GARANCE DORE

Etsy considers itself a treasure trove of unique and beautiful items made by talented and creative sellers from around the world. It now wants to uncover some of those diamonds in the rough and bring the gems to light for its community of buyers to discover. So, the e-commerce site is launching its inaugural Etsy Design Awards.

The global competition is seeking the best that the vast web site has to offer, with the help of style experts and tastemakers such as writer and actor Dan Levy, style expert Joe Zee, author and artist Garance Doré, interior designer Sophie Robinson, decor expert Holly Becker, fashion designer Anavila Misra, and Dayna Isom Johnson, Etsy trend expert.

The judges will choose a grand prize winner, who will be awarded $15,000, and five category winners, who will each receive $1,000, for products in the areas of inventive decor, or items that make a home sanctuary-worthy; signature style: statement-making jewelry, fashion and accessories; festive celebrations such as party decor and everything wedding; earth-friendly, sustainably made finds, and creative collaborations, personalized, handcrafted goods.

Winners will also take home a “dazzling trophy, and receive a bundle of marketing and business prizes,” Isom Johnson said, adding that prize winners will be chosen based on quality, creativity, utility, wow factor, backstory and branding. Submissions are being accepted today through May 28, with the winners to be revealed in September.

“I’m excited to discover a vibrant mix of extraordinary products, each with a story and a human connection,” Misra said. “It’s rare to find a platform that provides access to extraordinary handcrafted items of exceptional quality, curated from across the world, with a mission of valuing the human connection in commerce, which is something very close to my heart.

“When it comes to design, I’m most passionate about meticulous craftsmanship and a detailed, thoughtful approach to creation,” Misra added. “There’s a certain timelessness that comes from items made with this philosophy in mind, and it’s what I’ll be looking for in the Etsy Design Awards applicants.”

Becker, who’s been shopping on Etsy for 13 years, said she values the site for its support of small businesses and makers who are “trying to chase their dreams of doing what they love. Etsy enables them to earn money and grow their businesses, support their families, and simply create with their hands and hearts.”

“When styling the costumes for ‘Schitt’s Creek,’ Etsy is a go-to for finding unique, one-of-a-kind items I can’t find anywhere else,” said Levy, who created the stylized sitcom on Canadian television. “When it comes to design, I lean toward pieces that tell a story, whether it’s something handmade that reflects the person who created it, or a vintage treasure that’s lived a life of its own. I’m looking forward to putting my curation skills to the test as a judge for the Etsies, and can’t wait to see what kind of gems will be uncovered.”

A global marketplace for unique and creative goods, Etsy in 2005 was launched in Brooklyn, N.Y., where it’s headquartered. The site, which has 2.1 million sellers, calls itself “wonderfully weird,” and stresses its quirky, off-beat point-of-view, derived from the singular perspectives of its many makers, and the one-off vintage pieces. While the site can seem overwhelming with the sheer number of products for sale — nearly 9 million apparel and footwear sku’s — the Etsy Design Awards are a way to humanize the e-tailer.

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