey Eaton

Vermont Woods Studios encourages sustainable shopping.
Spending more time outdoors encourages reflection on your eco footprint! This is me enjoying nature in Poultney, VT.

My Opinion

Sustainability matters, it really does. Our planet is going through some major changes that I’m sure many of us have noticed– from entire species of animals being wiped out, to our rainforests being clear-cut, to the majorly devastating natural disasters occurring throughout the world. Big things are happening, and I don’t mean to scare anyone, but it has come time for us as people to take responsibility for our contribution to global climate change and its consequences. We have to start acting responsibly and be very conscious in our efforts to reduce our individual impact on the world!

 

It won’t be easy, but as a leading nation, it is up to Americans to set a positive example to the rest of the world! Can you envision a green future for the USA? A place where we manage our forests responsibly, care for our animals, & support sustainable business rather than greedy CEOs who allow child labor and unsafe factory conditions? A place where we take a second to think about what we are supporting when we make a purchase? A place where sustainable shopping is the norm? I can!

 

The tragedy that occurred in Bangladesh was extremely eye opening for me– especially when it comes to the companies who refused to agree to safer factory standards. It makes sense… these giant corporations are profiting majorly off of practices that are extremely harmful to the environment and the people who work for them. It’s unacceptable. I like to think that every dollar you spend is a vote, and my question is, who (and what) are you voting for?

 

I vote for companies with strict environmental standards, companies who believe that our future (and the future of our children, grandchildren, and beyond) is in our hands. I vote for companies who take responsibility and make positive efforts to decrease their environmental impact. I vote for companies who pay their workers fairly and don’t expose them to dangerous conditions. I vote for a green future, a happier, healthier future!

 

I challenge you to take a look around your home and think about where your products are coming from. Were they made in a factory overseas or by an American craftsman? Were they made from sustainably managed forests or were they made from wood harvested from the rainforest? Does the company you “voted” for have safe, ethical standards of pay and work conditions for their employees?

 

Just think about it. Literally envision your favorite items in your home being made, and the hands that created them. That’s the first step– just become aware that as consumers, we have the power to change the world. Every dollar is a vote!

 

 

 

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Update On Our Search For A New Home: Stonehurst

August 3rd, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh

 

Vermont-summer

This is part of the back yard of Stonehurst, the property we're trying to purchase for our new Vermont Woods Studios office and showroom.  The plan is to do a green renovation of the main farmhouse (not shown), creating a unique, luxury shopping experience for customers seeking Vermont's handcrafted sustainable furniture.

It's been well over a year now since we began our search for a new home for Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture. Our amazing realtor, Suzanne King of Masiello Realty in Brattleboro VT has been incredibly patient and helpful.  She's showed us dozens of possible properties and lived through the whole disappointing saga of Skyline, a property we fell in love with last year which did not work out for us.

Now we're working on acquiring Stonehurst, a beautiful old farmhouse property located right here in Vernon VT (that's just part of the backyard shown on the left.  Here's a photo of the main house). It's on 109 acres of forested land with scenic views all the way down to the Connecticut River.  It used to be a ski area, Pine Top.

Our plan is to do a green renovation of the property and transform it into a luxury, destination shopping experience for customers seeking Vermont's handcrafted, sustainable furniture.  What do you think?  Is this the kind of place you'd be interested in if you were shopping for fine wood furniture?  Let me know in the comments section below or on our Facebook.

 

 

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Buying Fine Furniture Online: Top 3 Tips For A Successful Purchase

July 31st, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh

 

Fine-furniture-online

Top 3 tips for buying fine furniture online: Buy from a fine furniture specialist, order white glove delivery and get a lifetime guarantee.

When I started Vermont Woods Studios seven years ago, most people told me that no one in their right mind would consider buying expensive fine furniture online.  But I would.  And I figured I was not the only one who preferred researching my purchases on my own rather than being "sold to" in a traditional furniture store.

