Vermont Made Furniture Is Thriving
Vermont furniture seems to be getting famous these days. During a down economy when housing sales (traditionally the driver for furniture sales) are in the ditch, Vermont made furniture continues to increase in popularity. As a company that sells exclusively Vermont made furniture, we chat daily with customers who inquire about all the details of our state’s signature craft.
So I’ve begun to compile the essence of these conversations into what we’re loosely calling a Vermont Furniture Encyclopedia. It’s posted on our website and includes topics like the History of Vermont Made Furniture, Vermont Furniture Makers, Vermont Furniture Styles, Sustainability and Vermont Made Furniture, Woods Used in Vermont Furniture Making, Education and Training, Vermont Furniture Quality and Craftsmanship, and How to Find and Purchase Vermont Made Furniture.
Some Vermont Furniture History
Check it out. You may be surprised to learn that Vermonters have been crafting wood furniture for over 250 years. Back in the 18th century, wood furniture, cutting boards, bowls, bowling pins, baskets, drumsticks, toys, musical instruments, golf tees, cheese boxes, dolls, gun racks, Scrabble tiles, snowshoes, clothes pins, and wooden shipping boxes were (and continue to be) all products of a thriving Vermont woodworking industry.
And in modern times, during the last half century, when furniture companies from across America began outsourcing top American brands (including Ethan Allen, Bassett, Broyhill, Thomasville, La-Z-Boy and Lane) to Asia, Vermont companies stayed home, remaining true to their values of quality, community and local economies. You’ll find a list of notable contemporary Vermont furniture makers, sorted by size and specialty in the encyclopedia. Plus learn fun facts like which state ranks #1 in furniture makers per capita.
We’ll consider the encyclopedia a work in progress and I invite others in the Vermont Furniture World to contribute. Send comments in the section below, on our Facebook or by emailing me at peggy@VermontWoodsStudios.com.
Meet the Fab Five
In recruiting for six Vermont furniture sales and marketing positions this year, we reviewed over 400 resumes and interviewed dozens of excellent candidates. It’s been a challenging task to find the combination of skills and talent needed to run our online fine furniture gallery. So we feel extremely fortunate to have been able to hire the following superstars for our team: Heather Gantt, Loryn Dion, Heather Barrett, Liz Francese and Sean Henry.
Made in America Holiday Shopping in Brattleboro, Vermont
This photo was taken last week when we tasked the freshmen with providing photographic inspiration at the request of Diane Sawyer and the ABC World News crew. If you followed our activities at this time last year, you’ll remember that national news team spent a day filming our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge at our office and all around Vernon, Vermont. This year they were curious about our progress and wanted to learn about any new people we had hired to help grow this American made furniture business.
The Fab Five were most gracious in accommodating ABC’s request for photos and videos so I thought I’d share a few of them here on the blog.
Visit our Facebook to see more photos and our picks for 2012′s best Made in America Christmas gifts.
I can’t believe how lucky we’ve been at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture this year. Somehow we’ve been able to find 6 new staff members, all extraordinary in their capabilities and drive, not to mention passion for our green mission. If you’ve ever owned or worked at a small company, you know it’s not easy to find just the right professionals to bring on board. Small businesses need people who can work under pressure but go with the flow, leap tall buildings in a single bound and take out the trash, be friendly to customers and co-workers but clam up and put their nose to the grindstone when it’s time to crank out the work. Already Sean seems to be juggling those things with finesse.
He’s working for Douglas alongside Liz and Heather G as a Sales and Customer Service Representative. I’ll try to give you some inside scoop on him, so you can surprise him if he answers the phone next time you call. Let’s see. Before Sean came to us, he owned and operated his family business–one of Brattleboro’s favorite restaurants, the SteakOut. Owning a restaurant? That was our first clue that he knew how to work hard.
Sean holds a BS degree in Business Administration from the University of Vermont where he studied financial and office management. While working his way through school, he sold Cutco knives. Now I love Cutco products (they’re made in America, by the way) but they’re not exactly an easy sell. When was the last time you happily welcomed a door-to-door salesman into your home? Right. So anyone who can sell anything door to door gets my respect.
Liz and Heather have been trying to dig up some dirt on Sean (it’s so competitive around here) but at this point– still nothing. It’s early though so stay tuned. They’ll manage to unearth something good.
And speaking of Liz… could it be that she actually believed Douglas when he said we were interviewing for a personal assistant for her? Hmmm. That could explain why she keeps asking Sean to get her coffee and shine her shoes.
Stay up to date on Sean’s adventures with Liz, Heather and other enigmatic personalities at Vermont Woods Studios by visiting our Facebook now and then.
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy
This year has flown by so fast at Vermont Woods Studios, it’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is here already. It’s a good time to slow down and reflect on all the blessings we’ve received this year. Our small furniture business and our green mission have been able to move forward by leaps and bounds, in spite of a few setbacks. We are grateful to all our customers, our furniture makers, shippers, vendors, family, friends and neighbors. We’re grateful to Elaine and Bill Ellis who sold us the Stonehurst property, our future fine furniture showroom. But most of all, we are grateful to our wonderful staff who have poured their hearts and minds in to this ambitious venture, amidst the extraordinary challenges a small business faces during these economic times. They make it all happen, they give it their very best and they’re pretty fun to work with too!
