The NY NOW Awards provide an important opportunity for our community to recognize brands who have stood out for their innovation and design, their dedication to designing sustainable products, and those incredible emerging brands.
Best Product by Section
NY NOW’s Best Product Award celebrates products at to the market that push forward the ideas of innovation, authenticity, and sustainability.
Meet our judges
Co-CEO of RIOS
As Co-CEO RIOS, Jessamyn is responsible for the growth and financial vitality of the practice. She oversees the health of finance and business operations and the realization of strategic planning goals. After joining the firm in 2015 as our first CFO, she created infrastructure to catalyze sustainable and scalable growth among the studio’s many disciplines. She drives the creation of processes and procedures that direct and support overall firm operations. Jessamyn’s diverse background spans biotech to renewable energy to extreme sports, which strengthens the entrepreneurial drive behind RIOS. In addition to her role within the practice, she serves as CFO of notNeutral, our sister company focused on tabletop products. Her passion for design amplifies her talent for creating operational clarity to scaffold the bold, transdisciplinary design RIOS is known for. She received her Bachelor of Science from the University of California at Berkeley, and her Master of Business Administration from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.
Creative Director of Happiness at Foundry42+
Cooper Boone is the Creative Director of Happiness at Foundry42+. He is a published clinical psychologist, award-winning singer/songwriter, televised cook, event designer and published interior designer. His interiors and events have been placed in both print and television: Country Living Magazine, New York Magazine, New York Times, HGTV, Fine Living Network and Green Door Magazine. He has curated numerous events for Farmacy Beauty, VP&C Partners, JCPenney as well as multiple specialty events with chefs Heather Carlucci, Shawn Hubbell and Chopped champion Dafna Mizrahi. “My approach to design and merchandising is rooted in a simply stated warm elegance. I get inspired mostly from nature and old objects. My goal is to create accessible, spaces versus aspirational. Everyone deserves to live in an environment they love and represents who they are without paying a fortune.” In the retail realm, Cooper is known for his trend forecasting sense and his keen eye for detail.
Published stylist, decorator, and artist
Shelly Kennedy is a published stylist, decorator, and artist. Her designs have been seen on the pages of People Magazine, Country Living, InStyle, Better Homes & Garden, Coastal Living, Rachel Ashwell’s “Shabby Chic” as well as many other magazines and decor books. Her work has been seen on the set of television shows as ABC’s FRIENDS, Modern Family, and Extreme Home Makeover. And with a love for beautiful spaces and entertaining her homes & studios have been featured by This Old House, Design Sponge, Where Women Create, Where Women Cook, and Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion.
Shelly has worked in the gift industry for over 30 years. Early on as a giftware rep covering all of Chicago, a buyer and merchandiser for a chain of midwest gift shops, and later as a product designer and licensed artist for a few of the industry’s best giftware companies. For over 15 years she grew drooz studio inc., a children’s original art wholesale business – selling art and decorative accessories to stores, designers, mommies and Hollywood celebrities all over the world.
Her art currently is represented by Oopsy Daisy Fine Art for Kids/GreenBox art group.
Her latest endeavor is proprietress of DROOZ + Co.. Opened in 2016 a modern day general store located in her hometown of Skaneateles, New York in the beautiful Finger Lakes region. Offering a little something for everyone, she searches from her backyard to the ends of the world to find the most wonderful and unique goodies for women, men, teens, kids, baby and home.
Emerging Brands Award
The NY NOW Emerging Brand Award celebrates a new brand on the rise and champions a new generation of makers and creators who have recently launched innovative product/s that tell a compelling story across their platforms. This award honors the spirit of creativity and innovation in product, storytelling, and being of the moment.
Meet our judges
Executive Editor of Cool Hunting
Evan is a founder and the Executive Editor of COOL HUNTING—an 18 year old independent publication highlighting innovations in culture, design and technology for a global audience of creative professionals. The Webby Award‑winning business leverages their editorial access and insight, operating an original content studio, strategic consultancy, hosted travel service and product design studio.
Founder of Dims
Eugene Kim founded Dims. in 2018, a home furnishings brand that offers well-designed pieces at a remarkably attainable price, with the goal of transforming great design from aspirational to accessible. Prior to founding Dims., Eugene was VP of Product at a financial technology startup where he gained an appreciation for the power of storytelling and design in helping customers make better decisions. Eugene holds a B.A. in American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and a J.D. from the University of Southern California. Expressing a genuine commitment to serving others, Eugene enjoys promoting the work of talented young designers and acting as a bridge between emerging design talent and a new generation of consumers searching for authenticity and meaning.
Home Director of Apartment Therapy
Danielle Blundell brings over a decade of experience in publishing and design to her role as Apartment Therapy’s Home Director. She’s a graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism and has appeared as an on-air home decor expert for popular shows like Today and The Doctors. Her strengths lie in trend forecasting, storytelling, and squeezing every square inch of storage space out of her small New York City apartment.
