Vermont Woods Studios Review
Did you know that Amazon now ships houses? I’m not even kidding. It’s officially official: you can now flat pack and ship anything. Literally (probably) anything. While I concede there are some very sustainable aspects possible with this method of mass production, there is something else, something deep and connective, that is lost in the process.
Vermont Woods Studios is reclaiming that lost element – the art of quality craftsmanship meant to last for lifetimes – and offering it up to you. With a mission to provide the best furniture and home decor made responsibly in Vermont, this company exemplifies what slow living should be: high-quality, handcrafted, traditional technique and a variety of design are infused in every piece.
Love The Way You Live
Your home is your cocoon, your safe space amidst a tumultuous existence. So why not love all of your surroundings? Anyone can copy a page in a catalog, replicating constructed color palettes and perfectly-set settees, but real joy is found looking across a room. Instead of seeing pieces of decor, you see stories. There’s a journey in finding the perfect piece, and the discovery of how it was made and the hands that touched it help to make it personal, particular, an extension of you. Furniture is an investment – not just financially, but emotionally. If it was made with pride, then why not feel prideful?
Initially, VWS worked with FSC certified wood, but quickly found the system lacking in many ways and instead “doubled down” on locally sourced timber. By working with woodworkers they’ve known for years, people who have trusted relationships with their suppliers, they can feel confident that they make their products from responsibly sourced wood, and sometimes from reclaimed stock, like local barn wood.
“We only get our furniture from small Vermont companies, owned by people we’ve carefully vetted and known for many years. They know where their wood comes from and are committed to sustainable sourcing. We work only with local partners who have earned our trust over the years.”
Peggy Farabaugh, President and Founder
These local partners are artisan woodworkers with independent studios around Vermont. The variety of pieces mean that several will likely speak to you, as they spoke to me.
Okay, So What Else?
VWS not only engage in responsible manufacturing, but they also make the strides you would expect from any holistically sustainable business. From recycling and reducing waste in the office, to collecting wood from just outside for heating – how rustic! But sustainability is best found in overarching beliefs, and I think President Peggy summed up her approach to business nicely after I had contacted her for answers to the critical questions:
“Before making our purchases, we need to ask: where did this come from?…I think most people want to live sustainably, but they don’t realize how far their reality is from that (sustainable) ideal. They have no idea where their stuff comes from. If they knew, they might make better choices – choices that could collectively change the world.”
And she’s exactly right. “If they knew…” Mindfulness. Paying Attention. It’s all different terms for the same thing: we are ostriches, and our heads are in the sand. We are not paying attention to the world around us, and it’s killing us. Even ostriches don’t actually stick their heads in the sand, so what the double hockey sticks do we think we’re doing? Consciousness of the world around us forces us to be mindful of issues, but it’s our humanity that is triggered by the need to do better. How many times have you read the About section of a sustainable brand, brand ambassador, or style-setter, and came across some version of: “but then I found out about … and I just had to do something!” Maybe it’s because it’s my job, but I feel like encounter this sentiment several times a day. It’s prevalent because it’s true.
But this studio can’t be stopped. In addition to production techniques and an infusion of delicate caring, they go steps further to protect the environment, their materials, and the community around them.
“…As wood furniture makers we support nonprofits that work in forest conservation. Through our partners at Forests for Monarchs and the Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees project, we’ve planted over 50,000 trees. We also support local charities, like the Windham County Humane Society, River Arts Gallery, the Vermont Food Bank, Green Up Day, and Groundworks (our local homeless shelter).”
At the end of our interview, Peggy kindly thanked us at SoCo for the work we do, trying to spread the sustainable message. Well, Peggy, I’d like to thank you; for keeping crafting alive, for acting as a responsible example for those around you, and for providing us with a product that can evoke real emotions, connections, responses…Let’s all keep it up.