Seller Handbook

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Seller Handbook

2021 Etsy Design Awards Seller Guide

Submit your most unique piece for a chance to win.

By Katy Svehaug Jun 14, 2021

The 2021 Etsy Design Awards is a salute to our inspiring sellers—and their one-of-a-kind finds that blow our minds. Sound like you? Then show us! Submit your most unique piece for a chance to win.

Read on to learn more about this year’s competition, then enter your submission here. Submissions will be open from June 14, 2021 through June 25, 2021.


Enter for a chance to be named the Grand Prize Etsy Design Award Winner, the Silver Etsy Design Award Winner, the Bronze Etsy Design Award Winner, the Klarna People’s Pick Award Winner, or one of the 100 finalists.

Grand Prize Etsy Design Award Winner

  • $20,000 USD cash prize
  • Inclusion in an upcoming Etsy TV ad

Silver Etsy Design Award Winner

  • $15,000 USD cash prize

Bronze Etsy Design Award Winner

  • $10,000 USD cash prize

Klarna People’s Pick Award Winner

  • $5,000 USD cash prize

All winners will also receive:

  • A winner shop badge
  • Mentorship from Etsy experts
  • Features on Etsy’s marketing channels, including social media, blog, email, and an Editor’s Picks page

All 100 finalists will receive:

  • $250 USD Etsy Gift Card
  • Finalist Shop Badge
  • $50 USD in Etsy Ads credits
  • 50 free listing credits
  • Promotion on Etsy’s marketing channels, including social media, blog, email, and an Editor’s Picks page

Enter now


Select the option that best represents your handmade or vintage entry.

Category Details Item examples
Art For the extraordinary pieces that spark emotions prints, paintings, photography, fibre arts, illustrations, sculpture
Bags & Accessories For the fantastic finishing touches that make the entire outfit hats, cold weather accessories, hair accessories, backpacks, handbags, keychains, eyewear, scarves & bandanas, socks
Clothing & Shoes For the gorgeous garbs and footwear with outstanding details dresses & jumpsuits, tops & tees, bottoms, jackets & coats, swimwear, sandals, boots, sneakers & athletic shoes, clogs & mules, slippers
Furniture For the expertly crafted pieces that build a home chairs & ottomans, tables, desks, beds & headboards, dressers & vanities, consoles & cabinets
Home & Living For the daring decor accents that shape how we nest home décor & accessories, bath & beauty, kitchen & dining, outdoor & gardening, storage & organization
Jewelry For the skillfully crafted pieces that shimmer, sparkle, and stun necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings, brooches, pins & clips, body jewelry, watches
Kids For the imaginative pieces that capture little hearts toys, games & puzzles, kids’ crafts & DIYs, kids’ & baby clothing, costumes, nursery décor
Pets For the furry-friend finds that are the cat’s meow collars & leashes, pet clothing, accessories & shoes, pet furniture, pet carriers & houses, pet toys, pet grooming & wellness
Weddings & Celebrations For the thoughtful designs that elevate the special day wedding attire, wedding jewelry & accessories, party decorations, gifts & mementos, guestbooks, cards & invitations, banners & signs
Vintage For the superbly sourced items from yesteryear vintage home décor & furniture, vintage jewelry, clothing & accessories, vintage art & collectibles


Meet the esteemed experts who will be selecting this year’s standouts.

Leanne Ford is an interior designer, renowned for her signature modern yet lived-in, “white on white” aesthetic. Her work has been featured in Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, the New York Times, and more. She currently stars in Restored by the Fords and Home Again with the Fords on HGTV, with her brother, contractor Steve Ford.

Meena Harris is the founder of the groundbreaking brand Phenomenal and is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, lawyer, and producer. She released her latest book, Ambitious Girl, in January 2021 and has been featured in The Washington Post, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. Meena is a respected entrepreneur and an influential voice for gender equity.

Joseph Altuzarra is a world-renowned, award-winning fashion designer and creative director of his eponymous luxury women's ready-to-wear and accessories brand. Born and raised in Paris, Joseph has been keenly interested in the transformative power of fashion from a young age. His multicultural Franco-American upbringing and avid interest in different facets of culture ranging from dance, film and literature to fine art and crafts make up key influences throughout his collections.

Dayna Isom Johnson is the trend expert for Etsy and a judge on the NBC primetime series ‘Making It’. As part of her role at Etsy, Dayna is responsible for keeping her finger on the pulse of the hottest trends on the market. She is in constant pursuit of new and unique finds on Etsy in an effort to unearth the latest and greatest designs, up-and-coming Etsy shops, and sellers with exciting stories.

