The judges of The GWG Awards 2014 have been put through their paces over the past few weeks, testing the sites that are sparring to take the top prize, Website of the Year. As ever, the standard of entries has been impressive covering a very diverse range of subjects. It's been difficult to filter them down to a shortlist and the next step will be even harder. What the shortlist does represent is a good mix of sites that we hope you'll find useful. As one of the judges, Michelle Carvill, said, "It’s been great to uncover some fabulously innovative services I didn’t even know existed."
We thoroughly recommend that you click on the links below and have a good browse around some of these sites and let us know what you think.
You'll also get the chance to vote for your favourite site in the People's Choice.
The category winners and overall Website of the Year will be announced by Xenios Thrasyvoulou of PeoplePerHour
at the Awards Reception on Monday 17th November at The Royal Institution of Great Britain, Albemarle Street, W1, London.
Celebrating fine jewellery design and craftsmanship as well as pioneering the very best in online luxury. Its aim is to challenge the preconceptions of fine jewellery by introducing a plethora of coloured gemstones and playing with precious metals’ colours and textures to inspire and delight its growing audience.
CARNET DE MODE
An international marketplace showcasing a unique, curated selection of clothing, shoes, handbags and jewellery. Its mission is to discover young and as yet unknown fashion designers and to introduce them to an international online audience.
The online destination for buying and selling pre-owned luxury fashion. Covetique offers a simple and hassle-free way to sell your designer wardrobe and to discover and buy the amazing wardrobes of stylish women around the world.
WOLF & BADGER
Wolf & Badger has become the leading destination to discover and buy direct from independent designer brands.
Interior designer, Dragon, author and proprietor of Kelly Hoppen Interiors. Kellyhoppen.com was her first online store, though she has sold her interior designing books, and consulted private clients and businesses about interior design for many years. Crafted to guide, the site reads like a magazine, curating product stories and concepts, immersing visitors in The Art of Home at every stage of their shopping experience.
Occa-Home offers its time pressed and style conscious customers exactly what they've been looking for - unique and luxury branded interior homeware and lifestyle collections, curated by professional interior designers. New products are added weekly, along with editorial giving design advice, shop the look boutiques, magazine style blog, news, trends and an interactive moodboard - everything you need to design your home and more.
URBANARA provides the world with beautiful, high-quality homewares, without the sky-high price tag. It works directly with suppliers, producing in small batches to minimise stock and delivers direct to your doorstep. By cutting out all the additional margins that traditional retailers add on, it can offer you high quality products at up to 60% less than on the high street.
The world’s first virtual gardening school. It’s a unique global online horticultural classroom where you can study online gardening courses wherever you live in the world.
Shoot is a unique website for amateur and professional gardeners to design, manage, care for and share their gardens online.
FOOD & DRINK
Sign up to receive a monthly delivery of handcrafted beers from the best independent microbreweries around the UK and abroad. Beer 52’s resident beer experts have visited breweries all around the world, in the search of the most interesting brews they can find, in order to deliver a carefully curated case of these craft beers from its favourite microbreweries every month.
An online food ordering platform, enabling customers to enter their postcode to browse and order from local takeaway restaurants online. The site removes the need to keep curled up paper menus in the kitchen drawer and opens up a whole new world of takeaway choice. 9,000 restaurant partners across the UK.
A marketplace connecting food lovers with the UK's best independent food and drink producers, with a mission to enable everyone to discover and enjoy the abundance of innovative and delicious foods produced by passionate, talented people.
BEST OF BRITISH
Combines digital photos and your text to make one-off beautifully bound books. Starting from £15.99, these photo books can commemorate weddings, anniversaries, a special occasion, your children (the list is endless), whilst making the most perfect present and personal keepsake.
Whether you're a surfer, a banker, a toddler or an octogenarian, Runaway Coast’s mission is to create cool, beautiful, fresh and fabulous products. Launched in May 2009, Runaway Coast is a fast growing British born lifestyle label. Product range covers fabrics, bed linens, signature giant cushions as well as a host of beautiful home accessories all made in the UK.