 

If you're one of those people too, I'll offer some advice to help with your research.  Although we were one of the first, there are now literally hundreds of online stores selling fine furniture.  So here are my Top 3 Tips for Buying Fine Furniture Online:

 

BUY FROM A FINE FURNITURE SPECIALIST

Amazon, Ebay, YLiving, Sears, Wayfair and most big online stores carry "fine furniture".  But they also carry watches, silverware, desk accessories, umbrellas and cough drops.  So do you really trust them to know anything about your investment in fine furniture?  I don't think so.  Honestly there are so many things that can go wrong with a fine furniture purchase– you need to deal with someone who anticipates all possible issues involved in ordering, customizing, shipping and delivering your furniture.  Someone who will be immediately accessible and responsive if you get home from work and find a soaking wet box containing your new table or dresser on your doorstep.  Someone who will have already discussed delivery logistics with you such that something like that simply doesn't happen.

ORDER WHITE GLOVE SHIPPING AND DELIVERY

Many online "fine furniture" stores offer base prices that either do not include shipping or include "curbside shipping", which literally means the furniture is brought to your curb and you bring it into the house yourself.  Alternatively "white glove" shipping and delivery services bring your new furniture into your home, unpack it, assemble it, help you inspect it for possible shipping damage and remove the packaging materials.  You need this service not only to save your back and make sure your assembly is correct but also as a sort of "insurance policy" against shipping damage.  Even if it costs a couple hundred dollars extra, trust me– it's worth it.

GET A LIFETIME GUARANTEE

High quality, wood furniture makers offer a lifetime guarantee on their fine furniture– period.  This is your peace of mind regarding quality, especially when you're buying online. It takes the risk out of the deal.  If you're investing a substantial amount of money in fine wood furniture and your store won't guarantee it, go somewhere else.  Legitimate online fine furniture stores will offer the guarantee if you ask for it.

For more tips and advice on buying fine furniture online, visit our website and maybe even consider the Top 10 Reasons to Purchase Fine Furniture from Vermont Woods Studios.

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Buying Furniture Online: Top 5 Tips For A Successful Shopping Experience

April 10th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh

Buying Furniture Online | American Made | Handcrafted in Vermont

Buying Furniture Online | American Made | Handcrafted in Vermont

So you’re thinking about buying furniture online.  You routinely purchase books and clothes online, but furniture is different.  It’s a big investment– maybe about the same dollar value as a new computer system or perhaps much more.

What if you’re not happy with it?  Can you just send it back?  How do you know which online furniture stores you can trust?  This is a big decision so it’s worth the time to do a little homework before you buy.

The good news is that there are lots of reputable furniture retailers online, offering quality products at fair prices.  A few minutes of browsing through a furniture website can usually give you a good idea of whether or not it’s honest and reputable.  Here I’ll offer the Top 5 ways to tell…

Does the company focus on selling exclusively furniture or do they sell everything from pillows to pampers to produce?  The point here is that customizing, shipping and delivering furniture are specialties that require specialization.  There’s a big difference between FedExing a pillow and delivering and setting up a bedroom set in your home.  Furniture shipping and delivery is an exacting art and science.  Don’t expect it to be done well by an online department store.  Go with a furniture specialist.

Does the company provide detailed information about their products, who makes them, how they are made, what they are made of, directions for furniture care?  Spend some time studying this information on the company’s website
scrpaers steal content
Ask where the furiture is made and what it’s made of

Make sure to take into account shipping costs, taxes, and other fees when deciding on your purchase! Many online furniture stores offer free shipping but some do not. Make sure to take this into account when searching for the best prices.
Many times making a good decision rides a fine line between price and shopping at a reputable store.

http://www.techdirt.com/blog/casestudies/articles/20120330/13111518310/furniture-designer-fights-copying-busting-up-some-chairs.shtml

Ask for contact info on former customers in your area.

Read their blog

 

Dont trust review sites that have a low alexa rating, http://www.habitationofjustice.com/affiliate-marketing-scams

Get contact info and call

 

http://www.eonline.com/news/clint_eastwood_sues_furniture_company/307243?cmpid=rss-000000-rssfeed-365-topstories&utm_source=eonline&utm_medium=rssfeeds&utm_campaign=rss_topstories

Better Business Bureau – going obsolete http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/business-bureau-best-ratings-money-buy/story?id=12123843#.T4THaI6K0ko

 

google the name with “scam”

epinions

http://consumerist.com/2007/02/20-online-furniture-buying-tips-from-an-industry-insider.html

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Online Furniture Shopping: Customer Reviews, Ratings and Complaints Drive Continuous Improvement

December 7th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

 Furniture-reviews-onlineAs fate would have it, a customer called Vermont Woods Studios today with a serious and urgent problem, just as I was in the middle of writing this blog about customer reviews and ratings.  Although our ratings are generally excellent (see yesterday's customer review ratings) occasionally something goes awry.  So we constantly push ourselves, our craftsmen, our shippers and our vendors to do better and avoid future errors.

