Diwali, India’s Festival Of Light, is the most important holiday for the global Indian community. As much as it is a time to participate in family traditions, it is also a huge commercial opportunity for businesses, retailers and vendors that cater to the needs of the growing Indian community.
Diwali falls in October or November each year. Indians celebrate the holiday with lavish meals, lighting clay lamps, elaborate house décor, fireworks, exchanging sweets and much more. The month preceding Diwali is the Indian community’s classic gift-giving season. Individuals, small businesses and large corporate houses budget for Diwali gifting and workers’ bonuses at the outset of every financial year.
The Diwali industry is well developed in India but in other parts of the world it is limited by the geographical and cultural context of businesses in the Indian community. Given the increasing numbers of Indians all over the world and increasing evidence of unsustainable Diwali practices, this holiday has become an opportunity for eco vendors and businesses all over the world.
What Are The Opportunities for Eco Businesses at Diwali?
Truth be told, the opportunities are plenty. Eco businesses that offer gifting, holiday greetings, food catering, candles and decorations all have a chance to ‘shine’ during the festival of lights. Here are just a few ideas:
Recycled Greeting Cards
The Indian community sends greeting cards during the Diwali season just as the western community sends cards during Christmas. Ecopreneurs such as Vaibhav Diwakar of VJ Imprints (a card manufacturing company) have been making eco-friendly cards for all occasions and gift packages for over 10 years. “We use paper that is recycled from cotton rags and our paper products are absolutely wood-free! We then get local craftsmen to paint and design all our cards, gift boxes and notebooks.” (www.ibnlive.in.com) These cards are available at select card stores across the globe.
Similar to the Fourth of July for the Americans and Chinese New Year for the Chinese, Diwali is synonomous with fireworks. Even though it is preferable to stay away from fireworks, it can be challenging for an Indian to completely abstain from this aspect of the holiday. So the next best alternative is eco-friendly fireworks. There are a few manufacturers who are now making fireworks that do not produce smoke or fire, keeping the environment free of noise and air pollution. Sai Prasad Fireworks (based in Mumbai) manufacture eco-friendly sparklers, rockets, spinning wheels, fountains and other fireworks that are less polluting to the atmosphere.
The word ‘Diwali’ comes from ‘Dipawali’, a row (awali) of clay lamps (dipa) filled with oil, that is traditionally lit up outside homes and offices on the five nights of the holiday. Given that the clay lamps are increasingly replaced with easier-to-manage candles the holiday also provides a huge opportunity to eco-candle makers. Given that Diwali falls just two months before Christmas, candle vendors simply need to plan for an earlier to start, it makes for the perfect industry extension to the already busy Western commercial holiday season.
Eco- Friendly Gift Companies
Indians might refrain from gift giving at other times of the year however even in a bad economy, Diwali is a prime occasion for gifting. In India, Diwali gift fairs are held starting August so that housewives and business people alike can purchase gifts in bulk at wholesale prices. For Indians outside of India, gifts often need to have a more universal (rather than ethnic) appeal providing a huge opportunity for vendors of every kind to pitch individuals and businesses for their gift-giving needs.
For more about the Diwali holiday, visit:
Diwali, India’s Festival of Light
Celebrating Diwali: Dhanteras, An Excuse to go Shopping