Shop from over 250 brilliant British designers at this online boutique or sign up for the exclusive member weekly offers. Free delivery, and the kind of personal service you'd expect at your favourite boutique. Lux Fix is proud to support brilliant British creative talent, with the kind of convenience and service you would expect at your favourite boutique.
Housekeep.com is the award-winning online booking platform for professional home cleaning. The website has a simple user journey, with customers able to book a professional home clean in only 60 seconds! Housekeepers go through rigorous training, are background-checked and are insured. The site also showcases 5 star reviews, and housekeeper profiles so customers can get to know their housekeepers that little bit better.
Placebuzz.com is simply a property search engine that helps people find a place to live, aggregating listings from all over the web, giving its users a powerful relevant search to find their dream home. Placebuzz scans all the major property sites so you that can search for property both for sale and let, from a single portal.
POSITIVE SOCIAL & ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
Award-winning organic beauty retailer, selling a hand picked collection of some of the world’s finest and purest organic beauty products, including skincare, bath products, make up, haircare and baby care, made by experts equally passionate about natural and organic ingredients.
Original Beans produces one of the world's best chocolate, with the aim to protect biodiversity and to support poor cocoa farmers. Both Michelin starred chefs and environmentally conscious consumers value its pure chocolate, made from the rarest, most flavourful cocoa beans and a little cane sugar. For every bar sold a local farmer plants a new tree, which benefits both the forest and his family.
This self proclaimed ‘avenue for new and experienced collectors to view and buy art' is all about the innovative, offering up all manner of visual experiences to give you a fly on the wall view of quality works. An unparalleled level of support and expert insight sets ARTUNER apart from its online competitors.
THE CULTURE TRIP
Founded in 2011, this one-stop website showcases the best of art, culture and travel for every single country in the world. It has a particular focus on Asia and other emerging markets. The site has sections for every country, including a book and film store organised by country and by genre.
TRAVEL & LEISURE
THE FLASH PACK
Experts in small group travel and tailor-made holidays for those who like their adventure with more style and comfort! Its mission is to fuse together the spirit of a backpacker with the sophistication of the jet set. Perfect for the solo traveller, The Flash Pack offers experience-led group tours where you can meet like-minded people of your age - not a 19-year-old or pensioner in site. In fact The Flash Pack likes to think that it’s single-handedly rehabilitating the reputation of the group holiday.
UK based tour operator specialising in handmade, active holidays to Spain and Latin America. Its mission is to deliver unique holidays in stunning places. From a walking holiday in Chile to hiking the Inca Trail in Peru or an inn to inn walk in northern Spain, it will tailor the holiday to suit your needs. A lively magazine ensures that the site offers more than just holidays.
Winerist’s motto is to make wine and food travel simple, authentic and booked online. Winerist has a large community of local wine experts who have created free travel guides and best tips on where to go and why. It has over 1000 authentic experiences in 75 destinations.
Flubit aims to disrupt how people buy online with its new online shopping experience. It is the place to go when shoppers have already found the best price online, but want an even better offer created for them. Users simply input the URL of the product they are looking to buy into its site and Flubit will get back to them with a cheaper offer which is unique to them. As the strapline goes, “Before you buy it, Flubit.”
Modafirma is an exclusive social commerce fashion platform. It operates as a serviced retail business and provides the online technology for carefully selected fashion designers and fashion retailers from all over the world to sell and showcase globally via fashion boutiques and fashion galleries located on its platform.
Taxicode is a taxi/private hire lead generator and online booking system. It’s one of the first companies in the UK to realise the benefits of using the internet to generate business for the taxi industry. Its system was designed from the ground up in collaboration with taxi drivers, taxi companies and genuine customers booking tens of thousands of journeys using the system each year.
An online business school for designers and makers, offering practical, honest and inspirational advice and support to entrepreneurial creatives. Business club members get practical expert information through one hour webinars and short video interviews, support through the online community and monthly Q&A call with The Design Doctor answering any business questions.
A revolutionary food cost and price monitoring system for hospitality professionals. Too many food businesses are relying on little more than gut-feeling that they are operating profitably. How do you really know that each dish you serve makes you a profitable return? Kitchen CUT gives you complete control over your food costs and your kitchen operations, typically saving its members between 2-5% on their food costs.
