Suzie Cyrenne (00:01)
Wonderful. So for today's episode, we have a guest. I'm super excited. Her name is Ines Kouame. She's an e-commerce project manager at Novatize. So a great e-commerce agency. Make sure to check them out. So Ines embarked her in her e-commerce journey about five years ago. And that was actually by creating her own online business. So she went all in, which I love. And at that time she discovered her passion for marketing.
branding, technology, and after reaching a certain threshold, she decided to immerse herself even more in the industry, which led her to Novatize. And over time, she developed her skills in email marketing, marketplaces, and social media strategies. And what I like about her is that she's also very passionate about empowering women. So we're super excited to talk to her about that. And also, I learned that outside of work, she likes everything that's.
beauty and fashion, extreme hiking, not only hiking, extreme hiking. And she has a love for gastronomy. So welcoming us. Super happy to have you on the show today. So yeah, I'm super excited. And so I did my best to introduce you myself, but nothing compares to you sharing your own personal stories. So could you maybe tell us a little bit about your background with Novatize, maybe a little bit more in detail.
Ines Kouame (01:09)
Thank you for having me.
Suzie Cyrenne (01:27)
What brought you today to and maybe walk us through that a bit.
Ines Kouame (01:31)
Yeah, you did great by the way, that was complete because yeah, it's hard to condense everything but um yeah, as you mentioned, I started in e-commerce about five years ago by starting my own online boutique and I don't know if you ever saw those Shopify ads, the one that says that you can start your own business in seven days. So yeah, I fell for it. And unfortunately after seven days when the free trial ended, I was like, okay, this is not going to take me seven days. I'm far from being done.
Ines Kouame (02:08)
year and it was during COVID.
So I immersed myself in it and I read everything you could find online. I saw all of the master classes, all the tutorials, everything you can think of. But at some point I was just like, I felt stuck. I was like, I don't have all the tools. Obviously some people are doing great online and I'm not selling. I have the products, the branding is good, everything looks good. And, you know, I'm passionate about fashion and beauty and everything. So I was like, well, I have a nice website, the nice Instagram page, so why is it not selling?
So coming from a background where education is very important, my first thought was like, OK, maybe I need to go back to school and actually learn all about it. But then I was looking at the programs and everything, and I was like, I need hands-on experience. So I started looking for a job online, and I just found this company that I don't know. You know when you have this feeling, and you just feel like this is where I need to be?
Ines Kouame (03:10)
And in my mind, it was clear, and I was like, I want to learn from them. I want them to show me everything. And so yeah, I applied, and I didn't get the job. Because clearly, I didn't have the experience. All I have to show for myself was the website that I had built, and yeah. So I kind of...
Ines Kouame (03:32.685)
I asked the CEO and I was like, I know I can do, I know I wanna work with you guys and I know I can do great things and I'm a quick learner and I'm very motivated and passionate. So that's why when you mentioned earlier passion, I think it's very, it's at the core of everything you do in life. So I had that fire. And yeah, they gave me a chance and I started off as a marketplace specialist, which at the time was a...
It was a new department in the company, so they gave me all the information and all the education I could get. And I just felt like a sponge. I was so happy I could learn everything. And they're really great. I'm surrounded by amazing people. They're really knowledgeable. So that was, yeah, I'm very lucky. And yeah, so for the past few years, I learned kind of everything. Everything I can put my hands on, I just dive right into it. And yeah, now I'm a project manager.
Ines Kouame (04:30)
manager and I get to work with clients in different industries and I love it.
Suzie Cyrenne (04:37)
That's amazing, I love it. What I love is that you just decide to go hands-on because it's true, you can go back to school, you'll learn the theory but nothing compares to Ashley just doing the actual work, learning on the spot and also I think your perseverance paid off really well. So sometimes, I think that's a great lesson for anyone. Sometimes we will get discouraged by our first no, but.
