made in America
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.
Here’s a little known fact about Vermont Woods Studios- every month we give away a cutting board! The cutting boards are crafted by our own Ken Farabaugh and are available for purchase on our website. The potential recipients of these fine, handmade kitchen wares are our customers. Those who kindly take the time to complete a short customer satisfaction survey are entered in our monthly drawings.
The survey is designed to let us know a bit about your experience with Vermont Woods Studios- from the moment we first appeared in your Google search to the time the furniture came to rest in your home. Look for it in your inbox, post-delivery!
This month we were even more enthused to pick our winner in light of our Made in America Christmas Challenge. Congratulations to Kristina in Florida and have a happy holiday!
American Made Christmas Gifts
We drew names for our Secret Santa gift exchange here at Vermont Woods Studios today. Christmas, Hanukkah and the holiday season are always pretty festive in our office. This year we’ll again be focusing on promoting the idea of giving American made gifts to each other and to our families and friends.
You may remember that last year we launched a Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge. We asked our friends to pledge to buy American made gifts– to look at the tags on everything they bought for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other holidays and to choose the ones that were “American Made”. We found it wasn’t a new idea around here. In fact most people told us they go a step further and purchase only locally made gifts, handmade gifts and items that support people and businesses in our community. Anyway, we had so much fun with our project last year that ABC News caught wind of it and came to Vernon to film a segment about it for World News with Diane Sawyer.
Vermont Made Gifts
So this year we wanted to carry on with the tradition. Heather Barrett has posted some great American made gift ideas on our Pinterest Board and Facebook page. Jump on board and share your own finds with her– we’d love it. You’ll see that we’re leaning pretty heavily towards Vermont made items, but certainly not exclusively. I do find that Vermont’s warm winter wear always goes over pretty well on a cold, snowy Christmas morning though. Johnson Woolens, Turtle Fur and Vermont Flannel are favorites in my family.
Local Handmade Gifts
This weekend we have several local craft fairs to shop our way through. One is the 17th annual “Home for the Holidays” craft fair with 50 local vendors at the Vernon Elementary School and another is the 14th Annual Cotton Mill Open Studio and Holiday Sale in Brattleboro, VT. Hope to see you moseying your way through one of them. Our friends and neighbors who’ve been crafting all year long in preparation for the holiday season are depending on our support! Let the shopping begin.
At last, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer ran the segment on our "Made in America" Holiday Shopping Challenge yesterday. YAY! Here is the link to view it online. We'd like to thank ABC producers Christine Brozyna and Eric Noll for coming to Vernon to film the segment. Theirs' is not an easy job.
When Christine and Eric came to Vermont last month it was because they had read a blog about our "Made in America" project way back in September. They were impressed that such a small company would take on a project about creating American jobs and they wanted to put the size and strength of ABC behind it.
Well, a lot of time has passed since then and I'm sure that as each new idea came into the newsroom, our story morphed depending on the context of the day. There were a couple times we were considered for inclusion in earlier segments but for whatever reason they fell through. In the end we were pretty disappointed to see that our segment really wasn't about the jobs or the furniture being created by small independent companies like Vermont Woods Studios or Woodruff Custom Furniture.
Instead we got spun into a segment on American schools. Go figure. But it was indeed an educational experience, learning how news stories get created (I'll be much more wary now, about believing what I see in the news). We're trying to just be grateful for the fact that ABC has been able to raise awareness (much more than we ever could) all across the country about the jobs that can be created by buying American made holiday gifts.
The "Made in America" Holiday Shopping Challenge we started way back in September at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture is in full swing now. ABC News has jumped on board and done an amazing job of raising awareness about how much we as consumers can do to provide jobs in our communities, just by "buying American".
Their favorite statistic is that the average American spends $700 on Christmas gifts each year and if only $64 of that was used for American made gifts, we could create 200,000 jobs. So the question in, "Are you IN?"
