Flamethrower Interview: Kalika Yap, Serial Entrepreneur

Flamethrower Interview: Kalika Yap, Serial Entrepreneur

Kalika Yap is not just a serial entrepreneur, with businesses that cross industries and platforms, she’s also a natural mentor who loves to share the wealth of information and knowledge she’s accumulated over the years. kalika

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I first met Kalika about 15-years at a networking event. She was already a successful entrepreneur with an award-winning branding and digital-design business, Citrus Studios; I was an almost-graduated MBA-student with entrepreneurial ambitions of my own. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to work with Kalika professionally numerous times as Citrus Studios has designed all 3-logos for my businesses, including Ember Living.

A number of  years ago she also launched a purse accessory company called LuxeLink, which is a great go-to-gift for any woman, and is currently working on an academic tutoring concept for children.

Kalika has always been an incredible source of inspiration and information for me. She is one of those people who is a true lifelong student. She’s always reading at least 4 or 5-books at a time, and not only does she read them, but she actually implements what she’s learned. It’s how this proud-mom-of-2 manages her full and exciting life: by working smarter and not necessarily harder (although she does have an amazing work ethic!) As a side note, Kalika is as humble as she is driven, which is why I have always counted her among my blessings in life. Everyone should have a friend like Kalika who can inspire them to new levels, while still being approachable enough to share what they know with humility.

And now she is taking her knack for mentoring to a new place, with the unveiling of Mavens TV, which will be launching on May 23, 2016 with a mission to “Empower Women Entrepreneurs.” Sign-up now, I already did, so you can start receiving what will surely be loads of current and applicable information for your business or business-dreams.

And now, on to the interview…

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Ember Living: What is your mission, life’s work, purpose for living?
 Kalika Yap: To leave a legacy of enduring wisdom, inspiration and enduring wealth for my family, friends and community for generations.
EL: Well, I can personally say that you’ve done that for me already!!!

 EL: How did you figure out/choose a mission for your life?
 KY: I thought about what was most important to me. Knowledge, Wisdom, Enduring Wealth, Inspiring others

 EL: How old were you when you chose it and how long did it take you to get to the point where you felt like you were realizing and living your mission?
KY: I was in my early 20s when I wrote my legacy for the first time, and I probably felt like I was realizing and living my mission in my 30s

EL: Tell us about one (or more) speed bumps that you hit on the way to figuring out and/or realizing your mission.
 KY: Probably just being young and unfocused

 EL: What words of wisdom would you give to someone who is searching for their life’s purpose?
 KY: Listen to your heart

 EL: What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
 KY: Reading
 EL: I don’t think the books you read are considered “guilty pleasures” by any means!

EL: What is your favorite book?
KY: I love books. . Here are just a few I’ve read recently: The Great Game of Business, Built to Sell and Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

EL: If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
 KY: Seasons of Love

EL: What motivates you?
KY: Progress, Search for Wisdom, Curiosity

EL: Any fears left to conquer?
KY: I don’t know if it’s a fear but I am hopeful I can teach my kids to grow and live a happy, life of purpose and be contributing global citizens. So the opposite of hopeful is I fear my kids will be the opposite of the above.

EL: What do you do to unwind?
KY: Afternoon tea at the Peninsula. Walking. Reading. Going to the book store.
 EL: Ah yes, tea at the Peninsula. Good times.

EL: What most stood in the way of you realizing your mission?
 KY: Random distractions in life. Bright Shiny Objects.
 EL: LOL, Bright Shiny Objects. I like how you categorize that.

EL: What tools did you need to acquire along the way to realize your mission?
 KY: Self realization

 EL: What/who/how did you find you find the courage to blaze your own trail?
 KY: Not sure

 EL: Anything you’d like to share that we didn’t ask about?
 KY: I encourage everyone to define your own success. Success is such a loaded word – and rather than using the word success – I would like to define it as “the way forward” because I believe if you make incremental progress towards your goal – small changes every day you are successful. Don’t define success (or the way forward) exclusively by how much money you make and your position.

Theodore Roosevelt said “The best prize in life is to do work that is worth doing.”Making incremental improvements will improve your altitude and your life will shift.

For me success allows me a flexible schedule to take Friday mornings so I can be at my kids performances.
EL: I love that and I love you! Thanks for your time, you are a bright light in this world!

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Philosophy: Creative Work Space

As someone who does a lot of writing – blog posts, songs, poems, speeches, workshops, fiction – I have found that one thing that has really “upped” my creativity game is to have a work-space at home that inspires me. If you are looking to bring more productivity or creativity into your life, maybe my story can help you!

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We live in a moderately-sized house (3-bedrooms, ~1,500 square feet), and when we had our child my dedicated home office became the nursery. The third bedroom is a multipurpose music, exercise, guest-room space and can not accommodate a writing space as well. Because of all these space constraints, I ended up converting an 6-foot interior closet in the living room into an “office-closet,” complete with awesome LED-strip lights and lots of electrical outlets/tech accommodations and shelving that made it very productive.  This office-closet was fantastic for many reasons: 1) I could shut away the messiness by closing the closet doors and 2) I could be part of the family activities even while working at my desk.

However, after 4-years of the office closet I found myself continually migrating to the dining table to do my writing, which proved annoying because I always had to move my materials around when we would eat. So I asked myself the question, “why do I prefer the dining table to the office-closet desk?” The answer: 1) natural light and 2) a view. I found that I was SO much more productive at the dining table and SO much more creative, that I decided I needed to figure out a way to create dedicated work space that had those 2-items. Whenever I have a question without an immediate solution, I always plant a seed in my subconscious by asking it the question directly. I asked myself, “how can I create a dedicated work space that will have the light and view I desire?”


Some time passed and I had an epiphany. If i moved a couple of pieces of furniture around, and edited out an item that was barely used, there was a small space by a living room window that could accommodate a petite desk. I took the measurements of the space and noted the absolute maximum size that the desk could be. Around the same time I found a picture in a design magazine of a desk/table combination that I liked. I don’t recall which magazine it came from. You can see the picture on the right. What I liked about this combination was the yellow cushion on the chair, the black/gold color combination and the soft lines of the pieces. I felt that the desk/chair was strong but feminine and very conducive to creativity.

I ended up finding the PERFECT desk and chair, and they, along with their placement near the window, has increased my productivity and creativity EXPONENTIALLY. I look forward to sitting down at my little space every single day to write. To find out more about the process of finding these furniture pieces and rehabbing them, subscribe to the blog and get notified about the upcoming blog post (I’ll link to it when it is up.)

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If you want to bring more of “something” into your life, whether it is more creativity, more health, or more mindfulness, find a way to carve out a space for yourself to do this thing. Whether it’s work, creativity, exercise or meditation, having a dedicated space that is conducive to your needs will help you immensely in your practice and therefore in your quality of life.

Be a spark in the world!




Making Life Easier: Laundry Hacks

Laundry is the bane of most families experience. Here are some great ideas to make it easier and non-toxic. My fantasy is a laundry room as big as my kitchen to CONTAIN THE CHAOS!!!!


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