I thought today's issue might be a good illustration of what can go wrong with furniture deliveries and what our process is for resolving customer complaints.  Here's what happened:  a customer in Arizona ordered a king size Vermont Shaker Moon bed.  The next day a customer in Sacramento ordered the same bed in California king size.  Somehow, the beds were switched and today the CA king bed was delivered to the wrong customer… clearly a huge mistake on our part.

So getting the beds un-switched and delivered to the corrrect customer is the (relatively) easy part for us.  The hard part of resolving this issue is compensating the customers for their time, frustration and inconvenience.  People often have to take time off work to accept and inspect deliveries. Understandably they can get angry over this kind of mistake. 

Since every issue is different, we try very hard to understand each customer's situation and needs as we're seeking a resolution they'll be happy with.  Today, after discussing options with the customer we offered an immediate full refund if the customer wanted to return the bed or a cash payment of $400 to compensate for the inconvenience of having to wait for the correct bed to be delivered.  The customer  thought it over and decided to return the bed for a full refund. 

We're now working with our shippers and craftspeople to fine tune our systems and make sure this error doesn't happen again.

I'd be interested to get your feedback, either in the comments below or on our Vermont Furniture Facebook.  You can see from our customer reviews and ratings that Shipping and Delivery are our greatest challenges.  This is true not just for us, but for the furniture industry as a whole.  What I can say, is that even though there are occasional shipping issues, we'll do almost anything the customer asks to make things right.  That includes complete replacement, repair, refund, cash compensation and a bunch of other things that customers have requested.  I think that's reflected in the results for this question:  Would you purchase from Vermont Woods Studios Furniture again?  98.53% of customers said yes.  We're trying to improve that too.

 

 

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Made in America Furniture Sale: Back For The Holidays

November 29th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

Made-in-america-shoppingWe're celebrating our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge success with a store-wide 15% Off Fine Furniture Sale.  This has been such an exciting week for us, with the ABC World News crew spotlighting our efforts to get friends and relatives to "buy American" this Christmas shopping season.  Manjula and Dennis decided to share our revelry with a big sale– it's store-wide from tomorrow until December 13.

Don't forget to watch us (or set your DVR) tomorrow night on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer and then join with all of us who are promising to buy at least some American made gifts this Christmas– and be sure to get counted on Facebook! 

As a company that sells exclusively American made furniture (Vermont-made, actually) we're psyched to get this level of traction behind our push to create more American jobs.  As consumers, we have the power and what better time than Christmas (when we're each spending an average of $700 on gifts) to excercise that power!

 

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Phew… We Made It Through Our Day of Filming with ABC World News

November 22nd, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

Made-in-americaIt was only a couple days ago that Shannon ran into my office with a look of total disbelief on her face, saying that someone named Christine Brozyna, a producer from ABC World News with Diane Sawyer would like to talk to us about our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge

 

Wow!  I thought WE worked hard at Vermont Wood Studios.  In 5 days these people read all about us on the Internet, liked our company and our drive, dreamed up a segment about us for their national news show, gathered up a camera crew, drove up to Vernon VT and spent the whole day today filming our story.  It was a whilrwind and I'm not quite sure if I've been dreaming myself, but I have to say today was pretty exciting, either way.

 

 

Chad-woodruff-custom-furnitureMany thanks go out to all our friends in Vernon who came out to support us and be a part of the segment.  Here's how it went down: 