We've been finding a lot of great American made stuff in our own back yards at local shops, craft fairs and farmer's markets. But since a lot of things on your list won't be available locally, we've got some great American gift ideas for you on our Facebook like:
* For the kids– American Flyer Sleds
* For Mom– Colorful bud vases from Fiestaware
* For Dad– Rugged tool sets from Channellock
* For Aunt Clara– Handwoven baskets by Longaberger Basket
* For the art lover– Creative gifts from $10- $5000 at The Art of Making a Difference
Have other ideas or American made gift suggestions? Post them on our American Made Christmas Shopping Facebook Event. We ARE making a difference. Jobs are starting to come back. What was is that Margaret Mead once said… something about "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
Everyone has been asking me to keep them posted about when the Vernon, Vermont segment of ABC's Made in America Christmas Shopping Challenge is going to air. I just spoke to Christine Brozyna, the producer from ABC World News. Vernon's segment is tentatively planned for next Monday or Tuesday, Dec 12 or 13. If they can't fit it in then, Christine said they'll probably push it back– to the following Mon or Tues, Dec 19 or 20. No promises on the schedule though.
If you live in Vernon and want additional information, check our Vermont Furniture Facebook. We hope to see you on TV! Keep you fingers crossed for Monday or Tuesday.
I am really sorry if, like us, you were watching ABC World News with Diane Sawyer last night for a segment on our Made in America Christmas Shopping Challenge. We weren't there
After the show I guess I received about- oh a hundred or so phone calls, emails, tweets and Facebook posts from our friends, relatives, customers and neighbors asking what went wrong. I sent a panicked email off to ABC's producer, Christine Brozyna and she was nice enough to respond immediately saying that time constraints prevented our segment from being aired on schedule. I guess this is not unusual as the news is never predictable. Anyway, Christine assured me that our segment is still in the works and will be aired in the near future. She will let me know when that is and I'll post it here and on our facebook.
In the meantime I want to thank everyone for watching and for their interest in our project. What amazes me most about this is how far a little town like Vernon reaches out into the world (remember the six degrees of separation theory). People from all over Vermont and the Northeast were watching and waiting to see their friends and relatives from Vernon. Jane and Larry Brown had the whole island of St John watching too. Manjula's family and friends in India were watching. Ken and I got texts from all across the country- even from people we haven't spoken to in years who were watching and I'm sure the same goes for everyone else who was in the segment. With all that goodwill on our side, I can't help but be confident that the segment will indeed air soon and shine a light on the little community that started this whole Made in America Christmas Shopping Challenge, made famous by ABC.
I am really sorry if, like us, you were watching for a segment on our Made in America Christmas Challenge tonight. We weren't there I just asked the producer what happened and she explained that time constraints prevented our segment from being aired on schedule. I guess this is not unusual as the news is never predictable. Anyway, Christine assured me that our segment is still in the works and will be aired in the near future. She will let me know when that is and I'll post it here and on our facebook.
Don't forget to tune in (or set your DVR) to ABC World News with Diane Sawyer at 6:30pm EST TONIGHT to see our crazy Christmas Shopping Challenge in patriotic Vernon, Vermont. All your favorite American-made shopping stalwarts will be featured from the Town Hall, the Firestation, the Vernon elementary school, the Portside Tavern, Malhana Farm and Vermont Woods Studios Furniture (home of 100% American made, wood furniture).
Here's the premsie: Americans will spend, on average $700 per person on Christmas and holiday gifts this year. If we allocated just $64 of that to American made gifts, we would generate 200,000 jobs, nation-wide. So the question is: Are you IN?
If you're IN, then get counted by joining us at our Made in America Holiday Shopping virtual Facebook event (it's just a mouse click– you don't have to actually show up anywhere). Thanks for joining us and be sure to share (on our Facebook) any cool things you find in your shopping adventures!
It was only a couple days ago that Shannon ran into my office with a look of total disbelief on her face, saying that someone named Christine Brozyna, a producer from ABC World News with Diane Sawyer would like to talk to us about our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge.
