Naturally, as wood furniture makers, we at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture have to be concerned about forest conservation. It's the foundation of our company's viability.
Although our Green Mountain Forests in Vermont are healthy and sustainable we know that, from a global perspective deforestation is the Number 1 environmental problem on our planet today. Deforestation is a huge contributor to global warming, climate change, air pollution (carbon and other emissions from slash and burn practices), habitat loss, biodiversity loss, pollution of marine habitats (due to run-off from pesticides and fertilizers used to transform diverse forests into mono-cultured plantations) and more.
So at Vermont Woods Studios, we are working with The Nature Conservancy in support of their Plant A Billion Trees project. We plant one tree for every order we fulfill and we support many non-profits dedicated to forest conservation.
We appreciate your concern for the environment. When you buy wood furniture from us, you can rest assured that the forest where your furniture began it's life, will still be around for generations to come. As will your furniture!
Today a new ten year strategic plan for Vermont's wood furniture (and other wood products) industry was unveiled by the Vermont Wood Products Marketing Council. The 2020 Vision For The Vermont Wood Products Industry provides a roadmap for our $1.8 Billion wood products industry in VT to capitalize on the state's reputation as the Fine Furniture Capital of America.
At Vermont Woods Studios Furniture we hope to be a major player in the industry's growth. We believe that American home owners are increasingly looking for sustainabilty, quality and authenticity in their home furnishings. That puts Vermont in an excellent marketing position as our furniture makers have consistently focused on those attributes for 200 years, producing a superior, high quality product at affordable prices.
Conversely, the vast majority of American furniture has been outsourced to Asia for the past 30-40 years in favor of cheap production. However as customers grow ever more weary of low-quality, imported furniture that's a health risk to their families, Vermont's tradition of quality workmanship and natural, sustainable materials will be important in rejuvenating the American furniture industry. And our woodworking community's ethic of collaboration rather than competition will be instrumental in leading the path forward.
We extend our thanks to the Vermont Wood Manufacturer's Association for making this report possible and look forward to working with our friends throughout the industry to get it implemented.
Remember when you used to clean up your bedroom by hiding everything under the bed? Well now you can do that in style! Luxury solid wood platform beds with underbed storage drawers are best sellers at Vermont Woods Studios this year.
Metropolitan apartment dwellers trying to make the most of furniture for small spaces are finding that underbed storage drawers can elegantly replace the need for chests, dressers and armoires.
Storage beds can also provide space for shoes, seasonal clothing, blankets and linens. This one is the Harbor Island Platform Storage Bed and it's shown here in solid natural maple wood, although you can customize it online with dark wood colors too.
The matching nightstand is designed to let you pull out the storage drawers easily. There's another Harbor Island nightstand with a drawer if you prefer, but you'll have to move it aside to open the storage drawers.
All of our storage beds are 100% made in America (right here in Vermont actually) of sustainably harvested wood with family-friendly non-toxic finishes. Check them out!
Scroll down to see how our Manifesto evloved
Today the World Wildlife Fund reports that after losing nearly 70 per cent of its forest habitat and half its population in one generation, the Sumatran elephant is heading for imminent extinction due to deforestation and habitat loss.
These elephants are not alone. According to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, 3-5 species become extinct every hour of every day. That’s up to 45,000 species every year!
What we’re doing at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture is trying to raise awareness about the how your choices as a consumer directly affect the extinction of endangered species like the Sumatran elephant. If you can avoid buying imported forest products, especially wood furniture and flooring (if it’s not clearly labelled Made in America–pretty much any furniture you’ll find at Home Depot, Walmart, Bob’s, Lowe’s or other big box stores is imported) you’ll be doing your part to lessen global deforestation and destruction of the habitat these elephants live in.
What else are we doing?
We support a number of projects to save endangered species. Here’s one I was pretty excited about last week: when I was on the Vernon Selectboard a few years back, our town partnered with the Vermont Division of Fish and Wildlife DFW to protect habitat and save the critically endangered spotted turtle from extinction. Last week we were able to celebrate our work. It’s 6 or 7 years later, but finally through a long process, the turtle habitat is being cared for and hopefully we’ll start to see their population come back.
How about you? Tell us what you’re doing in the comments below or on our Vermont Furniture Facebook.
Last month I mentioned that we had made the decision to add Copeland Furniture's beautiful Vermont made collection to our online furniture store. Since then we've been researching and studying the details about this luxury furniture line. I am amazed at the diversity of styles and construction designs offered by Copeland. And at the affordability they have engineered into their furniture through high-precision processes.
