From gold coins to ‘gulabaroons’, Diwali is sparking a shift in Australia’s gift industry
This year’s celebrations see an unleashing of creativity.
For Sanjeev Arora and Shweta Tangri Arora, the couple behind Foodie Wok gift service, this Diwali is a chance to honor tradition while also playing with contemporary flavors and presentations.
Gulab jamun meets macaron to make “gulabaroon,” and traditional carrot halvah gets a little twist. Recognition: Supplied/Gourmet Wok
To mark the occasion, they have created a range of Indian-inspired pasture boxes, the contents of which don’t necessarily have to adhere to conventions.
“It’s a passion project for us, we identified a gap in the Australian market from an Indian perspective and started with pasture boxes which have been well received,” says Ms. Tangri Arora, who is a fashion designer and retailer by trade.
We don’t weigh every candy in kilograms [as is tradition]we do without artificial sugar, preservatives, colorings, additives and use raw sugar to cook our sweets.
Shweta Tangri Arora
Today they are busy preparing hundreds of candy boxes and baskets for corporate clients to give to their employees as is Diwali tradition ‘back home’.
Sanjeev Arora and Shweta Tangri Arora, the couple behind the “Gulabaroons”. Delivered by the Foodie Wok.
“I have orders from Australian employers who want to treat their Indian employees to Diwali gifts, and Indian company bosses who want to celebrate with their non-Indian teams. Demand has grown exponentially,” says Mr. Arora.
For many people celebrating Diwali, it is an auspicious time to buy gold, which is considered a symbol of wealth, hope and happiness.
Ms Simpson says there has been strong demand for the coins, not only from the Indian diaspora but also from others who are buying them for collectible and investment purposes.
ABC Bullion launched unique Diwali themed coins to commemorate the anniversary of India’s 75th independence and celebrate Diwali. Supplied by ABC Bullion. Recognition: Noble jewelry images
“I’ve worked with ABC Bullion for 27 years,” she tells SBS Hindi. “It was different 27 years ago when the community was much smaller, but since then the Indian community has grown, as the census figures show last year.”
Our Indian clientele is becoming increasingly sophisticated, they know what they want and are indeed a growing part of our customer base.
Janie Simpson, CEO of ABC Bullion
This year, Mr Vance expects the Sunday before Diwali to be particularly busy, which is why the Perth Mint is launching a click and collect option that will allow for a special bullion trading to cater to the community buying gold on the day would like.
The Perth Mint has created Diwali medallions with culturally appropriate design and packaging. Recognition: Delivered/Perth Mint
According to Mr Vance, demand for gold increased during the pandemic. In each of the last years they have sold about 3,000 Diwali medallions.
He says the medallions are doing well in countries with a strong, large Indian community, with the Perth Mint also distributing them to the US, Germany and Singapore.
Small business successes and stumbling blocks
A collage of Diwali lanterns created by Jyotsna Takle and her students. Recognition: delivered
While her original lamp design was made from bamboo, Ms Takle said sourcing the material in Australia increased costs, so she had to find a cheaper alternative.
The use of food safe products, high quality clay, glazes and other materials increases the overall cost and thus impacts demand, especially when the market is flooded with cheaper alternatives imported from India.
Handmade items created by Vaishali Hingmire as part of her last year’s Diwali collection. Recognition: delivered
However, according to Ms. Hingmire, there is always demand from those who value good quality and appreciate the skill, time and effort that goes into handmade items.
“People are becoming increasingly health conscious, so they’re looking for healthier alternatives, even when it comes to gifts, and they’re willing to spend money for good quality,” he adds.