Today's post is part of a series on Vermont Woods Studios written by Vermont author, Peggy McKay Shinn. Peggy writes full-time and lives in Rutland, Vermont, with her husband, daughter, and one remaining cat. Visit her website and check out Peggy Shinn's books, including Deluge: Tropical Storm Irene, Vermont's Flash Floods, and How One Small State Saved Itself.
Selling Vermont-made furniture from sustainable wood is Peggy Farabaugh’s mission. But customers have found far more at Vermont Woods Studios.
"There’s a warmth to fine hardwood furniture and a unique texture too. The rippled linear grain of oak, the icy smooth polish of maple, the warm silky feel of cherry, the slippery sheen of dark walnut, it beckons to be touched — table tops rubbed, chairs sat upon, cabinet doors opened and closed, smoothly and effortlessly. Which is why Peggy Farabaugh’s idea of selling Vermont-made hardwood furniture online did not seem like the best business concept when she came up with it in 2005.
“It’s ridiculous to think that you could sell fine furniture on the Internet because people have to see it and have to feel it,” said Farabaugh, who smiles and laughs easily.
More surprising, Farabaugh knew very little about either furniture or running a business.
But she had a mission. She wanted to start a business that would help save the rainforest by selling furniture made from sustainable wood grown in the U.S. (and preferably Vermont) and to bolster Vermont’s 200+-year-old furniture-making tradition.
So she started Vermont Woods Studios. From a spare bedroom in her Vernon home, she began selling unique Vermont-made furniture, such as Chad Woodruff’s quarter-sawn white oak tables, David Holzapfel’s ultra-modern yet primitive coat racks made of maple saplings and blackened cherry burls, and her husband Ken’s own maple inlaid side tables. Surprising even to Farabaugh, and through trial and error, she found a niche.
Now in its ninth year, Vermont Woods Studios has grown 35 percent in the past two years, and business doubled in the two previous years. The company now employs over a dozen people, and this past fall, they opened Stonehurst, a renovated 18th-century farmhouse and barn that serve as company headquarters and showroom. It’s finally a place where customers can see — and touch — the cherry, maple, oak, and walnut fine home furnishings that they have found on the web.
But the reasons customers have flocked to Vermont Woods Studios may surprise Farabaugh."
We wish to express our deep gratitude to Peggy for all the time and talent she put into telling our story! And if you love part 1 as much as we do, stay tuned, we'll be posting part 2 of our story on the blog early next week. Part 2 will include some spectacular customer stories and more insight on why we're "more than just sustainable wood."