By Anna Flagg
When Noah Mortel graduated from Baylor in 2008, he headed to Los Angeles with high hopes of working in the entertainment business. After two years of frustration and unstable jobs, he moved back to his hometown of Houston and worked as a payment processor. Although he was thankful for the job and the money, this was not his passion.
“It shouldn’t be like this,” Noah said. “I have a business degree from a prestigious college, and I was not able to find a satisfying job.”
These thoughts propelled him to explore other options.
Noah always enjoyed creating new things. When he was in elementary school, he would take apart toy cars and put paper propellers on the motors and sell them. When asked at middle school graduation what he wanted to do when he grew up, he said that he wanted to start a business. Noah began to carry a notebook with him, in order to write down any ideas that came to mind.
In the spring of 2010, he was lying in bed, looking for a way to turn things around and he thought about Craigslist’s success. He thought of ways he could improve and change that same concept, so he decided to take that idea and push it a step further.
Noah’s brother and 2012 Baylor graduate, Marc Mortel, boasts about Noah’s entrepreneurial direction.
“I think the fact that he chose something different, something unique, something that is high risk, is a great reflection of the person that he is,” Marc said. “He is willing to confront challenges and adversity while remaining focused on a vision and a dream.”
In May of 2011, after trudging through five different website developers and gratefully receiving financial assistance from family and friends, Noah launched bazaarstuff.com.
Bazaarstuff.com is a free classified listing website aimed at college students. Site users can buy, sell, swap or trade goods and services online, including apartments, textbooks and even apply for internships. Students can upload up to six pictures, link YouTube videos and include a Google map.
A press release published in I-newswire said, “Addressing the communication needs of a younger crowd, Bazaarstuff.com also features a user friendly interface that includes a comment system for any quick questions, responses, and bargaining along with accompanying email notifications to these comments.”
The primary avenue for marketing has been local advertising around Houston as well as social media. Facebook has quickly become the most successful way to spread the word about bazaarstuff.com. Noah is excited about the future of the company and he hopes to expand outside of the United States and reach other markets beyond college students.
Through his business classes at Baylor, he learned a lot about starting businesses and working out the financials. He said that being a student has helped him think like a student and has helped him figure out the best way to reach the college age market. Money did not always come easily to his family and said he is humbled and thankful for the opportunity to have gone to Baylor.
“I just want everyone to know that I give all the glory to God,” Noah said. “My goal is not just to have a successful company. This is a springboard and a launch pad. To me, the world is kind of like a frozen lake, with a lot of talented people under the surface, who need a little help in order to break free.”
Noah wants to find people much like himself, who do not have money but do have ideas, and use his success to help them overcome their roadblocks. Someday, if he is in a position of influence, he wants to use the opportunity to speak positively and help out people of all races, backgrounds and income levels.
“Because he has a story, he will have the opportunity to impact the world around him and people will listen,” Marc said. “I know him well enough to know that he wouldn’t take that opportunity for granted.”