Tim Copeland started his company in 1974 as a one-man operation in a garage in rural Vermont. His earlier designs were inspired by Shaker furniture but now Copeland Furniture offers many creative styles including Shaker, Mid Century modern, Danish, Scandinavian, Asian, Arts and Crafts, Japanese, and transitional designs.
Dennis is our point person on Copeland Furniture and he's been feverishly working away over the last several weeks. He's drafted over 100 new Copeland product pages and has been bringing the rest of us up to speed on Copeland styles and construction details. My job is to polish and publish Dennis' draft pages. Kendall is creating information pages that explain construction details and finish options for the different collections. Manjula is orchestrating the whole project and fixing our mistakes as we go.
So far we've been able to add most of the products in Copeland's Berkeley, Catalina, Harbor Island, Horizon and Lily collections. I figure we're about 30% through the project but we're picking up speed and we're hoping to have it complete within a couple weeks. In the meantime, if you're interested in purchasing and our website doesn't yet have the details you need, you can find our Copeland Furniture catalog, policies and prices here. Or give Rebecca and Shannon a call at 888-390-5571 with your questions. We'll look forward to hearing your thoughts about this new Vermont made furniture line.
It was way back in September that Dennis challenged all of us at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture to help support our economy by promising to buy American Made gifts for Christmas. A lot of ups and downs have happened since then with our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge.
But regardless of all that, we had a mission in the office and that was to learn more about American companies and the things they make–and to support them with our Christmas shopping budgets. And to see if we could start a movement where others would do the same. Thanks to ABC that has happened.
So our office Christmas party was yesterday and fortunately it was a Yankee Swap (because it's possible that some of us are on the naughty list). Anyway we all gave gifts that were made in America:
A bottle of Kendall Jackson California wine, a Harley Davidson beer mug, a handcarved wooden letter opener (Ken picked that one out, of course), a Cangles bracelet made out of recycled soda cans, a handmade glass ornament, a paperwhite bulb, Vermont made goat's milk caramels (yum!), a Vermont made silk scarf and a cool necklace that has a hidden pen in it.
If you haven't had your holiday office party yet, it's not too late! See if your colleagues will go for an American made theme. Then let us know what you bought either in the comments section below or on our facebook.
I have to share some of these beautiful photos of our New Copeland Furniture Collection as we're adding them to our online furniture store.
Tim Copeland started his company over 30 years ago, and has built a reputation for world class, handmade, high end furniture in a variety of styles and designs. His modern mid-century Astrid, Catalina and SoHo collections are entirely different from anything we’ve ever carried before. We've already seen interest in these sophisticated, retro designs especially from customers in urban, metropolitan areas who are looking for dramatic flair for their lofts and luxury apartment homes.
In addition to having a fabulous sense of style, the Copeland family is committed to making quality American made furniture by skilled American craftsmen. And they're serious about environmental conservation and stewardship. No greenwashing here.
I'll be highlighting more of their collections as we work on getting pieces up on our website. We plan to have our online store ready to roll by the end of the month, but in the meantime if you need additional information just give us a call. Full color catalogs and prices lists are posted on the Copeland Furniture section of our website.
Buying American Made Christmas gifts is important for our economy, but buying locally made items is even better. Here's a really fun and easy way to do it: Brattleboro's Cotton Mill Open Studio and Holiday Sale! Here you can meet local artists who make blown glass, wooden crafts, ceramics, furniture, garden sculpture, jewelry, books, jams, candles and more all under one roof. Plus check out activities like dance, circus, painting, music, film and of course FOOD.
This once-a-year celebration features the work of many artists and artisans and promises something of interest for all ages! Meet the artisans in their studios as you find beautifully handcrafted gifts for the holiday season and enjoy live music, entertainment and demonstrations. Stay all day… food is available! Admission and parking are free.
Thank you so much for attending our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge! Today (I think it's because of your support) we got a phone call from ABC World News telling us they are sending a camera crew up to Vernon, Vermont on Tuesday to film some footage for their November 30 nightly news show.
They want to learn more about our pledge to buy American made holiday gifts at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture and also tour around the town of Vernon. They'll visit all the BIG attractions in town: the elementary school, the town hall, the general store, the fire station, a farm or two and Chad Woodruff's custom furniture workshop. What could be more cool for the evening news than that? They'll be interviewing people along the way and asking them about any plans they might have to "buy American" this holiday season.
