How I ended up starting a company with Alicia Souza

My name is Saurabh Sharma and this is my story.

It was a regular day at the ex-office. I was aimlessly facebooking and happened to stumble upon Alicia Souza’s interview on yourstory.  (Looking back – facebooking that day turned out to be life changing!)

Something about her, made me think. Instinctively, I felt like reaching out to her. I also thought – why would she even respond? I still wanted to try my luck and wrote to her on facebook. I mentioned that I work with a candle manufacturing company and wanted to discuss if she’d be interested to work on a range of doodled packaging.

She responded and gave me her email ID, asking me to share a detailed brief. I was truly elated!

I sent an email out to her and we’ve kept in touch ever since. Funnily enough, a line from my first email to her said: “Hopefully, we’ll be able to make this connection meaningful.

She got back saying she was excited about the possible outcomes of the project and suggested that it would be good to have a meeting. We met few months later in Bangalore.

One day, very randomly I sent her a list of ideas, of how she can make the most out of her talents.

Some ideas for Alicia – I wrote this email back in 2014:


  1. Start expanding into various product categories. Example: pillows, phone cases, t shirts, accessories.
  2. Get someone to handle the business side of things so you can focus on creating content. ( I had no idea this person was going to be me! )
  3. Get your products selling at major retailers.
  4. Develop a beautiful website for all your merchandise,  find a company to whom you can outsource day to day operations and build a model where they report to you on the key performance indicators of the website/business.
  5. Find a link between doodled interiors and workplace happiness. Wall art, office space interior designing are some areas your illustrations can do wonders.


Looking back, the email sounds almost creepy! Most of what I wrote to her, has actually transpired into reality. In fact, just last week we launched our wall art collection and we are coming out with a range of decals for offices soon!

Just so you know – there were couple of other points in the list that I’d sent to her – one was about distributing products globally and the other about someday having her own retail store! Watch out! 😃

Coming back to the story, sometime in mid 2015, I had invited her to Tuticorin to see the factory. A small town in Tamil Nadu, where I used to work. She somehow made it!

The factory visit went well. We were out for lunch and I told her about my plans of quitting. I wasn’t enjoying the work and was feeling a bit too safe. Risking a safe secure job to pursue something I loved doing, seemed like the right thing to do.

She told me about how her career panned out after quitting a job. And how her life has been nothing less than rewarding. I was awe- inspired by this super human! She just said – “if you happen to be in Bangalore, do meet me and we will figure out something together.”

That’s me having the ultimate fanboy moment!

Far away from the safe sea shores of Tuticorin, I met her again sometime in July 2015. By then, we knew there was some scope of us working together. We agreed to risk our time and re-start her online store. No paperwork, no agreement and no plans for the future. Things just felt right. She thought we could close the online store post valentines day and just run it for few months a year. The response was overwhelming. And I knew this could be turned into something more bigger and more meaningful.

So after a year of running the store on an experimental mode, a ton of emails and multiple discussions,  – we started Alicia Souza Studio Pvt. Ltd. 

From just two of us, a year back, we are currently a team of 6 humans and two fur balls working towards spreading smiles and happiness all around.

If there’s one thing you would like to take back from this post, It is this  – Life is all about the people we meet.

Pearls of Wisdom From Sadhguru

A week back, during my visit to the Isha Yoga Centre in Coimbatore, I was among the fortunate 100 or so people to witness Sadhguru share some pearls of wisdom in an intimate arrangement.

Soon after he took his seat, there were people crying, sobbing, some shaking uncontrollably and others looked like they were shocked. There certainly was magnanimous radiance coming through this mystical being. I was simply stunned by the impact his aura could create, which I was witnessing for the first time, unfold before my eyes.


For the next two hours, what followed was pure wisdom. I gathered some pearls so you could also be positively influenced by these beautiful perspectives.

1. As the new year starts, leave behind the baggage. Our ideas, thoughts, prejudices and conclusions.

2. Choose to see the good in people. When we choose to see only the good in people, they will also start noticing the same in us. We call a rose plant, a rose plant not because of the 1000 thorns but because of few roses. It is wise to condemn an unpleasant quality, not the person.

