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  • Writer's picture Kalpana Ravulapati

Diwali Gift Guide

Updated: Aug 4, 2021

Diwali/Deepavali is just around the corner and in honor of our major holiday, I'm celebrating South Asian brands with a Diwali Gift Guide supporting minority businesses.

It brings me joy to see others light up when I give them a thoughtful gift and uplift their spirits. That being said, I only give what I personally love and use that would be beneficial to others as well. Here is my 2020 Diwali Gift Guide list and hope this gives you inspiring gift ideas. Enjoy shopping!

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The philosophy underlying Young Mountain Tea is a simple one: the best teas grow out of the best practices. The company believes that at its best, this incredible drink should not only benefit the drinker, but also the people who grow it and our planet Earth.

As such, they are a tea company and yet they see their work as part of something much larger. Every cup of tea we drink supports one system or another, ecologically and socially. In their search to find teas for you, Young Mountain Tea is working to support ways of tea that benefit everyone.

2. Live Tinted (Huesticks)

An eye, lip, and cheek multitask that also balances out dark circles and dark spots. Buildable, blendable, weightless demi-matte color. Easy to use, and good for your skin. This product is cruelty-free, clean, has hyaluronic acid, and is vegan.

Creator and Founder of Live Tinted Deepica Mutyala (woman started and owned) went viral with her red lipstick hack YouTube video. Deepica’s video ignited her career in the beauty industry and revolutionized a new movement with one product that serves all women of various shades.

When Venus ET Fleur founders Sunny and Seema first started dating, Sunny sent Seema a bouquet for Valentine’s Day that they found to be disenchanting—the poor quality and lack of reliability within the floral industry disappointed them.

This inspired Sunny and Seema to take matters into their own hands—to elevate the floral industry by creating luxury gifts and arrangements using their special Real Roses that last a year.

For much of her life, Venus ET Fleur founder, Seema Bansal had and adored a painting of Venus that hung behind her bed. She is also a big fan of astrology, which is where she discovered that Venus is the ruling planet for her sign, Taurus. Naturally, she gravitated towards this wise and daring Goddess of love, beauty, and positivity. As such, she serves as the inspiration and center figure of the brand.

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It all started in their Austin, TX kitchen where they experimented combining flavors they love from traditional Indian cuisine with their favorite sweet treat: chocolate. They source their cacao from the Tumaco region of Colombia, then roast, crack, winnow, grind, flavor, temper and wrap all our bars by hand striving to create the highest quality bean-to-bar product. From the beautiful packaging inspired by Indian textiles to the gorgeous bars themselves, Madhu chocolate is a true labor of love.

​One consistent source of inspiration is Harshit's mom. She is a wonderful cook and always has inventive recipes. Not to mention, she makes an amazing chai. She is the reason why Harshit grew up with so much passion for food. Because she has been a great inspiration since the inception of this business, they thought it would only be appropriate to give the business the same name as her: Madhu. Madhu in Hindi means honey or sweet which they thought makes total sense for naming a chocolate company. It is also the mantra of our lives 'Be Madhu to one another.

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At ESPA they are guided by a holistic philosophy, caring for your whole wellbeing, focusing on creating naturally effective skincare products that deliver results you can see and feel. Their expertly formulated products are not only beautiful to use, with luxurious textures and sensorial mood-enhancing aromatics, but they also protect the long-term health and beauty of the skin.

As a natural brand, sustainability, protecting nature, and supporting the planet have always been close to their hearts. They are on a journey and constantly review their ingredients, manufacturing, and packaging, working with industry experts to ensure evidence-based and sound environmental decisions are made every day, for every product, this is part of our DNA and core to their brand philosophy.

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Back in December of 2015 our Co-Founder Sofi was desperately looking for something to wear for a wedding she was attending that weekend. Looking through her closet, she couldn't find anything worth re-wearing because most pieces were designed as a set and not in a way that would allow for mixing and matching.

She thought to herself, why can I buy a western outfit online and have comfortable in-store experiences at places like Zara or Club Monaco but when it comes to South Asian clothing, this experience is non-existent?

That's when she asked her boyfriend Adam if he thought there was a market for a brand that offered high-quality South Asian clothing, available for purchase online with fast 2-day shipping all while being remarkably affordable.

After a bit of number crunching, Adam was positive that this industry was ripe and ready for a change. No more spending a whole afternoon going shop to shop to find the perfect outfit. No more ordering from unreliable online retailers not knowing how long shipping will take or if you’ll get the right size/color. "Enough is enough," he said. At that moment in December of 2015, The Saree Room was born.

Now this once small company has become a household name across the globe. With sales spanning across 4 continents and 16 countries, The Saree Room is showing no signs of slowing down. Adam and Sofi are opening a Flagship retail store in Toronto that will be like no other South Asian fashion store the world has ever seen. Rose gold's, blush pinks with an urban vibe.

