Pradeep Guar/Mint
Pradeep Guar/Mint

Go green and head out of the city this season

Woodland MD Harkirat Singh says his Diwali gifts to family and friends promote outdoor culture and are eco-friendly

Come festival season and Harkirat Singh, 47, managing director of Woodland, a retail brand offering outdoor shoes and apparel, is a happy man. While majority of the sales come during this season, it’s also a time when he gets to bond with his employees as well as extended family.

In fact, Singh believes this year is most probably going to be a happy Diwali. “It seems to be a better year because there is no setback of demonetization or GST. We prepare for this season a lot in advance. If something is shaky (in terms of policy) everything goes for a toss," he says.

Harkirat Singh of Woodland will be spending this Diwali with his extended family. Pradeep Guar/Mint
Harkirat Singh of Woodland will be spending this Diwali with his extended family. Pradeep Guar/Mint

The peak period

Singh says they look forward to the busy period as there are a lot of parties, marriages and other functions planned around this time.

At Woodland, Singh explains, the sales are staggered over four months, which starts from Eid until New Year. These four months garner about 60% of the company’s sales. In spite of being a peak season, their schedule doesn’t go crazy. “Since it’s an annual affair, we prepare for these festive months much ahead. Adequate stocks, renovation of stores are done much in advance to avoid any disturbance," says Singh, whose schedule doesn’t change much except staying in the office for a little longer because of customer queries.

Within the organization, small parties are organized, which Singh believes helps in building togetherness and team building. “Of course, pressure of work is there but these festivities bring you together as we discuss not only work but other things also," he says.

Manage time

What’s hectic though is keeping up with personal commitments, Singh says. “You have to attend a lot of evening engagements, marriages that keeps one busy. There are parties, which involve card games and you won’t return home till 2am. And the next day at work, you are half sleepy," he adds.

The key to managing a hectic work and social life, according to Singh, is to set one’s priorities right. If he has to stay up late at night, he ensures that he looks at the most pressing issues at work the next morning. “So at least the main issues are solved as those should not be missed on. Somewhere you have to delegate also. So, it’s a team work," he says.

With his children studying abroad, Singh has been celebrating the festivities with his sister’s family and the family elders. Besides the traditional prayer ceremony, a token burning of firecrackers and card parties, the family tries to go for a short trip near Delhi. “This is when you come to know what’s happening in their personal lives. It helps in developing relationships," he says.

As for gifting, besides the tradition of giving sweet boxes, Singh gives away Woodland’s latest products to family and friends. The gifts, he says, promote outdoor culture and being eco-friendly. For vendors and officials too, products from the new range are gifted.

On his wish list

Singh’s ideal Diwali would be to go on a trek. But family traditions don’t allow that. However, this year, he’s hoping he may get a chance to trek, since his nephew is getting married in Mussoorie. “That would be an ideal Diwali; eco-friendly and being close to nature," he says.

Singh also wishes that people avoid bursting firecrackers and try to take out-of- station trips. “Getting out of the city can be the best thing if you can afford it. There will be less pollution. We have the beautiful Himalayas so near Delhi. Go and celebrate a green Diwali," he says.

Festival Spirit at Work is a series that looks at how CEOs spend Diwali at office and outside it.