  •    We did a 10AM shoot at the Schoolhouse General Store with the new manager, Chad Mulverhill, his family and Cindy Falvey.  At first we were the only ones on scene so we all had to call everyone we knew, in desperation and beg them to rush down and help us make it look like a good crowd.  Our friends came through :)
  •     Then we migrated over to the Town Hall at noon for what Christine imagined as a "Huge" crowd scene.  Well, I guess huge is a relative term, but I can truthfully say this was a HUGE crowd for Vernon.  Linda Shippee had all the pre-school kids there with a Thanksgiving banner they had made.  Most of the town employees were there.  Several good people from VY came over.  And a ton of other people who wanted to support the project came… just to be nice and see what was going on.
  • Next was a 2pm segment at the Vernon Elementary School where the principal, Mark Speno let us be a part of the kids' Sock Hop, an amazing assembly in the cafeteria where the teachers we all know and love taught the chicken dance, the swim and the pony to the kids
  • Next stop– the Vernon Fire Station where Chief Todd Capan and 3 other brave fire fighters assembled in front of the camera, listened to our spiel and were good-natured enough to give a Made in America shout-out for the producers
  • The last shop was Chad Woodruff's Custom Furniture Workshop. Chad is one of Vermont's finest furniture makers and we are so lucky to be able to work with him.  The camera crew filmed Chad and his staff woodworking and also did a nice interview with Chad where we learned (among other things) that he can tell the difference between an imported piece of furniture and an American made piece from 10 feet away. 

Thanks also to the local media who came out to capture the event.  I love this behind the scenes video posted by Zach Stephens at The Brattleboro Reformer.

I hope you get to see all of this on Wednesday when it airs on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer at 6:30pm.  Everywhere we went today, the producers set up the scene so we were telling people about our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge and asking them to join us.  We honestly had no earthly idea how this was going to play out and we're so grateful to everyone for supporting us in our ignorance.

I can't image how they're going to boil 10 hours of filming down to 3 minutes but I trust that the genius of Christine and Eric Noll (the other producer) will prevail and everything will come out just fine.  That's Christine and Eric above with Tom and Mark, the camera crew.  They had us getting our picture taken holding the Made in America sign all day, so we wanted to turn the tables on them and get a photo of them holding a sign of our choice–  a promotional sign for Woodruff Custom Furniture

If you made it to this page, and even to the bottom of this page– we're sending out a big THANK you to all of you from ABC.  We look forward to seeing you again, closer to Christmas.  Come and check out all our American Made finds!

 

 

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Best Black Friday Furniture Sale… And All American Made

November 15th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

Black-friday-furniture-saleManjula and Dennis are in the next room fine-tuning this year's Black Friday Furniture Sale.  I can only eavesdrop at the moment– because they know I'm going to blog about the details as soon as I hear them.  Stay tuned and I will fill you in as soon as I know what's up.

In the meantime, check out our American Made Holiday Shopping Challenge.  Before you scoop up all those Black Friday bargains, check to see where the stuff is made and share any great "American made" finds with us on Facebook.

 

Here's another idea for your "American Made" Christmas shopping:  our furniture gift certificates.  You can purchase them in multiples of $100.  A pretty cool stocking-stuffer, don't you think? 

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Buying Furniture Online

September 17th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh

Vermont-shaker-sleigh-bed
Five years ago who would have ever even considered buying high end furniture online?  Probably not many but several factors have been changing that. Today you can buy almost anything online and the process for buying furniture just keeps getting better and easier.  Here are a few things to consider if you're shopping for fine furniture online:

  


handmade bed  
Quality, Style and Price
– Shopping online opens up a whole new world of choices when it comes to furniture quality, style and price.  Even if you're planning to buy your furniture at a local brick and mortar store, you'll benefit from researching these options online and learning how they affect each other.  You can also get an idea of what prices are fair and reasonable, as prices for the same piece of furniture can vary unbelievably from store to store.

 

 


Custom-table
Customization
– Big box stores don't typically offer customization but smaller local stores usually do and so do many online furniture stores.  A lot of our customers who live in Boston, Manhattan and other cities need to have their furniture customized to fit small spaces and we're happy to accommodate that.  Custom furniture is not necessarily any more expensive than catalog furniture, especially if we're working off an existing design that just needs to be sized up or down to fit into your space.

 


Satisfaction Guaranteed
Lead Time
– Buying furniture online often means factoring in additional lead time for crafting and/or shipping.  For example, at Vermont Woods Studios the average time between order placement and delivery to your home is about 6 weeks.  That can vary depending on the particular pieces of furniture ordered, the degree of customization and the customer's location. 

One last thing:  online furniture stores have had to really focus on customer service in order to survive.  The Internet provides such an accessible forum for reviews of our quality that there is no room for mistakes or less than stellar customer service.  This is a great thing for both customers and the industry.  It raises the bar for online and brick and mortar stores alike.

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