The return of the Housewares Design Awards after a brief hiatus serves up a reminder of how fast things change in this business.
HomeWorld Business presented the first Housewares Design Awards in 2004. It filled a void at the time as the first independently judged competition focused on housewares design excellence. And it also came as the industry was wrestling to overcome commoditization. The Housewares Design Awards helped raise the profile and value of an industry embracing design as a differentiator.
Change is in the air again as we announce the 12th edition of the Housewares Design Awards (see story, June 6, 2016, issue). We’re pleased to welcome a new host partner: International Market Centers’ Las Vegas Market. The 2017 Housewares Design Awards ceremony will be held January 24, 2017, at the World Market Center during the Winter Las Vegas Market. Las Vegas Market, through its Gift & Home Décor division, also is providing valuable judging, operational and promotional support— validating the independent judging platform so vital to the competition’s authenticity and merit.
After 11 Housewares Design Awards ceremonies in New York City, Las Vegas Market, which continues to build its position as a Western U.S. marketplace for gifts and gourmet housewares to go with its furniture core, serves up a dynamic venue for honoring the most exciting new designs in housewares.
Another big change since we last handed out the Housewares Design Awards is evident in the diversifying sources of design inspiration and invention disrupting traditional design and development practices.
This business, to its credit, has always welcomed interesting new ideas from entrepreneurs. But access to a consolidating mass retail market provided a mounting hurdle to independent inventors and designers without established finance, production, sales and distribution means.
Today, though, crowd sourced innovation and the “Maker Movement” of grass roots invention are being fueled by online-socialized ideation and investment. New products born from such development can bypass mass production, conventional marketing and the traditional retail supply chain to get into the hands of consumers.
It is no surprise that some established vendors and retailers have countered by widening their design and development lenses in an effort to discover and enable inventors with interesting products and interesting stories about those products.
The Housewares Design Awards has always championed the democracy of housewares design excellence, where a well-designed, commercially viable, novel product is not judged by the size of the entity that enters it into consideration. That won’t change as the next generation of the awards program begins.
The housewares design and development arena, however, is more inclusive than ever. That promises to inspire industry-wide change in how new products are conceived and brought to market.
That change is happening fast.
The Housewares Design Awards competition is ready for it.