American Made Furniture vs Imports
While we’ve watched the price of most home decor items skyrocket over the last 30 years, have you noticed that the price of furniture has actually tumbled? It’s true. For a couple centuries we Americans prided ourselves on making high quality, natural wood furniture that was coveted around the world. North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont and other New England states were leaders in the fine furniture industry.
But in the 1960′s and 70′s many of America’s big furniture makers (like Ethan Allen, Broyhill, Thomasville and Lane) started to move their operations overseas and superior quality became a thing of the past (along with hundreds of thousands of American jobs). Prices fell dramatically. Instead of preserving our grandparents heirloom quality wooden furniture for our homes, we began buying cheap, trendy furniture imports and replacing them frequently as breakage occured.
Natural Furniture for the Healthy Home
Fast forward to 2013 when home owners are getting tired of cheap imported furniture that ends up on the curbside in 5 years. And they’re worried about the health effects of toxic flame retardants and formaldehyde that come standard with imports. Especially in households with children, it is simply not worth the risk.
Families are coming back to American made natural wood furniture with non-toxic finishes. Yes the furniture is more expensive up front, primarily because the American worker is paid a livable wage (as compared to wages that often amount to just a few dollars/day in Asia). But the high quality and environmental integrity of American made furniture is winning customers over. In fact, many brands are offered with a lifetime guarantee, indicative of the superior value of American made furniture over time.
What kind of furniture is in your home? Where was it made? Is it time to rediscover the real thing? Learn more about American made, natural wood furniture on the sustainability section of our website.
Forest conservation is at the heart of our mission at Vermont Woods Studios and we’re always trying to raise awareness about where your wood furniture comes from. If you’re committed to buying American made furniture– no worries. Chances are it’s made from legal wood, sustainably harvested from well-managed forests right here in North America.
But if you’re buying imported wood furniture (and according to a Washington Post article 70% of furniture sold in America is imported) then: Houston, we have a problem.
A recent Washington Post article by Brad Plumer entitled Organized Crime is Getting Rich Cutting Down the Rainforest describes how the illegal logging trade has become just as lucrative (and far more destructive) than the drug-trafficking industry. 50 to 90 percent of forestry in tropical areas is now controlled by criminal groups! “A great deal of logging simply takes place illegally — much of it in tropical areas such as the Amazon Basin, Central Africa, and Southeast Asia.” (ref: United Nations and Interpol)
The U.N. estimates that illicit logging is now worth between $30 billion to $100 billion, or up to 30 percent of the global wood trade. That illegal wood is often shipped from pristine rainforests to China, Vietnam and other third world countries where it’s fabricated into low quality furniture which is sold to US consumers. We’ve written quite a bit about the links between rainforest destruction, global warming and the furniture and flooring you choose for your home:
- Blog posts on rainforest conservation and protection of endangered species of the forest
- Tiger Conservation, Rainforest Preservation and Your Furniture
- Forest Conservation is About More than Trees
- Saving The Rainforest: Why Green Consumerism Is Key
- And lots more
If you’re considering buying furniture at IKEA, Home Depot or any big box store… ask where the lumber originates and let us know what you find on our Facebook or in the comments section below. Then re-discover sustainable, American made wood furniture and join us in feeling good about your furniture and your green home.
Back in January we got a phone call from a journalist, Nina Patel who was writing an article about American made furniture for USA Today’s Home magazine. Nina had come across our website while researching USA made furniture and home decor. She become interested in our green mission as well as our promotion of American made products through the Christmas Shopping Challenge we’ve been sponsoring the last couple years. We chatted back and forth for a week or so and Nina gathered lots of information about Vermont Woods Studios. I wasn’t sure which aspects would fit into her article, so we’ve been eagerly awaiting it’s publication to see what she found most newsworthy.
We were excited to see a preview of Nina’s “American Made” story in yesterday’s USA Today Weekend edition of their national newspaper. The full length article is in the Spring 2013 edition of USA Today Home Magazine which you can find at your news stand or online.
It turns out that Nina did highlight information about our sustainable forestry mission as well as our efforts to raise awareness about where your furniture comes from. We are grateful to her for discussing the value of American made, high quality, sustainable furniture in such a high visibility venue. The movement is catching on!
