Stepping out of your comfort zone, moving to a new country, and starting a new life and business is an arduous task. However, the founder and CEO of Wotzel, Ismael Ngoie, overcame each of these hurdles and has built a bright future for himself.
Ismael Ngoie was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Despite growing up in a financially challenging environment, nothing could curb his desire to build a successful life for himself. He moved to Utah at the age of 18 to pursue computer science and enjoyed every moment of his time in college. However, he made his most significant achievement when he founded Wotzel. His journey wasn’t a smooth ride, yet the seeds of determination, patience and hard work were deep within him to never give up.
If you check out his Instagram, you will notice that he is also an avid traveler. He focuses on helping young Congolese give back to the community that gave him so much.
He started his business, Wotzel, as a retail startup after graduating from college. Wotzel sells quality and stylish clothing through online retail platforms. Today, Wotzel has built a loyal customer base of thousands of followers on Instagram alone. Wotzel has partnered with e-commerce giants Amazon and Walmart to offer his products to a more extensive customer base.
He is also the co-founder of a non-profit organization, YCPN (Young Congolese professional Network), encouraging young Congolese to pledge their contribution to developing the Democratic Republic of the Congo, especially on social and economic grounds.
He had a rather challenging journey himself. So now that he is in a position to offer assistance to hard-working individuals to realize their dreams; he offers a helping hand to aspiring professionals to give back to the Congolese community.
Ismael Ngoie faced countless hurdles at each stage of his journey. Whether it’s the communication barrier when he moved to Utah or the uncertainty of venturing into entrepreneurship as a student, he kept challenging himself at every stage to learn more and grow as a person and entrepreneur.
When he graduated from school, he was left without a job for more than three months. This was caused by the lockdown restriction imposed to combat the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He had to move to Florida, Tampa, for work, but the fact that his new job was not in line with what he studied presented new adaptation challenges for Ismael.
In the midst of it all, Ismael would strive, and this was when he first ventured into the clothing industry by creating his own brand.
When he realized that the business was lucrative, he decided to fully venture into the e-commerce business and began producing his own products.
Again, sales spike and his business were shooting for the stars but unknown to Ismael, tragedy awaits.
While applying for his trademark, he got a mail from a popular brand that had accused Ismael of brand piracy. This was because both brands have a little similarity in their names.
At a point where his clothing brand was about to hit its zenith, Ismael was forced to closed down, and call it short, in a moment he would describe as the lowest point in his life. But challenges weren’t new to Ismael, and he knew better than to not try again.
After a few months, Ismael would later, rebrand and relaunch his brand as Wotzel.
He experience remarkable success and today is brand is loved by thousands of customers and partners with Amazon and Walmart.
Ismael as an Inspiration to Upcoming Entrepreneurs
Startups aren’t easy to scale. In fact, 90% of the startups fail even before they take off. The number might be discouraging for some people, but Ismael Ngoie didn’t let this define his journey.
No matter what life threw at him, Ismael Ngoie never gave up. Instead, he accepted the challenges and turned them into opportunities. He never shied away from seeking assistance and learning from others. In fact, that’s what he loves about the environment in Tampa; he gets to mingle with like-minded people with a burning passion for their work. He soon plans to venture into the real estate business and begin a new chapter in his life.