Like that's just proof that no if you get a no just keep going if you feel that you can do it Just knock on doors until you get what you want and that's what you did So I think that's a really good lesson for everyone. So thank you for that. That's amazing. I love it
Ines Kouame (05:21)
I love what you said about the no. To me, a no is more like, my mom used to say that. And a no is maybe like a not right now, not right here, but it doesn't mean no forever. So you just have to figure out why. And yeah, when I insisted, they were like, oh, you know what? Actually, we're opening up a new position if you want to learn since it's not something that anyone knows. We're just building it. So do you want to be a part of it? And I was like, yeah, let's do it.
Suzie Cyrenne (05:47)
Yeah, I love it. All right. And okay, so I mean, there are some great things about learning hands on and just learning on the spot. But I'd be interested in knowing during your journey, I'm sure there were some challenges that you faced. So maybe can you give us one challenge to start off with and maybe tell us how you overcame that challenge.
Ines Kouame (06:14)
The one that comes to my mind right now when it comes to my evolution at Novatize as the imposter syndrome. Like when you just, I just felt like, okay, I'm not qualified to do this, but at the same time, I wanted it so bad that I was like, well, you applied to that job and you harassed them, so now you gotta do the work. So even if I have to, it has to take me like twice the time it would take someone else, I can still do it. And I'm very lucky in a way because my parents always taught me that.
In my mind, it's ingrained in my mind that you can do anything in your mind, you put your mind to it. And it's not like, I know it sounds very cheesy, but I really believe it. I mean, I always say if I wanted to be a doctor, I could be a doctor right now. Like that sounds like very like, but yeah, I think that was like a challenge because I was doubting myself a lot.
Ines Kouame (07:08)
But at some point you just like figure out that it's okay to make mistakes and that was something that was a challenge for me also because as I said I come from a very academic background and I used to be like great at school, good at sports, good at everything. So when you face failure for the first time or you just feel like you could have done better or it was not enough, it's very difficult.
Yeah, in your mind you're like, oh, maybe I'm not made for that. Or so yeah, that was a challenge to just accept that you're not going to hit it out of the park every time. And as with my business, when I started my business, I was, I didn't think it would be easy, but when I noticed that I wasn't making any sales, I was like, did I just do all of that for nothing? And so to pick yourself back up, it's very hard to do, but you need to take the
Ines Kouame (08:00)
maybe yeah you face a failure but it's to succeed in the future so you're going to learn something from it and you just need to grow from it.
Suzie Cyrenne (08:09)
Yeah, absolutely. And I think doubt is sometimes we feel that it's not normal, but it definitely is, especially when you're starting something new. And the fact that you didn't have the academics probably just kind of encouraged even more that doubt. But the fact that you didn't maybe you weren't faced a failure in that sort of a way beforehand was probably very difficult. I can definitely sense that. And I think what you realize from what I'm understanding is that you eventually you kind of switch from failure being a negative thing to it being a very positive thing because failure is it's not a bad thing at school you learn that when you fail it's bad but in real life is it that no not at all it's actually very good because those are the times that you'll learn the most so I think you probably it feels like you kind of switch that part of your mindset and that helped you.
Suzie Cyrenne (09:06)
go on a little bit more.
Ines Kouame (09:07)
And you also realize that sometimes you're way harder towards yourself than other people are so it's okay to make mistakes and I mean don't do it on purpose obviously but it's a mistake because I mean you learn from it and people are very yeah they understand because everyone makes mistakes. As long as you admit it and you take the steps to make yourself better and grow from it I think it's like completely normal.
Suzie Cyrenne (09:19)
Suzie Cyrenne (09:36)
Absolutely, makes sense, yeah. Alright, and do you have maybe another challenge that you faced and that you overcame?
