Last updated on June 20th, 2019 at 11:47 am
This is part of a series of posts on how to buy fine furniture online. Bookmark this page or sign up for our newsletter to learn more.
Shop Online, In Person, by Phone
Vermont is the Fine Furniture Capital of America. Furniture coming out of the Green Mountain State has it’s own Vermont style and Vermont ethos. It’s made with sustainably harvested lumber and crafted in studios (small & large) scattered throughout the woods of Vermont. We not only have 5th generation furniture makers whose families have practiced the craft for 200 years. We also draw expert woodworkers from around the world to a state that’s 80% forested & abundant in beautiful, natural hardwoods. Want to buy Vermont made furniture direct from the craftspeople who make it? Here’s how (and why).
Vermont Furniture is a Specialty
With Vermont made furniture now being offered in online superstores, Ken and I wanted to remind you of the advantages of purchasing it directly from Vermont-based companies. Our state’s specialty furniture stores have valuable expertise you’ll never find at online superstores. We make it easy for you to purchase direct either online, by phone or in the studio. We posted about Shopping Vermont Furniture Direct several years ago. Today we’re updating it and here’s why.
Handcrafted Vermont Furniture is Personal
Vermont handcrafted specialty furniture doesn’t belong in online superstores. It’s an investment, much like a luxury car or a diamond engagement ring. Buying it from a warehouse or superstore not only makes it a commodity, it also robs you of the pleasure of learning about the item and the craftsperson who made it. Now that behemoths have cornered the market in advertising, you’ll have to look a little harder for Vermont-based furniture stores, but we’re still here.
Provenance, Authenticity & Quality
You want to enjoy the provenance of your Vermont made furniture. We’re here to help you get to know the craftspeople who handmade it special, just for you. If you’re interested in, for example Vermont Shaker dining furniture or Cherry Moon bedroom furniture, we want you know about your craftsman, Robin Chase. We’ve written Robin’s story on our website and if you click the learn more button, you’ll see a beautiful video we took of him in his studio. Knowing a little bit about your craftsman makes your furniture special. It reflects your values and helps make your house a home.
You’ll Save Money
In Vermont we price honestly. You’ll find excellent value here. Vermonters don’t mark up to mark down. NBC News recently did a story about superstores being sued for fake sale pricing. You’ll never find a 70% off sale at Vermont Woods Studios but you will find bottom line prices that are competitive with superstores and often lower. Here’s an example where the same Copeland buffet is priced at $3161 (including free shipping + in-home set-up + a free lifetime guarantee) at Vermont Woods Studios and priced between $3254 and $5018 at superstores (where you’re likely to pay extra for a 2-5 year warranty and in-home set-up).
You Can Customize Your Furniture
Maybe you don’t want what everyone else has. Or maybe you need a special size table to fit into your dining room. No problem. We build each piece to order so customization is easy with Vermont furniture specialty stores. If you don’t find exactly what you want online or in our stores, give us a call. We frequently modify designs to make tables longer, shorter, taller, wider, two-toned, whatever. We happily add drawers and shelves as needed. Vermont craftspeople love to get creative. All you’ve got to do is ask. Not so with an online superstore.
Vermonters Offer Free Lifetime Guarantees
Along with many Vermont furniture retailers, we back all of our handmade furniture with a free lifetime guarantee. In contrast, superstores typically offer a limited 2-5 year warranty, for which they charge up to $1000.00/piece.
Vermonters Compete By Earning Your Trust
At Vermont Woods Studios, your complete satisfaction is the foundation of our business. From the beginning when we started our business in 2005, we have focused on building trusting relationships with our customers, suppliers & shippers. Our company is founded on respect, integrity and honesty. We offer top quality, environmentally friendly, Vermont made, wood furniture products and back them with a lifetime guarantee. This is the norm for Vermont furniture retailers.
Online superstores are suspected of using nefarious methods to compete. Sophisticated, anonymous digital sabotage is the new leading edge technology for online behemoths. We’ve been the victim of it many times at Vermont Woods Studios and so have other mom & pops across the country. Like most small businesses, we don’t have the resources to trace the origin of these attacks. They are frequent, complex, widespread, devastating & well hidden (ref: What is this New Undetectable Type of Negative SEO).