So on behalf of this fine Green Team at Vermont’s Online Fine Furniture Store, Ken and I wish you and your family a very happy and relaxing Thanksgiving.
Although I’m not going to encourage shopping on Thanksgiving Day, I do feel like I should tell you that our Black Friday sale has started. No rush though. It runs through today, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Shop till you Drop Sunday and Cyber Monday.
I spent most of today working with a “high functioning team”of professionals at Vermont Woods Studios. We were focused on getting Copeland’s new Moduluxe Bedroom Furniture ready for launch but it turns out we also had a lot of fun. Dennis, Heather B, Loryn, Trenton, Tristan and I crammed ourselves into a small office and hunkered down to crank out the work. I am amazed at how much we got done. We still have a few odds and ends to tie up, but we should be able to publish the new Moduluxe pieces by Friday at the latest.
Contemporary Modular, Sectional Bedroom Furniture
Copeland unveiled Moduluxe at the annual Fall Furniture Market in High Point, North Carolina last month and it immediately hit the best seller list. I daresay it has already spawned several knock-offs, one of which is coming out under a Brad Pitt label, believe it or not. The Moduluxe idea is to provide sectional, modular wood furniture for a built in look. There are 33 mix and match pieces to choose from. Integrated nightstands are adjoined to the bed headboards and various size chests and dressers latch onto the other side of the nightstands. Pieces can be configured in many customizable designs to best fit your space. Corner pieces even allow your design to wrap around the room! Modern style is the ticket with clean, contemporary lines and tons of storage space. There’s even an optional platform storage bed. A place for everything. About the only thing there’s no room for is an excuse not to have a tidy bedroom.
Check back later this week for more details on this Vermont made, solid wood bedroom set.
And thanks to everyone on our team for doing such a great job getting Moduluxe off the ground today!
Top 3 Reasons To Buy Hardwood Furniture
High quality, real solid hardwood furniture is expensive, no doubt about it. It’s not for everyone. College students are more likely to find suitable furniture at IKEA- that’s for sure. But if you landed on this blog post, you’re probably a homeowner looking to feather your nest for the long term, right? Well we talk to people like you everyday and so we’ve learned a few things about why our customers are looking to buy hardwood furniture.
First – It’s Beautiful
Check out our cherry and walnut hardwood bedroom furniture set. You just don’t get this kind of smooth, refined patina on pine, spruce or other soft wood furniture. When hardwoods are sanded properly and finished with a clear, non-toxic lacquer or hand-rubbed natural oil, you can run your hands over the wood and it almost feels like skin. No softwood, metal or plastic furniture can give the same tactile sensation that high quality, handmade hardwood furniture does.
Second – It’s Durable and Lasts a Lifetime
Hardwoods like cherry, walnut, maple and oak wood are from deciduous trees that grow slower than coniferous softwood trees like pine, spruce, larch and fir. Thus hardwoods are typically more dense, heavy, durable and, well… hard. They also are fairly non – resinous and close grained so they don’t leak sap and split like pine does. If you take care of your hardwood furniture it will hold up beautifully for many years, even many generations. We are confident enough in our hardwood furniture to back it with a lifetime guarantee.
Third – It’s a Natural, Organic Part of a Healthy Home
Many people, especially those with young children are looking for natural, organic furniture to be a part of their healthy homes. They often talk to us about where their furniture comes from too. Hardwood furniture that’s made in America is typically built with wood that’s sustainably harvested from well-managed American forests. Families enjoy breaking bread over a dinner table that’s made in harmony with nature.
Bonus Reason! It’s Economical in the Long Run
OK, I said Top 3 Reasons, but here’s a fourth that I just can’t walk away from. In the long run, high quality hardwood furniture is cheaper to buy than other types of furniture– even IKEA’s. Consider how many times you’ll have to buy a bedroom set or dining furniture over your lifetime if you’re always buying something cheap. We’ve had lots of customers who tell us they’ve been sleeping on a mattress on the floor for a few years while they save up to buy a high quality hardwood bed. I can relate to that.
What are your reasons for searching for hardwood furniture? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook!
If you’ve called us at Vermont Woods Studios to ask about fine furniture, place an order or just find out more about our company, there’a a good chance you talked to Elizabeth Francese. Liz and Heather Gantt are our “front office” Sales and Customer Service crew, working with customers on the phone, via online chat, email and in person.
It’s hard to believe that Liz has been here for 4 months! And I’m just now getting around to introducing her to you. Well, it’s not entirely my fault since she (like everyone else around here) isn’t all that crazy about being in the spotlight. It’s possible, actually that she’s been dodging me about this blog post.
