March 23rd, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
I'm trying not to feel too wounded. We got a call from World Wildlife Fund WWF today. I've been a contributing member and ardent promoter of their work since I graduated from college and got my first full time job in 1980. After 31 years of enthusiastic support, they called me today to tell me that I'm not allowed to mention their name on my Vermont Woods Studios Furniture website anymore.
See… we recently launched a Save the Tiger campaign to raise awareness of the fact that all species of tigers are endangered and some are on the brink of extinction. Their habitat is being destroyed and to some extent it's because corrupt timber conglomerates are clear-cutting the forests they live in and using the wood for cheap imported furniture and flooring that's sold in the US and Europe. We oppose that and so does WWF. We support their Save the Tiger fund and we encourage furniture shoppers to buy American furniture made from sustainably harvested American wood.
Well I guess they don't like their name being connected to a commercial venture. I understand their concern about the fact that there are dirt ball websites out there that might use their name dishonestly, but really. I asked WWF to spend 5 minutes on our website and tell me we're one of those guys. They agreed that our committment to conservation seems genuine but then noted that in order to be considered WWF partners and refer to them on your website, a minimum "6 figure donation" is required annually along with a long list of other things. Actually, I think we would be OK with the other requirements but $100,000 is equal to 1/6 of our total revenue (not profits) last year. So now I have to face the fact that I've been summarily rejected by my all time favorite charity– an organization that had a profound influence on the whole concept defining Vermont Woods Studios Furniture. How sad is that?
I'm going to finish crying in my beer tonight. Tomorrow I'll be over it and moved on to other issues. But tonight I can't help feeling a bit jaded about WWF and their corporate partnership program. What do you think?
March 2nd, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
Rebecca has been chatting up a storm on our new Live Chat toy at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture. Manjula installed a test version of it a couple weeks ago to see how it would work and customers loved it. So she installed it permanently the other day and it's been awesome.
Go to any page of our online furniture store and click on LIVE CHAT up in the top right navigation. Don't worry– it's not one of those in-your-face chats where a guy busts across your screen and throws a high-pressure sales pitch out at you. It's just a chat box where you can text questions to Rebecca and save yourself the time of looking them up.
Our website has almost 1500 furniture items now and another 500 or so pages of information about our craftsmen, our wood, our mission and so on. We try to make it easy to find what you're looking for but we know your time is precious. Plus we know you're probably shopping at work — hahaha and we certainly want you to be able to shop there without geting noticed. Live Chat is so discreet
So save some time and check in with Rebecca on our Live Chat. We're looking forward to hearing your feedback.
February 13th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
We've been busy lately at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture– finally moving into our new showroom in Vernon, Vermont. Yeah!!! It's taken over a year to recover from the fire last Christmas Eve that took our wonderful friend Annette's home and farm– and along with it– our showroom.
But Douglas and Rebecca have been working the last few weekends– moving all or our electronics and office systems to our new space. Ken and the boys helped move new desks and bookshelves in. This week we hope to wrap up much of the process by moving our first shipment of furniture.
The new office and showroom is located next to the Post Office in Vernon, Vermont at 2531 Fort Bridgman Rd Vernon, VT. Drop by and see us!
January 19th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
How would you feel about buying expensive, high end handmade Vermont furniture over the Internet? Scared? If so, you're not alone. Quite honestly, most of our customers at Vermont Woods Studios who are first-time buyers are nervous about it.
We're always working hard to improve our website, add photos that show the details of construction, quality, joinery and such but let's face it– a website simply cannot convey the quality of handmade solid wood furniture. You really have to see it to appreciate it.
While we work through the growing pains of getting a bigger showroom, we want to express our gratitude to the customers who have posted opinions and independent reviews of our furniture at various places online. It is so helpful to new customers and it's essential for us to grow our business and fulfill our mission. Thank you! (We do have a testimonials page on our website, but most times new customers are understandably looking for an independent opinion.)
GreenPeople.org is one place customers have posted their candid opinions about our furniture and our customer service. GreenPeople.org provides an independent, unaffiliated website for opinions and reviews of all kinds of businesses. We thank Steve Urow and honor his mission of promting honesty, fairness and justice in business. We recommend his site for posting reviews of any products or services you may be purchasing online or in person. Best of luck to Steve and crew!
January 15th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
I’ve been trying to draw attention to the link between tiger conservation and furniture buying for years. But somehow it seems such a stretch to explain the connection that it gets lost in the ether. No one has noticed my efforts.