So we're pretty excited about this and we're grateful to you for all your support, as always. By the way, what are you buying for Christmas this year? If you haven't taken the challenge yet, it's not too late. We figured that if everybody in the country bought everything "American made" over the holidays, it could generate almost 5 million jobs! Who needs politicians, right?
For local Vernon and Brattleboro area residents– if you'd like to be on TV or just see the camera crew in action, you can keep up with their schedule as it evolves by joining this Facebook group or checking our website. Here's a clip of a similar segment in the ABC series. People in the crowd scene at the Vernon Town Hall will all have a chance to be interviewed and present visuals to feature on the national show.
Earlier this year I wrote a blog which I hoped would inspire a “Buy American Made Products” movement but with a new twist. I thought that the upcoming holiday season would be the perfect time to raise awareness that there still are some great American Made products.
After all this is the time of year when shopping is going full force. So if there ever was power in numbers this would be the time to really make a difference!
I began my research into American Made Products that would make good holiday gifts and I was both surprised and pleased to find that this was not as difficult as I first envisioned. Certainly at some point most of us have commented on the overwhelmingly high percentage of imported products we see on our stores shelves. And how product quality has diminished as well.
I realize that there is some perception that US made product is just too expensive but when you factor in its quality and lasting power over “cheap” imports it actually may prove to be a bargain! Buy it right, and buy it once I say.
I was also very pleased to find that most of the companies I had discovered were started in America long ago, understood offshore production savings or felt economic pressure to manufacture offshore, but firmly resisted this based on a core belief of contributing to the US economy and an unwillingness to diminish quality. Those companies I commend, and those companies’ products I will purchase! They are indeed out there and they deserve our business.
It has been both a fun and enlightening project and I was quite surprised and happy to find good old American made products that my family and friends could use and enjoy. And as a matter of fact I book marked a few dozen websites for things for myself in the process! So Santa, if you are reading this….
Below are some American Made gift ideas I found during my first pass I would like to share with you and I plan on updating this blog post throughout the holiday season.
- Well you may have thought any type of US produced clothing would be hard to find but it’s out there! And who hasn’t gotten or given pajamas as a gift! Check out Vermont Flannel. BTW… I actually was given a VF shirt and shorts about 10 years ago. Still have and still wear them! And it doesn’t look like they are going to wear out anytime soon! http://www.vermontflannel.com/index
- What’s more American then blue jeans, right? But blue jeans made in America these days? No way you say! While the famous brands packed up their US factories long ago, there are some little guys refusing to budge! Check out Texas Jeans http://www.texasjean.com/ and All American Clothing http://www.allamericanclothing.com
- Hmm, I suppose when you need to grab a flashlight you must be in a REAL need for light? So the one that you have to keep smacking in the palm of your hand to stay on may not be the best choice! And how much of a bargain is it in that situation? Well there’s a USA Made MAGLITE in my home, all my vehicles glove boxes, and in my backpacks & camping gear. Turns on, stays on EVERY time! TIP: The little MAGLITE Solitaire attaches to a key chain and is a great stocking stuffer! http://www.maglite.com/
- No “handy-person” would be disappointed to get a top notch pocket or belt multi-tool. This extremely handy gadget was pioneered by “Leatherman” almost 30 years ago and has been evolving ever since (and is probably one of the most copied inventions of the century!) Now they have an ingenious multi-tool for almost every activity and function. http://www.leatherman.com/
- Something for the little ones? How about some good old fashion wooden toys? Don’t think they make them like they use too? Well then check out the award winning line of wood toys by Maple Landmark. Lots of fun stuff for kids of all ages and you can personalize them with the child's name! http://www.maplelandmark.com/
- Need a gift idea that suits all ages? Or something that the whole family can participate in? How about the classic jigsaw puzzle! From 60 piece children’s puzzles to 2000 piece challenges for the master puzzler, Springbok is the oldest and most respected brand name puzzle manufactured in the USA (and they get another vote from us for having environmentally friendly manufacturing practices!) They have a great sorting & categorizing feature on their website to make finding the perfect puzzle quick & easy! http://www.springbok-puzzles.com/
So I hope I have inspired you to consider this holiday gift theme for your family and friends gatherings, office party, secret Santa, or Yankee Swaps. And please feel free to share your findings or events by joining our Facebook event. We look forward to hearing from you and we wish you a Happy Holiday season!