American Made Bedroom Furniture
Our American made bedroom furniture sale wraps up at midnight this Thursday, April 18th with up to 20% savings on real, handcrafted wooden furniture made right here in Vermont. I know you’re used to seeing bedroom furniture sales that advertise 40 or 60 or 80% off when you’re shopping at the big box stores but those companies have to mark up everyday prices in order to mark down for sales. We don’t like that kind of gimmick.
Value is About More Than Price
At Vermont Woods Studios we work very hard to price our furniture accurately and make sure that everyone involved in the purchase has a win: the customer, the craftsman, the forester and logger who sustainably harvest the wood and of course, the environment. We realize that in the age of the Internet, price comparison often rules above all else. So we have a competitive pricing policy to ensure you get the best price available for the quality, shipping and service we offer. And we guarantee our 100% American made furniture for a lifetime of service to you and your family.
When you place a piece of our Vermont made furniture in your home we want you to feel good knowing that you have paid a fair price and obtained a great value. You can see customer comments about price and value as well as customer photos of our furniture on Facebook or in our testimonials page. Want to join the conversation? Comment below, on our Facebook or call Sean (who is– according to Liz–our Customer Feedback Czar) and weigh in with your two cents!
Recently I’ve been bombarded by furniture television and radio commercials all with the same message, “look for the Made in America tag all over our stores!” My immediate thought was, that’s great, more big box stores are jumping on the American made bandwagon. Then, I was a little frustrated. Why should consumers have to zig-zag through large stores trying to find a small tag signifying that the product was made in America? Shouldn’t retailers make it easy for customers to find the products made right here in our own country? Vermont Woods Studios sure thinks so!
Shopping from our online gallery you don’t have to look for the made in America tag, because we sell 100% American made furniture. No gimmicks and no tricks. Our furniture has been, and always will be, made in America. Not only does buying American made products help our economy, but American made products signifies quality. So when you’re looking for high quality, American made furniture, don’t look for the tag, just come to us!
American Made Bedroom Furniture
If you’ve landed on this page because you’re already in the process of looking for American made furniture, then I have a surprise for you. Right now is our American Made Bedroom Furniture Sale. Our solid wood bedroom furniture is individually crafted right here in Vermont by skilled fine furniture makers. Because each piece is crafted to order, you can customize the piece as little or as much as you want based on what you see in our online gallery. Choose from natural cherry, maple, oak, or walnut wood, as a starter. Additional customizable options are shown in the drop down menus of each individual product.
We have hundreds of quality bedroom furniture pieces in our online gallery. Choose from over 80 solid wood beds, over 70 dressers, over 100 chest of drawers, over 60 nightstands, and dozens of armories and mirrors. Our American made bedroom furniture is also available in a variety of styles, from traditional shaker, to a modern style, so there is something to perfectly match everyone’s home.
Start browsing our online gallery today! Our fine furniture specialists are also available to take your order by phone or to discuss your questions about our American made furniture. Use our live chat option in the top right corner of our website, email them, or give them a call at 888-390-5571.
*This sale excludes Copeland Furniture, which holds a low-price guarantee 365 days a year.
Recently my fellow office inhabitant, Sean Henry, began spear-heading our mission to obtain more customer photos or ‘real life’ images of our furniture. His unbroken concentration certainly lends much, sometimes unnecessary, dedication to his projects- so, as the more vocally inclined, I’ve taken it upon myself to help spread the word via VWS blog. This word is not just a want for more customer photos but the undying effort of our sales team to obtain these images.
Why customer photos? Well, the long and short of it is best told visually. This is a bedroom set:
And this is a bedroom set:
Which do you want more? And it isn’t even just the marketing power behind these inviting images but more the representational power of them. These handcrafted works of art are meant to please your eye and provide restful sleep or feed your family or hold your cable box- they’re meant for your home!
Fresh eyed and bushy tailed, Sean joined our crew only a few months ago, eager to make his mark and share his ideas (or “i-dears”, as he calls them). Though he’s tossed quite a few light bulbs around, it is really his re-kindling of the long forgotten ‘obtain customer photos’ mission that’s become his baby. Our white glove delivery crew might have barely made it out the door before the proud new furniture owner receives an email from Sean, adorned with this thoughtfully designed marquee:
So, if you’re a perspective buyer or just a handmade furniture fan- take a look at our customer photos album on Facebook or the Testimonials page on our website. If you already own a piece of Vermont Woods Studios furniture, well heck- we’d love to see it! Do it for Sean, at least.