3. Question: ” Sadhguru, what is the age of our soul? ” Answer: Please don’t get confused with meaningless philosophies. Live what is real in this moment. There is only life. Live life as best as you can.

4. Question ” How do I be conscious of earning money that is only satvic ( positive ) ”  Answer: Money is just a consequence of the actions we do. If we ensure our actions are positive, that should be enough. We should introspect to find out what we would like to create. If this creation is of some value to the world, the world will pay us back with money, which is just a currency.  If our actions are tuned to ensure money is earned, this is a surely a miserable way to live.

5. Question ” How to achieve mastery ” Answer: Becoming a master should never be a goal.  Continuous focus on what grips us, may lead someone to call us a master, someday.

6. In the end, a person got up crying with the mic in his hand to ask Sadguru his question. He wanted to know what he could do for his recently dead mother. He explained that for the last 7 years he tried to make her walk but couldn’t succeed. Sadhguru said, ” Your mother took care of you all her life. She made you walk when you were young. You must live this piece of life in way that all her hard work doesn’t go waste. Do justice to her struggles of upbringing. Just look forward and create a beautiful life for yourself. This is the best service you can do to your mother. “

The Life Story of Sam – An Ice Cream Lover


Once upon a time, in a village called Icecreampur there lived a boy named Sam. He grew up with ice creams all around him. People in the village were in the business of making ice creams. When he was a kid, he used to have a lot of ice creams. All the flavours you can think of. Multiple times a day. Soon, Ice creams became his only love.

His ice-creamy life went on until the boy was 16. On a stormy night during winter, his mother fell ill. She had a problem in breathing. She couldn’t talk and was shivering badly. People came to help but no one could do anything to make her better. She was rushed to a nearby town.

After months of heavily dozed medicines and numerous treatments, she was finally able to survive. She came back to Icecreampur. However, for Sam and his family problems weren’t over yet. His dad became an alcoholic. They were barely able to survive as the treatment and medicines washed away all their savings.

Before Sam could figure things out, another fateful night his father passed away. Elders in the village said, he had too much alcohol in the past few months and it had weakened his heart.

Sam was left with no where to go. He had to stop school to fetch money for food and his mother’s medicines. As fate would have it, he worked in an ice cream shop. Sold hundreds of his favourite ice creams everyday but couldn’t taste a single one. His boss always kept an eye on him.

For years, he used to work twelve hours a day to earn enough to make ends meet. His mother passed away just after marrying him off to a girl from a nearby village. He had to keep toiling hard for money. Few years later, his boss increased his pay. But soon after, he had a kid to care for. He was always short of money and this went on forever.

– –

In the mad rush for survival, like many others, Sam lost his love for ice creams. I sincerely hope you don’t.

How a routine flight turned into an Indo-American thought fusion


I had heard about ideas & thoughts. Also about fusions in music. I had also heard about idea sex. Nothing about thought fusion until I was part of one, recently.

SpiceJet had cancelled it’s Tuticorin flight from Chennai. They put me on their Madurai flight. As a gesture of kindness, they gave me the best seat in the flight.

I met an American guy who was seated on the aisle seat. His name was Josh. We started talking. It was his very first international trip. He was excited about touring India for the next three weeks. We talked along. After an hour or so, the pilot landed the flight, so badly that some overhead bins popped open. I realised that I didn’t realise how time had passed. We got off and waved each other good bye. I was left musing with the warmth of some silently beautiful perspectives. ( Thank you, Josh.)

1. On Indian Traffic

Indians are so aware of their surroundings while they drive. In most cases, Indians are able to survive utter chaos on the road by fighting our way out without harming or getting harmed. If American roads were any similar, they would all die of accidents.

2. On living in small towns

He stays in South Carolina. Population: 200,000. Low rent. 2 hours away from the beach and 2 hours away from the mountains. Some times, little cities let you enjoy pleasures huge ones can never.

3. On change of plans

He is 31 & not happily single. Had saved up for his honeymoon trip. He’s spending those savings now on this trip. Enjoying it thoroughly. –  Live life & figure out ways to enjoy, even if your planned honeymoon trip doesn’t happen.

4. On American & Indian parenting

Most American parents give their kids too much freedom. Most Indian parents are still nursing their 20 year old babies. Two extreme ends of a scale. He said, in his typical american accent “Somewhere in the middle is probably an ideal place to be.”