SmartFocus is a company that provides software and professional services to marketers to interact in a one-to-one and personal way with customers, and ensure the customer journey is seamless across every platform.
MY PHOTO SCHOOL
Online photography courses that offer excellent value for money with the first and only online photography school to offer a classroom learning experience from the comfort of your own home.
Brilliantly inspired lessons in London, from poker to ping pong, baking to biking. The Indytute makes it easy to discover unique experiences and even easier to book.
THE WORLD WEEKLY
The World Weekly aims to be the first truly international current affairs magazine, bringing together some of the world's best journalism for free. This disruptive news magazine is designed to help you better understand the most important international events of the week, in a balanced and insightful way.
Promoting tourism, business and the arts in Nunney, Somerset, run by local volunteers.
GET THE GLOSS
An online directory of the best beauty products and services in the business, offering expert advice and recommendations.
Hargreaves Lansdown is the largest direct to consumer service and online investment resource in the UK. It is an integral part of Hargreaves Lansdown’s mission to help investors make more of their investments by providing the best information, the best service and the best prices.
Nutmeg gives investors a new way to invest - one that is fair on cost, high-performing and accessible.
The UK's largest childcare and tutors search site, helping connect parents with local childcare providers and tutors. Over 1,000,000 people have used the service.
Record all your health information, track your progress, connect with similar people, share with your doctor. Pow Health is a powerful new service that’s designed to give you more control over long-term health whether you're managing a healthy lifestyle or medical conditions. Consumer-friendly, it 'feels like Facebook', except it's anonymous.
Providing a simple solution to a very common problem, connecting home and pet owners who need a sitter with trustworthy people who want to housesit; reliable pet lovers and experienced home minders who are willing to live in your home and look after it while you’re away (usually for free).
An RSPCA initiative to raise awareness of its work whilst proving that we're a nation of animal lovers.
Reliable health information from patients for patients. Listening to people with the same problems as you can help you feel less alone. Finding that person isn’t always easy. This charity has interviewed thousands of people about what it’s really like to have a condition such as cancer, arthritis or depression.
THE BABY CENTRE
BabyCentre® is a premier pregnancy and parenting website, reaching two million parents every month, one in five new and expecting mums online globally. Since its launch in 1997, BabyCentre has nurtured more than 240 million parents and is now the most recommended and most trusted pregnancy and parenting website among mums.
Natasha Corrett is a self-taught chef with a passion for delicious, healthy alkaline food. Honestly Healthy was founded in 2010 and has gone from strength to strength following the success of the first book Honestly Healthy Eat With Your Body In Mind The Alkaline Way. The site is a useful resource with recipes, a helping hand and an inspiration to people who are struggling with everything from motivation, to weight problems to cancer.
MyBeautyCompare is pioneering personalised shopping in the billion dollar beauty industry, growing organically from word of mouth recommendations from fans. Nothing like this has been done before where people received unbiased recommendations based on their profile, expert advice and lifestyle choices. It has even implemented the world’s first price comparison site for beauty so people can find the right product at the right price.
Naturally Sassy is a web space to inspire the next generation of young men and women to lead a healthy and happy lifestyle. The stigma with healthy eating is that it can be bland, boring and really hard to maintain. All the recipes on the website are simple, making healthy eating attainable to even the busiest of people.
EXCELLENCE IN CUSTOMER SERVICE
UK based tour operator specialising in handmade, active holidays to Spain and Latin America.
Suppliers of biodegradable natural petal confetti for weddings and special occasions, all handpicked from the company's farm set in the rolling fields of Shropshire, along with wheat sheaves and lavender bundles, adding a touch of country chic.
Bringing together a fabulous collection of great designs, to create a one-stop shop for high quality, unique and beautifully made homeware and gift items.
Offering families with small children and babies safer and more relaxing holidays. All child friendly holiday properties are visted and checked by its team of mums to ensure that they are somewhere that you can happily spend precious, quality time with your family.
10 November 2014