Where Does Your Wooden Furniture Come From?
Ever wonder where your wooden furniture comes from? Seven years ago I founded Vermont Woods Studios because I didn’t like the answer to that question. And the answer is: if you didn’t purchase American made furniture, yours may well have originated in a beautiful tropical rainforest that was being plundered by illegal logging activities.
One Acre of Rainforest Disappears Every Second
I spent the first few years at Vermont Woods Studios trying to raise awareness about rainforest devastation and how it’s driven by the wood furniture and flooring industries. Did you know that the rainforest is disappearing at the rate of >1 acre per second? It sounds unbelievable and sensationalist, doesn’t it? I mean that’s over 4000 football fields every hour of every 24 hour day, 365 days/year. But it’s true and that fact is why we continue to work so hard to offer sustainable, locally made furniture at this Vermont furniture store.
You and I Have the Power to Save the Rainforest
Consumers of wood furniture, flooring and other forest products are the key to saving the rainforest. If you’re taking the trouble to learn about sustainable wooden furniture and how you as a consumer can be part of the global solution, we want to help. I’ll be writing a series of blogs over the next few months to provide some background information regarding the past, present and future of the rainforest and how we consumers can do our part to save it. Have any rainforest references or stories you’d like to share? Use the comment section below or join the conversation on our Facebook.
Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge
What a difference a year makes! When we initiated our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge last year, it was our hope that a large scale movement would begin. We hoped to get our message out in our community, and if it reached out further, all the better. A nationwide movement seemed like a long-shot dream, until ABC World News got wind of our concept. They liked the message, and helped spread it across the nation. Unfortunately, the segment aired only 5 days away from Christmas, so it left little time to participate, but at least the tradition began.
Fast forward to this fall: we have seen many new websites, blogs, and Facebook pages jump on the bandwagon helping to promote American made goods for the holidays. This figure went viral: the average American will spend $700 on holiday gifts, totaling more than $465 billion. If we spend just $64 on American made goods, 200,000 new jobs could be created. Americans were shocked by the figure, and eagerly wanted to join in on the challenge. ABC World News had people young and old across the country yelling, “We’re in,” and a full fledged, nationwide movement was created.
One question we kept hearing through out the various American made holiday campaigns was, “where do I find American made goods?”
This is where we came in. We searched the internet and our local stores to find you a variety of American made gift ideas. We pinned these gift ideas, put them on Facebook, and blogged about them. We did just about everything except parade down Main Street to make you aware of the vast amount of products that are made in America.
Here is our final wrap up of the products we featured on Facebook:
1. Crane & Co. holiday greeting cards
2. VZ Wraps reusable gift bags
3. Simon Pearce ornaments
4. DODOCASE electroic covers
5. Vermont Teddy Bear teddy bears
6. Alex and Ani bangles
7. Channellock tools
8. Vermont Flannel clothing (for dogs too)
9. Laura Zindel ceramic goods
10. Sprinbok puzzles
11. Maple Landmark Woodcraft toys
12. Warby Parker eyewear
13. Nordic Ware baking pans
14. Green Toys children toys
15. Lake Champlain Chocolates delicious treats
16. KitchenAid mixers
17. Leatherman tools
18. Tittle Tikes riding toys
19. Turtle Fur hats
20. Dogeared jewelry
21. Darn Tough socks
22. Way Out Wax candles
23. Zipfy snow sleds
24. Tervis tumblers
Thank you for joining us on this American made journey this season. We are ecstatic that our dream last year has turned into a movement supported by the whole country. We hope that this will be encouraging enough for you to continue buying American made products through out the entire year! Make 2013 the year to buy American made.
Who Writes Vermont’s Green Furniture Blog?
There’s a lot of creative energy at Vermont Woods Studios these days and happily we have a number of talented writers who are willing to share our daily goings on through this green furniture blog. Pictured above are Heather Barrett (left) of Brattleboro VT and Loryn Dion (right) of Northfield MA who work long and hard on many aspects of our Vermont furniture store, including keeping you up to date on the latest office shenanigans.