Ines Kouame (09:44)
Yeah, I would say when I was starting my, actually starting my company in itself was kind of a challenge because I was at a point in my life where I studied in labor law and human resources. So that has nothing to do with like e-commerce or marketing. And yeah, when I started working, I wasn't happy. I didn't like what I was doing. So I kind of just went back to my student job, which was bartending at the time. So I was making good money, but it wasn't fulfilling to me. So I always felt like there was something more. So what am I doing with my life? Why am I doing this? I don't want to just work to make money, to pay bills, to work. I mean, this is like, never-ending cycle and this is not I wasn't passionate about it. So just figuring out my why so what am I doing why am I doing it that was a challenge because you really need to take some time and look inwards like really pause for a second and ask yourself like okay stop and I was lucky I mean I know like a lot of people suffered from COVID and it's not was not a good thing but
Ines Kouame (10:59)
to really reset and take the time to think about what I wanted to do. And this, yeah, just figuring out your why, I think you need to have a purpose in your life. Everything that you do needs to be driven by a reason, because otherwise you just...
Ines Kouame (11:15)
walk the earth without reason. So that was a challenge because when you study something and then you find out that it's not really what you expected and then you fall back on a job just to make money, you kind of feel like a failure. So that's like maybe a recurring theme in my life. I'm really adverse to failure. I don't like to fail. So yeah, that was very challenging to just realize that I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know why I'm doing it and I don't know what I'm going to do in the future.
Ines Kouame (11:45.079)
like very difficult time and especially during the confinement I mean we were alone so you're kind of alone with yourself so that was very challenging but at some point I was just like okay I need to let's just do a list like just write it down like what would your dream life look like and then I was like you know what I always loved marketing when I was younger I used to
Ines Kouame (12:11)
watch ads for fun. I know it sounds really weird, but I used to love it. I always loved the psychology behind it. And funny story, one of the cosmetic brands that I used to love when I was younger was one of the first mandates that I had to do when I started working at Novatize. So that was just kind of like destiny fulfilled for me. So yeah, that was challenging to figure out, but I was like, okay, this is what I want to do. Like, why should I stop myself from doing it? Because I just feel like I don't have the educational background. I was like, okay, let's just do it. And there was nothing else to do during COVID. So I was like, why not? Let me try and build a website. But just...
Ines Kouame (12:56)
Yeah, being honest with yourself and having a clear vision is challenging sometimes because you have to ask yourself the right questions. And that's difficult. But once you do it, you kind of see like the end of the light at the end of the tunnel. And then everything is clear and you can take actionable steps towards your dream life. So that's kind of part of the process, but it's not easy.
Suzie Cyrenne (13:22)
Yeah, for sure. No, definitely. Those are really, really good points. Finding your why. I think finding a time to self-reflect during COVID, so you made the best of that time, which is great. A lot of people did not, so really, really happy you did that. And asking yourself the right questions, because a lot of the times we don't have the right solutions just because we don't take the time to one, ask ourselves questions and to ask ourselves the right questions. So, asking yourself or actually just not hesitating and really dare to ask what's my dream life? It's a scary question because you're confronted with it might not be at all what I'm doing right now. I'm probably I may be going the opposite direction completely and will I be honest enough with myself to go and do a hundred and eighty degrees and go into the other direction and I love it because that's what you did.
Ines Kouame (14:10)
Suzie Cyrenne (14:21)
Was asking yourself that one question alone, what would be my dream life? Is that the only question you asked yourself? Did you have to ask yourself other things or anything else in the process to lead you in the right direction?
Ines Kouame (14:40)
I mean, I knew that I, I mean, yeah, I had to ask myself what I wanted to do with my life and what was my dream life like, but also how can I contribute to others. I think it's really important to, if you want to feel fulfilled, you can't live just for yourself. So, I needed to see how what I wanted to do with my life would impact positively the life of others.
