March 31st, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
A few months ago a syndicated columnist, Anica Wong of Creators.com gave us a call at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture to ask, "What's so eco-friendly about your furniture?" It's a great question especially since there is so much green-washing out there. It seems that every furniture brand and furniture store is now hitting the "organic, sustainable furniture" theme in their advertisements, regardless of their environmental policies.
So anyway I told Anica that Vermont Woods Studios is not a furniture company that suddenly "went green". Actually we're a bunch of trehuggers that partnered with some of Vermont's best fine furniture makers to create a company that delivers handcrafted, Vermont-made, eco-friendly furniture to customers all across the USA. She then asked all about our story and wrote a nice article that is being syndicated in several newspapers like this one, The Calgary Herald. Check it out. And many thanks to Anica for including us in her story!
March 27th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
Sometimes our customers at Vermont Woods Studios Online Furniture are understandably a little nervous plunking down thousands of dollars on fine furniture they've not been able to experience in person. We're adding new details and videos to our website all the time but I also wanted to give people an honest and candid sense of who we are and how we run our small business here in rural Vermont.
That's how Bare Naked Business came about. It's a behind the scenes look at the fabulous and crazy people who make Vermont Woods Studios the awesome company it is. I'm infinitely proud of this group and the super human things they keep achieving every new day. The best part is that we love doing it – we have a blast because we're working on projects and goals we feel are worthy of our time and talents.
Another reason I wanted to start Bare Naked Business is to create a community of like-minded entrepreneurs who are running (or thinking of starting) a small business on a shoestring. At Vermont Woods Studios we are living proof that this can be done, even during tough economic times and we believe that by collaborating with others, we can all benefit and at the same time – make the world a better place. Check out Bare Naked Business and let us know what you think about it. We're looking for feedback, suggestions, tips, advice and ideas about what you'd like to see in future episodes.
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.