Holiday Hot Topic: Made in America Christmas Shopping Challenge
The photo above was taken Friday at our “Made in America” Secret Santa party where each of us gave and received American made Christmas gifts. It’s part of our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge (we figure with Americans spending about $586 Billion this holiday season, if all of those gifts were made in America it could generate 5.8 million jobs. OK we know that not every gift can or should be made in America, but still shopping “American made” can create a lot of jobs).
Not Just Red, White and Blue– Green Too!
Anyway, if you want to follow these two creative writers you’ll find their contributions right here every week. Besides keeping us up to date on American made Christmas gift ideas, Heather tends to blog about green furniture, Vermont Travel and all things adventurous and exciting in the Green Mountain state. Loryn’s been keeping her focus on Green decor and interior design but you never know what kind of provocative topics she might wander off into.
To stay in touch with Heather and Loryn, subscribe to this blog on the top right or join their conversations on Facebook. And keep a look out for insider secrets from their newly recruited accomplice, Liz Francese who’ll be taking you on occasional trips behind the veil at Vermont Woods Studios Sales and Customer Service. More about Liz coming soon!
Last minute shopping is inevitable, especially during the holiday season. The last few months of the year seem to fly by. One day you’re eating Thanksgiving dinner with your family, and the next day you wake up and it’s Christmas Eve. How did that happen?! Don’t panic, I have compiled a list of five last minute gift ideas or “go to” gift ideas for when your timing is a little too close for comfort.
Whether time has slipped away, a friend invited you to their holiday party last minute, or you need a gift for a co-worker you don’t know well, there is something on this list that will work for any person in a pinch.
Wine is the perfect go-to gift during the holiday season. Hosts love when you bring a gift that they can share with their guests during the party. It’s something that is useful, and won’t end up collecting dust on a shelf. Not only do most people enjoy a good bottle of wine, it only takes a few minutes to pick it up at the store. If you want to make the wine more meaningful, try to remember if you have heard them talk about their favorite type. If not, pick out your favorite kind and introduce it to them! Try to buy from a local winery whenever possible (this is, afterall, a Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge). Wine from Vermont’s Putney Mountain Winery and Shelburne Vineyard would make great holiday gifts.
Who doesn’t love chocolate? Chocolate is a great last minute gift idea for everyone! Many chocolate companies have already helped you out by festively decorating their packages, so you won’t even have to wrap the gift. Take a look at Lake Champlain Chocolates‘ seasonal assortments. This Vermont based company makes their delicious chocolates without preservatives, and you can taste the freshness! Also, go to your local food co-op to see what your area has to offer. You may be surprised to find you have a hidden chocolate gem in your state too!
The winter season is a popular time to have candles lit around your home. Many people like having scented candles this time of year to get into the holiday spirit. The extra light on a dark winter evening also gives us a warm and fuzzy feeling. To avoid making your candle look a little generic and like a last minute gift, buy it locally. People like knowing the source of their gifts, and knowing that it was made close to home is an added bonus. Many local artisans create candles that can be personalized, or come with American made accessories to jazz up the gift. If you’re looking for a Vermont based company, Carved Solutions ships their candles out within 48 hours. Vermont Soap & Candle and Way Out Wax have a variety of scents and candle styles to choose from as well.
An ornament is a great gift for the holidays. Ornaments are easy to find (check the label for made in USA) and they are something that people will keep for years. They come in a large variety of shapes, sizes, and styles. This gift is great for someone you know really well, because you can get something based on an interest or hobby. Or, it can be good for someone you don’ t know well because you can get something a little more seasonally related, like a snowflake, that will be an addition to their decorations annually. Ornaments are also versatile-not only are they hung on Christmas trees, but they can be hung on an office cubicle wall or placed in windows! Danforth Pewter, a Vermont based company, handcrafts beautiful holiday ornaments that would make a special gift.
5. Gift Certificates
A gift certificate to a local business is an excellent gift; last minute or not. No one will think any less of your creativity because going to a free movie, or getting a free meal is welcomed by everyone. You can get a gift certificate to the person’s favorite local store, a bookstore, a coffee shop they frequent daily, a nice restaurant, the movie theater, a museum, a fitness class…the options are endless! When we purchase a gift certificate we are supporting local business, and helping the local economy.
Now that you have five last minute gift ideas, get off the computer and get to a store– you’re running out of time! Let us know in the comments if you have any last minute gift ideas, or share them on our Facebook.