Bigger and better

Bigger and better

Last year, the two publications for the Indian community - tabla! and Tamil Murasu - organised the Deepavali Mela 2012 with events company de ideaz. The three-day event featured around 50 vendors. But this year was different. The organisers decided to go bigger - with the event being held over five days. It also got a new name - Singapore International Deepavali Shopping Festival (SIDS Fest) - and featured a large number of exhibitors from India.

Held at the Singapore Expo Hall 5B from Sept 18 to 22, about 200 vendors participated in the SIDS Fest selling a wide range of products from Indian fashion, jewellery to handicrafts and home furnishings.

Some of the Indian vendors were brought in by two Indian agencies - the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts and the Federation Of Import Export Organisation. Around 75,000 people turned up to check out and buy the products on offer at the festival during the five days.

Ms Arti Gidwani from Jewels by Arti had a booth last year at the Deepavali Mela and was back at the SIDS Fest to sell jewellery designed by her.

She told tabla!: "It's a better turnout than last year. And, I think, for the stalls there's better competition and we get to see better things being showcased and sold," she added.

Like her, business for Mrs Suguna Chandrasekaran, who took a booth with her daughter-in-law to sell designer salwar kameez and other Indian outfits under the name Vivaaha, was good.

"My customers were local and expatriate Indians as well as some Malay women. It was a good turnout. And during the weekend, it was very crowded.

Many of my pieces were sold out during the first three days," she added.

She wasn't the only one who was seeing her products fly off their hangers and sales numbers rise.

Manikendan Mano of Style Express took up a booth at the festival selling designer saris and sherwanis at wholesale prices.

"My sherwanis were sold out before the weekend even arrived! I have had such good response from the shoppers at this festival. I'll definitely have a booth here the next year," she told tabla!.

But it wasn't just the stalls selling clothes and jewellery that had customers coming in droves. The food stalls - by Bikanervala, Gokul, Khansama Tandoori Village and Makaan Mumbai - were also a hit with the visitors.

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