5. On family culture 

Most American kids move out and stay away from the family. Sometimes get emotionally distant. Most Indian kids are sometimes forced to stay with their families, often feeling smothered and over protected. Yet again, in his typical american accent he uttered the words “Somewhere in the middle is probably an ideal place to be.”

6. On dating culture

These days, apps can find you your so called cupid in an instant. With the wake of dating technology, Love – somewhere along the way has lost it’s essence. In most parts of India, however hard anyone tries, it’s difficult to find a meaningful relationship via a random app. Few things in life are nicer when you’re a bit traditional. Like preferring a coffee shop meeting with your potential partner rather than just limiting it to a whatsapp text.

7. On experiencing

Someone who’d visited India would have written down an experience thats unique to him or her. It almost never does justice to read about an experience than to just experience it yourself. There’s a lot of difference between the both.

8. On Career

He likes interacting with people and establishing deeper connections. He teaches at a community centre. Bringing positive impact to the society through small groups of people. Being a catalyst. A career is not defined by the suits and ties and 100’s of emails everyday. It’s defined by the positive emotions, work-life balance and overall happiness.

9. On frozen water pipes

I asked him how cold it is back in his home town and he said – 8 degree Celsius. Can’t imagine how cold that feels. He said he was worried about his home pipes bursting due to the water freezing. He had left the tap slightly open to keep the water flowing, this would ensure that the pipes don’t burst. This was new to me! I thought to myself, when you’re emotionally cold and have no outlet, you can burst too!

10. On Acceptance

We didn’t speak of this topic. Nothing close. But the way he seemed to be living through life did speak volumes about his acceptance of various things. I felt, It made him a happier human. Acceptance of the Indian traffic, mindset, people, food, bad landing et all.

I think I stole the last point from the silent words in the conversation.

Silent words. Shhh. we should listen to them.

How to get unstuck, be happy and live the life of your dreams

I have around 10 blog followers. Very shameful number, as I sometimes call myself a blogger. I had to get that out of my chest.

I was a kid with bad english. Shy, introverted, scared and bogged down by a poor self image. I met a girl, who was fat and ugly but was able to draw everyones attention.  She spoke and people listened like they would to a nightingale’s song on a moon lit night. I was intrigued. It wasn’t hard to decipher that she read a lot of books and had interesting stuff to talk about, which others didn’t know of. Its silly how people think you’re smart when you know something they don’t.

So, I started reading books. I had my fathers library to choose from. It had books with timeless wisdom I thought. One of the very first books I read was Who will cry when you die by Robin Sharma. Very typical self help, but that was my starting point. I read a lot since then. I was still shy and introverted and used to avoid all birthday parties. But I found myself becoming less scared with each book I read. I found myself growing in confidence. I don’t know how, it just happened and keeps happening.

I hope to be able to do this, someday!


Inspiration became a drug that I started craving for. I became a magnet to attract good books, inspiring people and how this has shaped me and helped me survive is a topic for an another interesting blog post.

Few things I’ve learnt that I hope will help just about anyone. Especially you & the other loyal blog followers.

A) Read like a maniac

This is overstated and cliched. But it is cliched because its impactful and this is a universal truth. Google 10 people whom you really look upto, its highly likely they write. May be they have a blog. Follow them. List down your interests and find the best selling books in the categories you’re interested in. If you don’t like to read and are a general busy bee, or you think it is too much strain on your eyes. Download audible on your smartphone and listen to books. (I’m doing this lately and loving it)

Some of the blogs I follow:






Few Reading lists

My reading list

The reading list I look upto when I need some inspiration to buy new books

I got an email from Mr. Altucher yesterday, when I thanked him for a blog post he wrote. Guess what, it was a reading list. Here you go: James Altucher’s reading list

B) Give away

There are so many things we hold on to ourselves. It weighs us down. Split everything you have into three categories. (If you do this right, it might surprise you)

1. Emotions

2. Intellect/ideas/knowledge

3. Physical stuff

Further again, wherever it applies, categorise the above into three sub categories.

1. What can you share

2. What can you give

3. What can you discard

You’ll have a cleaner life.