Winners will be chosen based on the following: quality, creativity, utility, “wow” factor, personal story, and branding. You can read more about the criteria here.

How to enter

Ready to submit your item? Complete your entry in just three steps.

Step One: Take a moment to confirm that you are eligible to apply. Please review the full Official Rules before entering.

Step Two: Next, double-check that your shop is in tip-top shape. Here are some helpful ways to make it stand out from the rest. Note that your item must have at least three photos, and your shop must have five or more listings.

Step Three: Submit your expertly-crafted, high-quality, flat-out amazing item.

Enter now

Once you've submitted your item, you can let everyone know you’ve entered the Etsy Design Awards using #TheEtsies.

Tips for perfecting your submission

Examples of the 2020 category winners' including designs from (clockwise from top left): Mai Solorzano, My Mini Fam, Demi Macrame Designs and Fashion for Fables.

Here are a few best practices to keep in mind before submitting your listing:

  • A strong item submission. Make sure you pick your shining star item—it should be original, innovative, high quality, have a wow factor, and serve a purpose.
  • Great photos. Your listing should have high-quality photography with a strong aesthetic to show off your branding and tell a cohesive story. Include at least five photos from various angles. Better yet, use all 10 photo spots to show off what makes your item incredible. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Product Photography for insights on lighting, shooting, and editing your photos.
  • An optimized listing and shop. Make sure your listing is set up for success by using all 13 tags and filling out your item description with clear, compelling language. Also, make sure you have at least five listings, complete your shop policies, and consider shipping globally and offering free shipping.
  • Your story. We want to hear about your maker/curator story to learn more about you and your shop, so make sure you share it in your about section. Share where you draw your inspiration from and how your shop came to be. Read How to Craft a Killer About Section for more tips.

Insights from past winners:

"Make sure that you’re submitting your best work, and that it’s unique! It doesn’t need to be groundbreaking, but make sure it has something special. And make sure your shop is looking good. For us, I think having a range of price points also helped. You want to be a good ambassador." —Martinus Pool of AdrianMartinus; Grand Prize winner, 2020

“Choose a product that has a very good story or background story to it. There should be a clear message about why this product is needed, who would like to have it, and attractive in terms of imagery—strong photos are very important, too.” —Sian Zeng; Grand Prize winner, 2019

Additional resources:

[Listen] Pro Tips From Last Year’s Etsy Design Awards Winners: Find out how these 2020 Etsy Design Awards winners chose which product to enter and how they made their shop and listing shine for the judges.

[Read] Introducing the Winners of Etsy’s 2020 Design Awards! Feast your eyes on all the creative genius on display in last year’s top designs, and discover the people—and the passion—behind the products.

[Watch] Meet Wallpaper Artist Sian Zeng, Grand Prize Winner of the 2019 Etsy Design Awards: Go behind the scenes with the 2019 Etsy Design Award Grand Prize Winner to see how she transforms her hand-painted artwork into interactive wallpaper patterns.


Q: What are the Etsy Design Awards?

A: The Etsy Design Awards (aka The Etsies) is Etsy’s global award program. Honoring the work of sellers from around the world and across multiple categories, The Etsies celebrate Etsy’s global community of creative entrepreneurs and shines a spotlight on their unique talents. One Etsy seller will be named the Etsy Design Award Grand Prize Winner. Two Etsy sellers will be named the Silver Etsy Design Award Winner and Bronze Etsy Design Award Winner, respectively. In addition to these awards, the Klarna People’s Pick Award will be given to the top-voted finalist. The winner will be determined by a community vote, which will open when the finalists are announced in July 2021 and will take place on and the Etsy app. Voters located in the United States or Germany can cast an additional vote within the Klarna app.

Q: Which category should I enter?

A: There are 10 categories to choose from. Please see the categories section to help determine which category best fits your item.

Q: Can I enter more than once?

A: You may enter once per shop that you own: and for each shop you may only enter one product in one category. We recommend choosing the item that you feel best represents your talents.

Q: Do I need to have an Etsy shop to enter the competition?

A: Yes, an Etsy seller account with at least five (5) active listings is required to enter the competition.

Q: How do I enter the competition?

A: To enter the Etsy Design Awards, simply follow the steps outlined here.

Q: Can I edit my entry?

A: Yes, you will have a chance to review your entry before final submission, but you must complete your entry when you start it. You will not be able to save it and return to it.

Q: What are the submission dates?

A: Submissions will be open from June 14, 2021 at 12:01 am ET until June 25, 2021 at 11:59 pm ET. Finalists will be notified no later than July 6, 2021 and winners will be announced in August 2021.

Q: What if I miss the deadline for submissions?

A: To be fair to all applicants, and in accordance with the Official Rules, we are unable to accept entries after the submission deadline.

