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Awarding Design Still Good Idea 10 Years Later

We’ve all heard about business ideas scribbled on napkins during lunch. That’s exactly how the Housewares Design Awards program was hatched 10 years ago.

Rewind to that fateful day in 2002 at a restaurant in Long Island. A colleague and I were contemplating what HomeWorld Business could do to help the industry fill a January void when the Housewares Show moved to March in 2004.

The industry still needed an inviting, distinctive event to kick off the year, we figured. After some brainstorming— and a few napkins— we drew up the initial idea for the Housewares Design Awards

Soul Of Housewares

Why a housewares design competition? 

At the time, pricepoint-driven retailing was becoming so pervasive that it threatened to undermine the inventiveness that has been the soul of housewares development and marketing for generations. Despite limited breathing room, though, much of the housewares industry had remained diligent to create innovative new solutions that could stem eroding prices and fading differentiation.

“Design, Design, Design” surely seemed a more aspirational mantra for the business and its future than “Price, Price, Price.”

Housewares design leaders at the time could choose from general design competitions, but there was no comprehensive, housewares-focused design competition. 

The time was right for the Housewares Design Awards.

Flash forward a decade later. HomeWorld Business is proud to have been the founder and caretaker of a Housewares Design Awards program that has evolved into the industry’s pre-eminent, independent design competition. 

Growth Catalyst

Much has changed in the industry since the very first Housewares Design Awards ceremony in January 2004 at New York’s Gotham Hall. One constant, however, is the central role design innovation plays as a catalyst for growth in housewares.

The Housewares Design Awards program has accepted more than 2,700 entries, nominated 585 finalists and crowned 119 winners. That some of the highest entry totals have come in leaner economic years is a testament to the industry’s creative determination.

With that, we invite the industry to enter the 2013 Housewares Design Awards and partake in a 10th anniversary celebration that figures to direct the spotlight even brighter on the design achievement helping to lift the value of the industry. 

Inspiring Innovation

Beyond the marketing advantages enabled by winning a prestigious Housewares Design Award, entrants also vie for a chance to showcase their products to millions of consumers. The 2012 Housewares Design Awards campaign alone produced more than 575 consumer editorial placements with a combined 86 million circulation. Coverage in  2013 will be pushed to even higher levels with the help of increased social media action.

The theme of the 2013 Housewares Design Awards— “Inspiring Innovation for 10 Years”— proudly signifies the program’s role in promoting innovative design. It also underscores the retail success and consumer satisfaction inspired by many of the entries, finalists and winners.

With the support of the program’s sponsors— including The Gourmet Housewares Show at NYIGF, Whitford Corporation and Gourmet Insider magazine— 2013 Housewares Design Awards winners will be crowned January 29, 2013, at the Marriott Marquis in New York City, home to the awards gala since 2005. See the 2013 Housewares Design Awards brochure in the August 6, 2012, issue or go to for competition rules and entry details.

Thanks to the industry’s commitment to innovation, the Housewares Design Awards turned out to be a good idea.

Who knows? The ideas for some of this year’s prospective winners might have started as scribbles on napkins.