Anyway, if you’ve been working with her on a furniture order, you already know how personable, diligent and smart Liz is. She’s a quick study and that’s good because the learning curve is pretty steep around here and the stakes are high. For example, if your furniture has already been crafted and you’re waiting for shipping and delivery, Liz is the logistics wizard who makes all that happen. She coordinates between you, your craftsman and our shipper to ensure your furniture arrives on time and in pristine condition. It can be a high-pressure job but she’s up to the task and we’re getting a lot of feedback from happy customers who are pleased with the results.
While introducing Liz though, maybe I should share a few things you won’t already know. Well… she’s a graduate of Keene State College with a BA in English and a minor in art. While in school Liz volunteered for alternative Spring Break projects in New Orleans (post Hurricane Katrina, painting houses in poverty stricken areas) and Moab UT (removing invasive species from public lands and making trails).
Locally she’s volunteered in many environmental projects, including cleaning the Ashuelot River and participating in the Solar Festival. Oh and I don’t want to forget this little known fact– Liz used to work at the Fantastic Umbrella Factory, which sounds like a fascinating place you might want to visit one of these days.
So that’s the inside scoop on Liz Francese. She’s been an extremely competent and fun-loving addition to our group and we’re feeling very lucky to have her here at Vermont Woods Studios. Next time you call, ask Liz what she’s up to and how her day is going. You’re sure to get an interesting answer!
During autumn many people travel to see the foliage and appreciate the beauty of the trees. This is the time of year when we become hyperaware of the trees surrounding us. With over 80% of Vermont being forested, we are constantly inspired by our forests and our craftsmen who can preserve the natural beauty of the tree while turning it into a functional piece of furniture. Our combined love of nature and furniture is why we only sell furniture made of hardwoods that are harvested through sustainable forestry practices. Because our furniture is custom made for you, the average lead time is about 8 weeks, but believe us, it’s worth the wait! You will be able to enjoy the timeless Vermont styling and the beauty of our natural wood furniture for a lifetime (it’s guaranteed)! If you order during our Home Office and Living Room Furniture Sale your furniture will arrive right around the new year, making it the perfect self-gift to start the year off right. You will have beautiful new furniture that you can feel good about!
Our week long Vermont Made Home Office and Living Room Furniture Sale starts now. This is your chance to save up to 20% plus free shipping on our heirloom quality furniture. Your furniture can be crafted in your choice of natural Cherry, Maple, Walnut, or Oak woods. Every piece is crafted right here in Vermont with sustainably harvested hardwoods, and made just for you! Shop for your new Home Office and Living Room furniture securely, easily, and conveniently from our online gallery. Do you have questions about our Vermont Made, solid wood furniture? Feel free to use our Live Chat option from our online gallery (located in the top right corner), or give us a call at 888-390-5571. The sale ends on Tuesday, October 16th at midnight.
Explore The World of Real Wood Furniture
Columbus Day is a favorite time to shop for home decor as everyone’s beginning to realize that the holidays are right around the corner. If you’ll be entertaining family and friends for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or another holiday you may be shopping for furniture today. No doubt, like Columbus, you’re looking for America’s best. So set your sails for Vermont.
In the Green Mountain State you’ll find the best real wood furniture anywhere in the USA. Vermont is home to some 2000 small custom furniture makers located throughout our state as well as several mid-size, high end furniture manufacturers like Copeland Furniture and Lyndon Furniture.
Vermont style furniture is known for organic solid wood, clear natural finishes and fine craftsmanship. The favorite hardwood among craftspeople and customers alike seems to be American Black Cherry as shown in the handmade Shaker dining table above, although you’ll also find a variety of other North American woods including walnut, oak and maple.
With so many American furniture brands now making their furniture overseas, Vermont has quietly become the Real Wood Furniture Capital of the USA. I know of only one Vermont furniture company that moved its operations overseas back when the Asian exodus was taking place and that was Ethan Allen. The other Vermont furniture businesses have continued to operate successfully in the USA, remaining true to their communities, their employees and their quality.
You can arrange a tour to visit the best of our Vermont furniture makers and see the difference that real wood and authentic American craftsmanship make. Columbus Day is a great time to make the trip! Start here with this Map of Vermont Master Furniture Makers and maybe swing by our Vermont Woods Studios Furniture Showroom in Vernon VT on your route. Then let us know if you too, see Vermont as America’s best place to shop for the real thing in USA made furniture.
September has arrived, and with it, the feeling that fall
has begun. In Vermont, the signs
of fall are: pumpkins replacing summer berries at the farm stands, pick your
own apple signs, and of course, leaves coloring our landscape. The last of the
harvest brings us some of our favorite seasonal treats, like apple cider and
pumpkin pie. With cooler weather approaching, there will be a shift to inside
dining to enjoy these seasonal decadents with family and friends. It is time to
start thinking about retiring your barbeque grill and patio furniture for the
season, and preparing your dining room for fall feasts. What better way to
spruce up your dining room than getting some new furniture? So, we're making
that easier by putting all of our hardwood dining furniture styles, including
modern, contemporary, traditional, and shaker on sale until September 18th.
Save up to 20%, plus free shipping and a lifetime guarantee. See our online gallery for details.