Q: What are the competition rules and prizing details?

A: The Etsy Design Awards rules and prizing details can be found in the Official Rules.

Q: What criteria must I meet in order to apply?

A: To qualify for entry, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Your shop is active.
  • Your shop has at least five listings.
  • Your submitted item has a minimum of three photos.
  • You are the owner of the shop and are submitting yourself (please do not enter on another shop’s behalf).
  • You are only submitting one entry per shop.
  • Your shop and items comply with Etsy Guidelines and Etsy Seller Guidelines.
  • If your item is vintage or one-of-a-kind, we require that you put this item on hold from the time you enter until finalists are announced in July. If your vintage or one-of-a-kind item sells during this period, your submission becomes null and void.

Q: Sellers from which countries are eligible to enter The Etsy Design Awards?

A: Sellers in the following countries may enter: United States, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and Vietnam.

Q: Why is my country not included?

A: While we’ve tried to be as inclusive of as many sellers globally as possible, due to legal restrictions, the Etsy Design Awards is not open to sellers in all countries.

Q: How are the Etsy Design Awards winners determined?

A: Etsy will narrow down all the applicants to a maximum of 100 total finalists across the 10 categories. After the initial review, the Etsy Design Awards judging panel will be reviewing and selecting finalists according to the six criteria below to determine the Grand Prize Etsy Design Award Winner, Silver Etsy Design Award Winner, and Bronze Etsy Design Award Winner. The Klarna People’s Pick Award will be given to the top-voted finalist during the voting period in July 2021. Votes can be cast both on and the Etsy app. Voters located in the United States or Germany can cast an additional vote within the Klarna app.

Q: What are the criteria my product will be judged on?

A: Here is a breakdown of what will be considered:

Quality: Overall level of craftsmanship and skill.

Creativity & innovation: Is your item unique or imaginative?

Utility & functionality: Is your item functional? Does it serve its purpose?

'Wow’ factor: Is your item stunning?

Personal story: Your maker or curator story.

Top-notch branding: Does your shop feature clear, compelling descriptions, excellent customer service, and high-quality photography?

Q: What’s the best way to prepare my shop for the Etsy Design Awards?

A: We’re looking for eye-catching shops that offer a great customer experience. If you become a finalist, all eyes could be on your items. To prepare for a potential increase in traffic and to give your submission an edge, make sure your shop is in its best shape. That includes best practices like completing your shop policies, using all 13 tags in your submitted product’s listing, and capturing all its best angles with at least five photos. Read 7 Essential Types of Product Photos for ideas. Bonus tip: Consider going the extra mile for customers and standing out to judges by shipping globally and/or offering free shipping.

Q: How will I find out if I am a finalist?

A: Etsy will notify all finalists directly using the email address provided with their entry no later than July 6, 2021. See the Official Rules for more information.

Q: How will I find out if I am a winner?

A: Etsy will notify all winners directly using the email address provided with their entry in August 2021. We will also notify the public of all the winners on no later than August 31, 2021. See the Official Rules for more information.

Q: Can vintage sellers participate? What happens if my item sells during the Awards?

A: Yes! Vintage sellers are welcome to submit an outstanding vintage find in the Vintage category, so long as it meets Etsy’s vintage policy. If you have multiple quantities of your item, we suggest that you continue to replenish any sold listings submitted until the winners are announced. If your item is one-of-a-kind, we require that you put this item on hold from the time you enter until finalists are announced in July in order to remain eligible.

Q: How is the Klarna People’s Pick Award winner chosen?

A: The Klarna People’s Pick Award is determined by community vote. Between July 13, 2021 and July 20, 2021, shoppers can cast a vote for any finalist they love in two different ways:

  • Vote on or the Etsy app: Shoppers can cast a vote for any finalist using Etsy’s favoriting tool, by hovering over the listing image and clicking the heart button that appears.
  • Vote on the Klarna app: Shoppers in the US and Germany can cast an additional vote for any finalist on the Klarna app, within the Etsy Design Awards Collection.

The Klarna People’s Pick Award winner will be determined by the item that receives the most eligible favorites on both Etsy and the Klarna app combined during the voting period (July 13-20, 2021.). See the Official Rules for more information.

Q: How does the Etsy Design Awards Klarna offer work?

A: Shoppers in the US paying with Klarna will receive $10 USD in Etsy credit when they purchase an item from a finalist’s shop on during the voting period (July 13, 2021 - July 20, 2021). See the Terms & Conditions for more information.

Official Rules | Terms of Use | Privacy | Interest-based ads | Enter now


Katy Svehaug

Katy Svehaug is a Brooklyn-based writer and maker.

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