Brand & Content Marketing Manager at WGSN
Coming from a design and creative background, Nina has over 8 years’ experience in the market working with brand positioning, storytelling, visual identity, creative direction and communication, assisting brands looking to future-proof their businesses. Nina leads the brand and content marketing strategy at leading trend forecasters WGSN. A respected thought leader with international publications and speaker experience at events in industries ranging from fashion, beauty to food & drink and interiors. She previously worked for VICE Media and creative design and architecture studios in Brazil, where she helped shape brand strategies and execute award-winning projects in architecture, editorial and entertainment. Nina has a BA in Architecture and Urbanism from the University of São Paulo and a specialisation in Brand Innovation at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute.
Sustainable Design Award
The NY NOW Sustainable Design Award highlights and upholds brands and makers who have embedded sustainability, environmentally-friendly production processes and socially responsible or philanthropic models into their business practice. For the longevity of our planet, these practices are vital. See application criteria below:
- “Green” Products: products that are manufactured or constructed with only recycled, recyclable and/or sustainable materials.
- Environmentally friendly Production Processes: manufacturers who are using renewable or alternative sources of energy in production, including wind, sun, alternative fuels and preserving clean water.
- Socially responsible and philanthropic business practices: products produced by indigenous peoples, creating viable, sustainable trades and markets in poverty-stricken and needy communities worldwide; and manufacturers who donate percentages of their sales to not-for-profit organizations.
Meet our judges
Chief Design Officer of Outer
Terry Lin is the Chief Design Officer of Outer, a forward-thinking, community-driven brand redefining outdoor furniture through comfortable, durable, innovative and eco-friendly products. Along with his co-founder, Terry launched Outer in 2019 as a way to redefine the approach to outdoor furniture – both the shopping experience and product offering itself through eco-friendly practices and materials paired with the ability to make both beautiful and durable furniture. Terry’s vision for Outer is to promote conscious design for a better world through carefully crafted, sustainably-minded pieces, while also building a sense of community through Neighborhood Showrooms, a new type of retail experience that brings the showroom home; Neighborhood Showroom allows potential consumers to experience the Outer Sofa in-person at a real customer’s backyard prior to purchasing. Prior to launching Outer, Terry’s experience encompasses the full spectrum of retail and product development. From his work on design strategy at IDEO, to the development of hundreds of successful furniture designs at Pottery Barn along with imagining new customer experiences through the management of eCommerce categories at Walmart, Terry’s collective experience across the different categories of retail coupled with his experience in design and product development gives him a unique perspective on all fronts of the retail industry. Terry holds a B.F.A in Industrial Design from the Rhode Island School of Design and currently lives with his family in San Francisco.
Founder and Creative Director of Monica Diaz Mode
Monica Diaz is the founder and creative director of Monica Diaz Mode a fashion consulting and trend creative service company, whose strategic vision focuses on creating and curating an au courant image and presentations for her clients. A highly experienced expert with over 20 years of career history. With a focus on personal styling, sustainable fashion, product development, textile styling, and trend forecasting. Monica has been a featured guest and fashion correspondent for MFBW, NYFNO, Univision, Fox News Latino, and Ehow. She has also partnered and led projects for Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, Marc Jacobs, Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, JCrew, Lancome. Bergdorf Goodman, the St Regis Hotel, and several Fortune 500 companies. Monica has shared her knowledge as an adjunct professor for LIM College and The Art Institutes. An alumni of the Fashion Institute of Technology, she also has received additional certifications in Image Consulting and Sustainable Fashion from The London Image Institute, London College of Fashion and Copenhagen Business School.
As a personal style coach she helps her clients discover how creating the right image can ignite invaluable changes in their self confidence, career and relationships. Her philosophy centers on helping people translate what inspires them into the sustainable wardrobe of their dreams.
Monica is an advocate for causes she cares deeply about such as Fashion Fights Cancer, NY Cares, and has served on the committee for St Jude Children’s Hospital Gala Por La Vida events.
She is currently working on trend directional projects for her individual and boutique firm clientele. Monica is also writing the 2nd edition of her book 7 Days to Style due out in mid 2021.She is currently working on trend directional projects for her individual and boutique firm clientele. Monica is also writing the 2nd edition of her book 7 Days to Style due out in mid 2021.
Founder of Victoria Akkari Organic Culinary Argan Oil
Passionate about sustainability, food, and creativity lead to thefoundation of Victoria Akkari Organic Culinary Argan Oil, a small-batch luxury edible oil brand handcrafted through our women’scooperative in Morocco that provides local Berber womenemployment through fairtrade.
Victoria Akkari has evolved into a conduit for emerging talent.We specialize in artisans from North African and the MiddleEastern regions, focusing on modernization of ancienttechniques, sustainability, product collaborations, and enablingdesigners to become market-ready. We are excited to launch inthe fall of 2021 presenting fresh new talent in American andEuropean markets.
An alumna of the Fashion Institute of Technology, I have aBusiness Certificate from Columbia University, I also studiedproduct design at Parson’s School of Design and fashion designat Regent’s University London, and I believe that the worldwould be far less bright without the spirit of creativity.
August 08-11, 2021 | Javits Center