Wow! I thought WE worked hard at Vermont Wood Studios. In 5 days these people read all about us on the Internet, liked our company and our drive, dreamed up a segment about us for their national news show, gathered up a camera crew, drove up to Vernon VT and spent the whole day today filming our story. It was a whilrwind and I'm not quite sure if I've been dreaming myself, but I have to say today was pretty exciting, either way.
- We did a 10AM shoot at the Schoolhouse General Store with the new manager, Chad Mulverhill, his family and Cindy Falvey. At first we were the only ones on scene so we all had to call everyone we knew, in desperation and beg them to rush down and help us make it look like a good crowd. Our friends came through
- Then we migrated over to the Town Hall at noon for what Christine imagined as a "Huge" crowd scene. Well, I guess huge is a relative term, but I can truthfully say this was a HUGE crowd for Vernon. Linda Shippee had all the pre-school kids there with a Thanksgiving banner they had made. Most of the town employees were there. Several good people from VY came over. And a ton of other people who wanted to support the project came… just to be nice and see what was going on.
- Next was a 2pm segment at the Vernon Elementary School where the principal, Mark Speno let us be a part of the kids' Sock Hop, an amazing assembly in the cafeteria where the teachers we all know and love taught the chicken dance, the swim and the pony to the kids
- Next stop– the Vernon Fire Station where Chief Todd Capan and 3 other brave fire fighters assembled in front of the camera, listened to our spiel and were good-natured enough to give a Made in America shout-out for the producers
- The last shop was Chad Woodruff's Custom Furniture Workshop. Chad is one of Vermont's finest furniture makers and we are so lucky to be able to work with him. The camera crew filmed Chad and his staff woodworking and also did a nice interview with Chad where we learned (among other things) that he can tell the difference between an imported piece of furniture and an American made piece from 10 feet away.
Thanks also to the local media who came out to capture the event. I love this behind the scenes video posted by Zach Stephens at The Brattleboro Reformer.
I hope you get to see all of this on Wednesday when it airs on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer at 6:30pm. Everywhere we went today, the producers set up the scene so we were telling people about our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge and asking them to join us. We honestly had no earthly idea how this was going to play out and we're so grateful to everyone for supporting us in our ignorance.
I can't image how they're going to boil 10 hours of filming down to 3 minutes but I trust that the genius of Christine and Eric Noll (the other producer) will prevail and everything will come out just fine. That's Christine and Eric above with Tom and Mark, the camera crew. They had us getting our picture taken holding the Made in America sign all day, so we wanted to turn the tables on them and get a photo of them holding a sign of our choice– a promotional sign for Woodruff Custom Furniture.
If you made it to this page, and even to the bottom of this page– we're sending out a big THANK you to all of you from ABC. We look forward to seeing you again, closer to Christmas. Come and check out all our American Made finds!
Have you seen any of the ABC News Made in America specials on World News with Diane Sawyer? This week they're talking about the impact college students could have on our economy if they purchased USA made dorm room accessories and linens from American companies.
It's tough to do since universities are unwittingly pushing imported goods through their campus stores, but it is possible, as demonstrated on the show. And in fact this room was $92 cheaper to furnish with American made items than similar imported ones.
Sawyer notes that the average college student shopper spent $800 this season or a total of $46 BILLION. If that money had been spent purchasing American goods, it could have provided almost half a million American jobs!
So it turns out it can be cheaper to furnish a college dorm with American made items than imported ones? Maybe some smart college presidents will commission their business school faculty and students to get on this and transform their campuses into American Made spaces.
Oh and if they're looking to add American made furniture to the dorms, Vermont's own New England Woodcraft has been building solid wood furniture for college dorms right here in the USA for over 50 years.
It looks like this Vermont-made furniture is pretty well equipped to handle college students, wouldn't you think?
And while we're on the subject of USA made furniture, I can say that 100% of our furniture at Vermont Woods Studios is 100% made in America… in Vermont to be precise.
Your purchases here employ our 5 staff members who operate the website and take care of sales and customer service, plus about 15-20 furniture makers and many additional support people including shippers. You are making a difference when you Buy American and we are grateful for your support.