Otherwise, it's just like, okay, I want to be if I just want if I was just like, okay, I want to be a millionaire. That's like, how is that gonna live like a legacy or like, would you be proud of your life and you know, COVID was so scary. So you were thinking like, okay, what if like, it's the end of the world? Why can I say that I've done with my life? Like all of those kind of questions like, we're coming up. So yeah, other than what is my why? What, what would it?
like produce like what can you
Doing other people's life that was like the other question that I asked myself And it was important to me that it made an impact in some way So that's why when I created my company my website I wanted to incorporate in it like a sense of community and really like share Blog blog articles, and it wasn't only for this SEO and then I learned that it was good for SEO So I was like okay perfect, but I really wanted to be meaningful also for women especially
Suzie Cyrenne (16:06)
Yeah, absolutely makes a lot of sense. Thank you so much. I love it because it's not a yes It's important to make sure we feel fulfilled and take care of ourselves But taking care of others will just bring that fulfillment at its like whole other level Yeah, absolutely. It's it we need that as a human being we need to contribute so but not everyone understands or Realizes that so glad you noticed that
Ines Kouame (16:20)
It makes me happy. Yeah.
Ines Kouame (16:26)
Yeah, that's right.
Ines Kouame (16:31)
Yeah, I think once you become aware of that, you're like, okay, yeah, it's like the gift of giving something. It really makes you fulfill more than just living for yourself. Like, yeah.
Suzie Cyrenne (16:41)
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So Ines, you're definitely a very passionate individual. So I'd like to know how has your passion been a driving force for growth in your e-commerce journey and maybe even on a personal level, if you wanna share.
Ines Kouame (17:03)
I think once you... Yes, I'm very passionate when I decide something, I just like go for it full force. And sometimes you're not motivated, but the only thing that will keep you going is your passion. Because you're doing something that when you say like... When you know it impacts people, you're not only doing it for yourself, so that drives you also. But...
The passion, especially in e-commerce, you know, it's so, you need to be adaptable, like it changes so fast. So if you don't have like passion at your core, you can get lost in all the noise and all the new flashy things. So you really need to stay grounded. And I think passion is what really drives you. And also it helps you when you make decisions because sometimes you...
You can have, like, I don't know, you need to have your values and like when you're passionate about something, you really make sure that it reflects who you are because it's a reflection of yourself.
Ines Kouame (18:00)
and the life that you want to say that you lived at the end of the day. So I think that's how passion impacts. And also it ensures that you stay happy because if you want to build like a career, I didn't want to just like start an online store and then when COVID was ending just go back to my normal life. I wanted it to become my reality. So I really needed to be passionate about it. And also it's okay to not have like a like sometimes people like I'm not passionate about anything.
Ines Kouame (18:30)
That's not true. I think we all are passionate about some things. You just have to try some stuff also. You shouldn't be afraid to try multiple things. As you mentioned in the introduction, I did some email marketing, I did some social media strategy, I did everything. You have to try it out. Don't be scared. Just try it. If you don't like it, it's okay. But you still have it in your toolbox. You still know how to do it.
Ines Kouame (19:00)
So I think not being afraid of trying out, you can fail, it's going to be okay, but just as long as you're passionate about it, people around you also will know that you did it, like it came from a good place even if it wasn't perfect or anything because you're passionate. And it also helps you.
Ines Kouame (19:19)
stay up to date because if you're passionate about something, you always want to learn everything you can. You talk with people that are passionate about the same thing. So that's the way you grow. You build like a circle around you that are passionate about the same thing. So, yeah.
Suzie Cyrenne (19:35)
Yeah, absolutely. And then that's great. And I find that a lot of the time when we speak about business growth, we'll automatically think about metrics or strategies. But in with what you're saying, do you feel that what's more important, your passion or is it just to grow business or both? Definitely the best combination. How would you put that?
Ines Kouame (20:03)
I think they, they come in, in the hands. It's like, you can't really separate them because if you're not passionate about something, you're going to. Someone else is going to be more passionate about it and do it better than you. And when you're passionate about something, especially if, um, because we work in with client that sell, um, products, so we're not into the services and industry. But, um, when you want to sell something to someone, and then you're going to see the metrics and everything, you need to understand them, what drives them. It's not about you. So to understand them.