It’s hard to believe but there are only about 3200 tigers left in the wild. This tiger subspecies, the Siberian Tiger– the world’s largest cat is literally on the brink of extinction with only about 400 individuals remaining in their natural habitat. If you can’t stand the idea of letting these magnificient creatures disappear forever on our watch, help us spread the word. Follow us on twitter, fan us on facebook. There IS something you can do about keeping tigers on this planet for your children and grandchildren to marvel at.
January 10th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
Many thanks to Dave and Judy Allard of Lyndon Furniture for their newly re-vamped Vermont furniture blog and all of the rich detail within it regarding the outstanding craftsmanship at Lyndon. One of my favorite posts is the Farmer's Prayer which, I think still portrays the way of life many Vermonter's have managed to preserve:
May every blessing known in life, crown this homestead and my wife, and never any kind of harm descend upon this growing farm.
At Vermont Woods Studios Furniture, we tip our hat in gratitude to all of Vermont's great farmers and their comrades who operate small farms across America. They are the unsung heros of today's society.
January 5th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
We're working on adding lots of new features to our website this year and the first one is Skype. Rebecca installed it yesterday on the Vermont Woods Studios Contact Us page.
Now you can use Skype to video-call us via your computer. It's free and it's so much easier to learn about our furniture when you've got video along with your call.
When Rebecca answers she'll be able to show you the furniture we've got in the office and also show you wood samples. Plus it's just fun to video chat with Rebecca because she's so ANIMATED We're also working on adding a live chat feature to our website but actually Skype offers a better user experience than any of the chat programs we've seen.
If you haven't used Skype before, give it a try! It's easy and free. Just download Skype here, set up an account and add us as a new contact. Our ID is vermont.woods. We'll look forward to seeing you online!
December 26th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh
Many thanks to Marcie Gabor and the fine folks at Made In The USA Brand for awarding Vermont Woods Studios Handmade Furniture their prestigious American made brand and logo certification. Only about 100 American businesses have earned this distinction and we are proud to be one of them. All of our furniture is indeed Made in the USA– all handmade in Vermont actually.
Marcie published an interview with us on her blog last week, highlighting the question, "Do You Know Where Your Furniture Comes From?" More and more our customers are interested in this issue and wanting to make sure their furniture is made of sustainably harvested wood and crafted in America. If you have a business that makes all of your goods in the USA, give Marcie a call and help spread the word about American made products.
December 11th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh
We'll be introcuding our new luxury Modern Shaker Furniture Collection in a few weeks but I wanted to let you have an insiders look at what's to come. This is one of the three lines of Vermont Made furniture we were photographing in Burlington last month. We have several pieces up on the website now, but we're still working on it and the entire collection is not yet available online (it is available by phone).
This is classic Shaker style furniture with a few modern twists, like arched aprons and curved corners. Actually customers have their choice of square or rounded corners and edges. It's amazing how different the pieces look just by changing that one feature– the corners and edges.
These luxury collections offer our customers a new finish choice too. It's a high end, hand-rubbed linseed oil and wax finish– something you don't see around much these days– and it's absolutely incredible to the touch. It's so finely sanded it feels almost like soft skin. Keep checking back at Vermont Woods Studios furniture to see additional pieces coming online, including beds, chests, dressers, armoires, night stands, dining tables, buffets, hutches, occasional tables and more. Check out the new photos on our homepage.
December 9th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh
2011 has been declared by the UN as the International Year of the Forest in an effort to raise awareness and strengthen the sustainable forest management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests for the benefit of current and future generations.
At Vermont Woods Studios Furniture our mission is rooted (no pun intended) in forest conservation so we're happy to see this campaign take shape. Did you know that every second an area of rainforest the size of a football field is lost due to deforestation?
According to the World Bank, deforestation accounts for up to 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. They also estimate that forests provide habitats to about two-thirds of all species on earth, and that deforestation of tropical rainforests could account for biodiversity loss of as many as 100 species a day.
We'd like to see the UN and governments do something to stop or slow deforestation but we think it will actually have to be green commerce that takes the lead on this. Consumers have the power to decrease deforestation by purchasing forest products that are sustainably harvested. Visit the Forest Stewardship Council FSC and Rainforest Relief websites to learn more about how to buy sustainable forest products, like the handmade wood furniture offered by Vermont Woods Studios.