Rooted in tradition and enviable personal style, holiCHIC is the key to making a lasting impression. Urban functionality meets contemporary flair and transcends its wearer to another level of style and sophistication without sacrificing ease. No fuss, just chic. The name, much like the collection, symbolizes a fresh perspective. The word “Holi” is taken from the exuberant spring festival symbolizing color and love. When paired with “Chic” it creates a new standard of modern opulence for conventional Indian fashion.

The holiCHIC woman is looking to inspire and be inspired. She seeks to push the boundary on fashion without sacrificing the simplistic traditional silhouette. She is the girl turning heads at the party. She isn’t afraid to take a risk and wears clothes as an extension of her personality. With one click she could be you. Are you ready to answer the question, “Where did you get that?”

8. Fable and Mane (HoliRoots Hair Oil)

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Fable & Mane is rooted in the founder’s authentic Indian heritage and personal experiences. During a time of stress, Nikita was reminded of the power of the Indian tradition of hair oiling.

Drawn back to her roots for a solution to her lackluster hair, she recalled a time when her grandmother would massage her head with handcrafted blends of plant oils so effective for the long, thick, and lustrous hair of Indian women that we’ve all come to envy.

A divine hair and scalp treatment oil with strengthening Ashwagandha to massage into dry hair and scalp before shampoo. Designed to be part of your weekly hair ritual. Indulge in a sublime scent that transports you to Incredible India.

Formulated without Silicones, Parabens, Phthalates, Sulfates, Animal Derived Ingredients. Cruelty-free and vegan.

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Monica Sunny has a passion for Chai. Growing up in an Indian household, she started drinking Chai at the age of two and blending teas at the age of twelve. For her, Chai is more than just a drink, it is a part of my culture and heritage.

Ever since I was a little girl, Chai was an integral part of her family's daily ritual. Each morning, they fill their home with its’ warm and spicy aroma, connecting them to their roots, giving us a sense of calmness, and at the same time, energizing them to take on the day. Whether it is the first warm cup of Chai they dream about having in the morning or sharing it with family and friends while catching up on life, it is their moment, and they indulge in it fully.

The journey of creating TheChaiBox started when she had her three boys. She wanted to instill the love of Chai and a tradition of having family chai time. She started sharing this ritual with family and friends which ultimately led to the creation of The Chai Box.

She has taken her passion for Chai with her mother’s recipes, along with generations before, and created blends inspired by different regions in India. She hopes you enjoy them as much as my family does.

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Launched in September 2011, Blossom Box Jewelry is the brainchild of creatively charged entrepreneur Rekha Brar who pursued her lifelong passion for jewelry by taking a detour and following her instincts. It was in accounting where Rekha's professional career originally began, but it was in her love of jewelry design that it took its course. Inspired by the jewels of the Mughal era, the line aims to capture a time of opulence and vibrancy when colors and textures danced together. As a child, Rekha remembers her trips to India in vivid colors. Walking through the markets, she was inspired by the rows and rows of sparkling jewels. After graduating from the Zicklin School of Business in New York City, Rekha decided to take the risk and launch her own label - Blossom Box Jewelry. Brar also holds a Graduate Degree from New York University. Blossom Box Jewelry can be found in Anthropologie, Free People, Nordstrom & other fine specialty stores throughout the US, UK & Dubai.

Every Blossom Box piece is designed in the USA & handcrafted by the finest artisans in India. Made from the highest quality of materials, we ensure that each and every piece is made to perfection. Designed for women who love to adorn themselves on special occasions or for those who wish to wear a simple statement piece, Blossom Box is for any woman who loves to stand out from the crowd. We want our line to instill a sense of confidence, encouraging women to express their individuality.

Blossom Box is more than a jewelry line; it's a statement of the kind of woman you want to be. It’s knowing who you are and what you want and also recognizing your own ability to support others who are following their own dreams.

SAMARA stands to create a luxury vegan fashion that exudes simplicity and elegance.

The brand started out of a need for small, minimalist purses and wallets that were not overtly branded, that are eco-friendly, not posing any harm to animals, without luxury markups but with the same quality as higher-end brands. Our factories pride themselves on attention to detail, whilst using the finest materials and expert craftsmanship. They visit their factories every year and are proud of their working conditions and standards. Their goal is to create better fashion, implement more efficient supply chains, and use and create more sustainable materials.

That’s Koco Travels 2020 Diwali Gift Guide! I hope this gift guide was helpful and would love to know if you purchase anything from the list or if you have any other ideas, please leave a comment below.

Happy Diwali/Deepavali!

Cheers from Koco!

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