Ines Kouame (20:33)
you need to be passionate about them. So I think it's all interconnected. And if you know how to share your message, and to share a message, you have to have a message that is passionate. We need to feel like a connection to you. And so yeah, I think when you're passionate about something, you can really communicate in a way that people feel connected to you. And then that's how you build a customer base. And then you see the metrics.
Ines Kouame (21:03)
see like everything that comes around it. But you cannot only focus on metrics and then because there's humans behind those numbers. So you need to understand the human mind, how it works and why. So that's why I think being passionate in the way you communicate your message is very, very important.
Ines Kouame (21:24)
As you put yourself in the customer's shoes, you understand what's in it for them. Because yeah, otherwise you can make a one-time purchase and then they're not going to buy from you again. They're going to buy from the next person that's more passionate, that gives more. Because when you're passionate, you want to give value to your customers. And yeah.
Suzie Cyrenne (21:44)
Yeah, that's great. And actually last week when I was in Arizona for a training, there was this conference about take, we often will take data, a lot of our decisions will be data driven, because that's like the safe way to do it. And it's super important, but they were explaining how much customer driven decisions really will have a big impact. And often that's one part that's left a little bit more aside, but it's just as important. And what you're saying just really confirms that. And I couldn't agree more. It makes a lot of sense.
Ines Kouame (22:23)
And you just made me think about when you think about the long term if you want to have like a long time running business you need to You need to think about that also because it's not only the data you need to keep those retain those customers
Suzie Cyrenne (22:37)
Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. It makes sense for the long run that it will definitely keep you going. Great. So you've had, it's been about five years that you've been in e-commerce. I'm sure you came across a lot of resources or people maybe that have helped you grow or learn new things. So.
Would you be willing maybe to share one resource such as a book or a person that has helped you directly and indirectly that has had a significant impact on your journey?
Ines Kouame (23:11)
Yeah, I remember because as I told you, I read a lot of books when I was starting my business. I wanted to understand everything about it. And I think the one that helped me the most was Building a Story Bread by Donald Miller.
Ines Kouame (23:27)
I love that book. I think I still have it on my side. I think in all strategies, always start from the standpoint, like what's my story right here? And how do the customers going to connect with that story? And then you build your strategy around it. Because as I said, you really need to start. The starting point is the customer. The starting and the ending point. I mean, you're doing it for them ultimately. So that really helped me. I suggest it to everyone. It's great.
Ines Kouame (23:57)
The other person that I really liked, and I think I like him because I feel that he's passionate about what he's doing and I think it's an inspiration for me, is more like a social media personality nowadays, but I love what he's doing, Sabri Suby.
Suzie Cyrenne (24:02)
Suzie Cyrenne (24:10)
Oh, I don't know about that person.
Ines Kouame (24:12)
It's kind of like a marketing guru and what he teaches can really be applied to multiple industries. So just check him out. I feel like the way he engages with his audience is just amazing. I admire him for that. His email strategy is like off the charts. So I'm just like, yeah, I really enjoy watching his content and everything.
Suzie Cyrenne (24:34)
Wow, that's amazing. Thank you for that resource. I'll definitely check him out. And for the book that you recommended, yeah, definitely a really good book if you're starting in e-commerce and e-commerce for a long time and haven't read that book. It's definitely a must read. And yeah, thank you very much for those resources. And maybe before we end the episode in us, where could people go and find you online?
Ines Kouame (24:38)
Ines Kouame (24:53)
Ines Kouame (25:03)
You can find me on LinkedIn. Yeah.
Suzie Cyrenne (25:07)
Wonderful. And of course, she works at Novatize and you can always check her out. She's on the website. You will see her beautiful face there. And yeah, that's it. Thank you so much, Ines, for taking some time today. It was amazing. Love your passion. Definitely one of your top qualities. And have a great day and see you next time.
Ines Kouame (25:19)
That was the sword.
Ines Kouame (25:28)
Thank you. Bye.