From Banking to the smell of books – Nidhi Mishra on starting Bookosmia

After a decade long career in banking, I am often asked what made me “pivot” to start my own company Bookosmia (smell of books). Its been the obvious question in the last six months and I felt it terribly asking of a smart answer, at times a funny one, at times one that inspires. As I hummed along with my favourite song “I’d rather be a forest than a street”, I found the answer to the question.

Moving from security to a state of complete disregard for society’s approval

I enjoyed the confidence and security that an IIM and a Banking job gave me, the privilege it ensured I would ride on for my life. Its even more compelling for a young woman to continue doing well and earn well and lead by example. It takes an absolute disregard for self and society’s approval to drop all of that and start afresh.

Even more when the industry you are getting into is Books, in India – a fragmented market known to have little money for authors. Even further so when the product you care about is physical books and nurse a principled dislike for most thing digital.  But every day that I have spent in building my own company , centered around the idea of bringing the love of books back, has been pure joy. Every character, every word, every image in our first book “I Wish I Were” has taken immense thought from us. Chats with so many bright sparks in this sphere has felt equally inspiring.

What does Bookosmia offer?

At Bookosmia, our primary product is personalized reading Gift Set for children, which comprises a personalized picture book (with the child’s name et al) with engaging add ons like Jigsaw and Colouring book and a beautiful keepsake box. The book “I Wish I Were” is based on an old Indian folklore, illustrated richly by Parvati Pillai ,ex design head of Chumbak and the biggest name in her field in the country.

Yesterday,we dispatched our Personalized Reading Gift Set as a gift to a little girl in Delhi, a mother- daughter Afghan refugee duo, resettling in Delhi or atleast trying to. The 6 year old girl lost her father in Afghanistan and mother suffering from severe post traumatic stress disorder, wont allow the kid to venture out of the house, even to school. The lovely soul who is trying to resettle them back to life called out for used books from the community, as one thing which will keep this bright girls interest alive, while helping her learn at home. That is the promise of books- they take you places, specially when you need it most. Unlike anything I did in my 10 year sparkling banking career, this special assignment was dispatched with every bit of our heart in it.

Nidhi founded Bookosmia (smell of books) to make children fall in love with reading books, in the age of the ubiquitous screen. A Maths (Hons) graduate from Lady Shri Ram, followed by an MBA from IIM Lucknow, Nidhi is an ex-banker who pivoted from her 10 year banking career, quitting as Vice President HSBC in 2016 to indulge in her passion for reading and luring others to read (admittedly, at times forcibly). Retelling of old Indian folklore struck her as a perfect medium to reach out to children with picture books both personalized (with childs name etc) and regular story books. Hoping to bring Indian picture books to the attention of the world, she is committed to pack in together the best illustration, printing and story telling, bringing Bookosmia at par with the best Picture Books in the world.

You can know more about Bookosmia from their website.

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