Hanover-based designer Naima Maneno’s Kitenge African Wax print overalls made her a finalist in the clothing category.
Etsy has announced its list of 100 finalists for the annual Etsy Design Awards. Finalists for the 2020 “Etsies” represent an expanded range of businesses from Etsy’s core categories: home decor, jewelry, clothing, art, kids, pets, accessories, paper goods, weddings, and vintage.
“We’re really excited about being finalists,” said Lisbon-based designers Hugo Formiga and Teresa Almeida of Owl Paperlamps. Their origami-inspired paper lamp kits reached the finals for the papercraft category.
“We’ve already had quite a bit of attention during these past few days. It’s great to receive all the positive feedback and be in touch with people who are curious about what we do. Of course, the attention also brings a new workload with it, but we welcome that!” they said.
The global competition began in June, as Etsy shop owners nominated a favorite item from their shop for a chance to win the $15,000 grand prize. Now Etsy shoppers can participate, and cast their vote for the People’s Choice Award by adding any of the 100 finalists’ designs to their favorites list. The shop whose product gets the most love before October 7th will win the $5,000 People’s Choice prize.
This hand-crafted rope necklace by Istanbul-based designer Yeşim Işı also earned them a spot as a finalist.
Judging the Etsies
Perhaps no one is as excited about the Etsies as actress Drew Barrymore, who, along with Etsy trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson, will judge the finalists for the Design Awards. Barrymore made her love for Etsy sellers known in a viral Instagram video over the summer, and her enthusiasm for indie makers led her to accept a place on this year’s Etsies’ judging panel.
“I’m a huge fan of supporting independent creators,” said Barrymore. “Etsy has long been my favorite treasure trove for all things special and thoughtfully made.”
Designs will be judged using structured criteria, looking at craftsmanship, innovation, utility, ‘Wow’ factor, personal story, and branding. In addition to the grand prize and people’s choice award, ten category winners will also receive cash prizes of $1000 each.
Finalists get a boost in sales and confidence
“The nomination has made my shop very busy!” said Jaime Carlson, jewelry designer behind scandinazn — her rainbow confetti earrings made it to the finals in the jewelry category. Carlson shared that the traffic to her Etsy shop has doubled since she was announced as a finalist. Ahead of the announcement, Carlson spruced up her listings with new eye-catching photos and videos, and a banner to let visitors know about the design awards, and discounted her featured earrings to attract new customers.
“These efforts, plus the increased traffic, have skyrocketed my sales over 400%,” she said. “It’s also been great to have people in my network reach out – new customers too – with messages of congratulations. I’m hoping to keep these engagements going and hopefully delight the new customers I’ve reached thanks to the nomination”
Some Etsies finalists aren’t seeing a big boost in sales, but are excited about the accolades all the same. “Being a finalist hasn’t really affected my sales but I think it’s given some more credibility to my shop,” said Emma Hall, a finalist in the art category for her illustrated prints. “I was excited to share it with my followers on Instagram.”
Finalists come from a wide variety of creative backgrounds and locales. Hanover-based designer Naima Maneno’s Kitenge African Wax print overalls made her a finalist in the clothing category. On the other side of the Atlantic you’ll find Charles-Étienne Brochu, a Québecois artist whose intricately cut paper artwork made it to the Etsies’ finals. Travel halfway around the globe again, and you’ll meet Istanbul-based designer Yeşim Işık, who made it to the finals with her handcrafted rope necklace.
Designers Hugo Formiga and Teresa Almeida of Owl Paperlamps reached the finals for the papercraft category.
Işık says that she’s already feeling uplifted by the attention her work has received so far. For Işık, being a finalist represents a boost during a very turbulent year. “We’re all going through hard times. The country that I live in is in a financial crisis, and my currency lost its value against the dollar. It’s getting harder to promote my work,” she said.
“Being a finalist in the Etsy Design Awards has changed the equation to my side. I have good traffic in my shop now. I made sales, improved my self-confidence, and I’m able to strengthen my hopes.”
Judge Dayna Isom Johnson agrees that it’s important to uplift small businesses—especially during challenging times. “Now more than ever, when you shop from a small business, you’re making a difference in someone’s life and livelihood,” she said.
In addition to cash prizes, Etsy is also awarding Etsy Ads and listing credits, business mentorship from Etsy experts, and promotion on Etsy’s marketing channels, to further support the winning shop owners. Winners will be notified on October 12, with a public announcement expected shortly after.
Erin is the textile designer and artist behind the home décor company, Cotton & Flax. She licenses her surface designs for fabric, home décor, stationery, and other clients. She’s also a teacher, writer, and enthusiastic advocate for small creative business owners. She lives in San Diego, California.