Made in America Campaign
Remember that ABC World News series where Diane Sawyer and David Muir found a “typical American household” and inventoried everything in it to see what was made in the USA? Turns out nothing… except the fresh flowers on the table. Well that series inspired us to pour our energy into a Made in America campaign at Vermont Woods Studios. We’ve sponsored the Great American Made Gift Challenge every Christmas season for the past several years and of course we put a high priority on promoting Vermont made hardwood furniture.
One reason is that customers often come to us in total frustration after shopping everywhere to find furniture that’s actually 100% made in the USA. The companies we think of as quintessentially American (ie., Thomasville, Broyhill, Bassett, Ethan Allen, American Drew, Lane, Pennsylvania House, Drexel) aren’t so American anymore. Often they outsource the majority of their production to China, Vietnam, Honduras, Mexico and other third world countries. Then they import nearly finished furniture into the USA for a quick insertion of the final screw and call it “American made”. The trend ebbs and flows with changes in foreign wages and the cost of oil to ship overseas. When it’s cheaper to produce in the USA they come back, but there’s no long term commitment to the American worker or the American community.
Why Do Customers Care?
Here’s a recent illustration. Dennis and Douglas and I made a visit to Gardner Massachusetts last month to see our pal Leonard Curcio at Chair City Wayside Furniture. Gardner used to be “the furniture capital of New England” back in the 19th and 20th centuries. According to the “Greater Gardner Furniture History Documentary project”, there were over 50 furniture companies in the area. After over a century of furniture manufacturing, with nearly everyone in the community depending on the industry for support, many companies decided to move their operations overseas for cheaper production. The community collapsed. Families with several generations of skilled artisans and woodworkers were suddenly unemployed. Our friend Lenny was one of the few people able to salvage his business in a dying community but he is still suffering today, while trying to hang on.
Our customers want to support people like Lenny and acquire high quality, American made furniture that they will proudly cherish forever. Supporting American workers and American communities matters to them.
How to Buy 100% American Made Products
If you’re looking for high quality furniture that really is 100% made in the USA, have a look at this excellent article by Mary Efron. For American furniture and everything else that’s made in the USA, visit AmericansWorking.com or SourceMap . And maybe stay away from (or at least be suspicious of) the big box stores that make splashy videos about their “American made furniture” but don’t have much to deliver when it comes down to specifics.
This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, a 200 year old farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.
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