C) Write a thank you email to someone everyday

I was told when I was a kid, if you do something for 21 days in a row, it turns into an habit. I wanted to try this ever since and until this point never succeeded. I tried to use the new year resolution boat to swim me across the 21 day mark and it worked. It’s the 22nd of Jan & I’ve written 21 thank you emails till date this year. The feeling is really humbling. I never knew I had so much to be thankful for.


1% people had tears in their eyes. 5% people called me sounding elated. 40% people responded. 80% relationships were strengthened & 100% people I hope were made happy! ( Including me, 21 times so far & counting  )

Check out an article on  for writing thank you notes.

D) Follow what James Altucher calls THE DAILY PRACTICE 

It is an everyday ritual to keep yourself completely healthy. It involves healing and bettering your emotional, physical, spiritual and mental self.  Here’s how he explains it.

If you’re too lazy to click on the link and read, I’d still urge you to go read it. If you’re a mega lazy person ( MLP ) here’s what I do, everyday:

Emotional: Write a thank you email everyday, try to complain less, try to stay away from negative people.

Physical: I try to meditate, do yoga or put on a youtube video and badly dance.

Spiritual: I try to be grateful for my life and its happenings. I thank the invisible presence that makes the world go around.

Mental: I push the limits of my brain & write at least 10 ideas everyday. I listen to books on Audible everyday. Yesterday, I wrote 16 ideas for a friend to enhance his career and life. He was blown away and probably couldn’t digest that someone actually spent time to think through ideas for him. He was happy & so was my brain & I.

E) Take Action

I read something today. It opened the locks of my mind. Gave me some action points that I had consciously or unconsciously hidden. We all hide things we’re uncomfortable doing, I guess. I will read the below 10 times and then come up with 10 ideas to act on, IMMEDIATELY!  May I suggest you to do the same?

Here’s what I read: What would you be doing with your life right now if you were madly, truly, deeply in love with yourself? Just sit quietly for a moment with the question. Close your eyes and really think about it.

What would a person in your shoes do if they really loved themselves? I’m talking the kind of love a parent has for their child, the kind of fierce intensity that will drive them to do anything to ensure their child’s wellness and happiness.

F) Live life each day at a time

Many have said, how you spend your days will equal how you spend your life. Ensure you have things sorted in your head, have taken stalk of the situation and have some clarity of the direction you want to be headed in. Channelise energies and time towards your goal everyday. Try to live a unstuck, happy and dreamy life everyday, in every small way possible. You’ll soon be the happy rockstar.

G) Be as daring as Samantha Hess 

I was blown away when I read about the business Samantha had started. What surprised me even more was how she has moved on inspite of so much societal resistance. For the ultra busy ( UB ) & MLP’s reading the post, here’s the story: She once saw two people giving away hugs in the city centre. One was charging for the hugs and one wasn’t. To her utter astonishment, she saw people queued up to receive hugs from the person who was charging for it.

Samantha saw an opportunity right there and started an organised version of this business. It’s called cuddle up to me. They are present in malls and retail spaces with small rooms for clients to cuddle. No sexual touch, just reassuring physical contact. They charge $1 for a minute. She dealt with all the resistance, criticism and the law suits. Today,  18 million people have read Samantha’s story. She’s unstuck, happy & successful.

H) Take regular breaks

Tim Ferriss in his book “The four hour work week” says since there is no surety you will be alive to live through your retirement, enjoy mini retirements today. There’s no guarantee that you’ll remain healthy enough to enjoy the ‘off time’ later. Life comes with no guarantees. So it’s best to seize the moment. Break your retirement life, dream life or whatever life that you desire into small pieces and shove it in today, next week and next month. Taking a break will help you look at your life from a distance and will help you get unstuck.

I) Be around the smartest, positive and happy people you know

The smartest I know and follow, constantly learn from the smartest people around them. Read this post, & please don’t be UB & a MLP.

J) Write your resignation letter

If your job, relationship, client, employee is something that’s holding you from being happy, help yourself and give away.

I’m still trying hard & transitioning from the shy kid that I was, battling the truth of having just 10 blog followers and hope to grow up and be a happy child someday.

This post was my list of 10 ideas for the day.