Vermont Customer Reviews are Un-edited
At Vermont Woods Studios, we love hearing from our customers. It’s your feedback and advice that forces us to constantly innovate and improve. When customers email us comments & photos we post them verbatim on our Reviews Page. Customers also post reviews directly on Facebook, Google, Yelp or SiteJabber. We average >4/5 stars on our customer reviews. We never edit them.
In contrast, many online superstores take liberties when projecting customer reviews. Here’s an example of what one online superstore does:
With many superstores, when you compare in-house reviews with those of independent review sites, you’ll find significant disparities. Below are reviews of one superstore on 4 different independent websites. Follow the links to the review sites to see the ratings and comments consumers have submitted (data from 7/16/18).
- TrustPilot review – average rating of 1 out of 5 based on over 500 reviews
- SiteJabber review – average rating of 2 out of 5, based on over 500 reviews
- ResellerRatings review – average rating of 9.37 out of 10 based on over 70,000 reviews
- Google Shopping review – average rating of 4.7 our of 5 based on over 5600 reviews
Why such disparity? Reseller Ratings is the subject of intense criticism from industry ethics proponents. Critics say that, for a price, members may edit and change ratings on customer reviews. Google Shopping disclosed that 89% of their reviews are supplied by Reseller Ratings (25 Hard Truths of Google Reviews).
Cooking the books is pervasive and has evolved into a $5 billion industry, filled with companies like Hide Bad Reviews. “Brushing” is the hot new scam used to generate fake reviews. I researched this and shared details on a recent blog about how to assess Furniture Stores Using Online Reviews. Critics contend that for online superstore reviews, 5 stars are the new 1 star (ref NPR article: Some Amazon Reviews Are Too Good To Be Believed. They’re Paid For)
Vermont Retailers Don’t Scam Customers with Bait & Switch Technology
Online superstores have encouraged the creation of thousands of “affiliate websites”. Many are deceptive, using automated web scraping software to illegally copy original photos from small specialty stores like ours. The photos are linked to imitation products on superstore websites. Below are examples showing how our original photos have been used to advertise for superstores.
Vermont Availability & Lead Time Estimates are Honest
Most Vermont furniture makers build to order. That is the reality for specialty retailers like Vermont Woods Studios as well as online superstores. Only a small selection of furniture pieces are available in a superstore’s warehouse. In our store, the lead time it takes to build & ship each piece of furniture is stated on every product page. It can vary from 1-16 weeks, depending on how many orders are in the queue at a particular furniture maker’s workshop.
With online superstores, you may be misled by unrealistic short lead times and “immediate availability”. Be aware that when you see “Hurry! Only 3 left” you’re likely reading fiction. Your order will likely go into the same queue whether it’s placed with a Vermont specialty retailer or an online superstore. The lead time will likely be the same.
Vermont Furniture Retailers Speak Truth
Provenance is important to Vermonters. When we say everything in our furniture & home decor store is made in Vermont, we mean it. Much of our wood is harvested here, sawn here and milled here. All of our craftspeople work in Vermont. With Vermont companies your furniture investment is supporting rural communities whose economies revolve around sustainable management of our working forests. Contrast that with the ad below where “Made in China” seems to be the new “Made in America”:
Environmental Stewardship is Real in Vermont
Last week, key stakeholders in Vermont’s forest products sector, assembled in Burke, VT for the 1st Annual Vermont Forest Industry Summit. Forest stewardship is part of our ethos. Vermont’s Working Lands Enterprise initiative has evolved out of that passion and it’s designed to ensure environmental sustainability throughout our forestry supply chain. Representatives from the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation, Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Housing Conservation Board, Economic Development Authority, Sustainable Jobs Fund and private stakeholders like Vermont Woods Studios are all on board. When you purchase furniture from a Vermont furniture retailer you are supporting this environmental initiative. Online superstores simply cannot demonstrate the same. Many are accused of reselling furniture & flooring made with illegal rainforest wood, while professing sustainability. A recent study found that each time online superstores import just one container ship filled with furniture they are creating as much pollution as 50 million cars.
What Do You Think?
If you’re shopping for Vermont made or American made furniture we’d love to get your feedback on this post. Share your opinions in the comments section below or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.
Take advantage of our Sustainable Furniture Sale and save up to 20% on your handcrafted Vermont furniture today. Shop online, give us a call or stop by our rural Stonehurst showroom in Vernon, VT. We’ll help you find exactly what you’ve been looking for!
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