Mar 2nd, 24

0 min read

EQUO's Story: A Close Look at Challenges and Innovation on Vietcetera's Exclusive Series

By Emily H.


In a recent deep dive into Vietnam's startup world by Vietcetera, EQUO, a leading eco-friendly brand, shines through despite some tough times. This special series, chatting with four startup founders, spills the beans on mistakes, lessons, and key moments that shaped their startup stories.

Navigating Storms with EQUO's Captain, Marina Tran-Vu

In 2020, Marina Tran-Vu, a Vietnamese-Canadian entrepreneur, birthed the concept of EQUO in a Ho Chi Minh City coffee shop. This venture, a clever blend of "eco" and "status quo," focuses on crafting environmentally friendly products, aligning with Marina's deep commitment to sustainability.

Driven by her passion to address UN Sustainable Development Goal #12, aiming for sustainable consumption and production patterns, Marina's journey with EQUO has been notable. From being recognized as one of FLIK's 21 Womxn Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2021 to securing acceptance into the prestigious American seed accelerator Techstars and securing substantial funding from esteemed venture capitalists, Marina's dedication has taken EQUO to remarkable heights.

The Packaging Puzzle: EQUO's Fight During COVID-19

Digging deeper into EQUO's challenges, the series talks about the packaging puzzle during the pandemic. In an effort to pique interest in EQUO's eco-friendly straws and utensils, Marina opted for mass-producing packaging with a unique "window" feature, allowing consumers to see the contents. Unfortunately, the timing coincided with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to concerns about germs and bacteria. The consequence? Much of the newly produced packaging had to be recycled, incurring significant time and financial costs.

Smart Lessons: Learning to Change

The series also tells us about EQUO's important lesson in being flexible, especially when it comes to packaging. Realizing that people were more concerned about germs, Marina quickly changed plans. This clever move not only showed that EQUO could handle tough times but also set them up for success in being eco-friendly.

This change in packaging turned out to be a big lesson that pushed EQUO to get even better and more creative.


EQUO's utensil retail packaging

EQUO's Journey Around the World

Vietcetera's series takes EQUO from being a local hit to a global success. Marina's promise to fight against plastic waste, as seen in the series, got EQUO noticed on big platforms like Techstars. Now, EQUO's products are even on Amazon, bringing green choices to people all over the world.

Inspiring New Entrepreneurs

Marina Tran-Vu's chat on Vietcetera is like a guide for new business dreamers. EQUO's journey is full of ups and downs, showing that mistakes are just steps to success. The series shows how EQUO faced challenges, especially the packaging one, and stuck to its promise of being a green innovator.

--> Explore the full series on Vietcetera to uncover more insights from all four startup leaders and witness the inspiring journey of them in the world of business:

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