Behind The Brand


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on whatsapp

Tell us a bit about yourself 

I was born in Canada, years after my parents immigrated during the Vietnam War. My career started in Marketing, specializing in Consumer Packaged goods. I have over 10 years of brand management experience at companies including Unilever, Bacardi, LG Electronics and Spin Master. About a year and a half ago, I started EQUO as a sole female founder to try to build a better, more sustainable world for my nephew.  Some of my passions include spending time with my nephew, volleyball, and video games!

What made you start your company?

With the inspiration of trying to bridge the gap between Vietnam and the rest of the world, building a sustainable future for my nephew, working to support local economic growth and job creation from my parent’s hometown, and the desire to raise Vietnam’s profile as a global leader in sustainability and innovation, I decided to venture on my own to bring to the world truly eco-friendly solutions through the sustainable brand, EQUO.  EQUO helps to address the UN Sustainable Development Goal #12 – ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.  My goal is to drive educational awareness about the plastic pollution problem locally in Vietnam and to give people a reason to care about a generally overlooked category by building a bright, attention-grabbing brand.  My aim is to make plastic-alternatives widely available with firstly drinking straws and utensils, in order to force production to slow down and eventually be eliminated altogether for single-use plastics.  Approximately 90% of all the plastic produced on the planet is used only once – if the world starts to replace these with sustainable alternatives, these small solutions can have a big impact.

Tell me about your product and brand?

EQUO delivers 100% plastic-free and compostable solutions to replace single-use plastic.  We’re starting off with drinking straws made out of natural materials you can actually spell: grass, rice, coconut, sugarcane and coffee.  Our products decompose in months, not centuries.  They are so easy to use and so convenient to switch to. You don’t have to change your lifestyle or behavior – no washing, no carrying around.  And they help to promote a circular economy by diverting waste from landfills in order to produce them.  Now you can use it once, throw it away – without any of the worries and none of the guilt. Not only are our products innovative, but we’re also doing something different.  We’re saying YES, you can have a choice, even in a traditionally homogenous category like straws where you only got to choose plastic and now paper.  You have the power to choose a straw that suits your preferences.  Do you want a straw that matches the color of your drink for that perfect Instagram shot?  Or do you want a straw that never gets soggy for your extra-large iced coffee?  How about a straw you can snack on mid-drink when you get hangry?  We’ve got you covered. We’re launching into this white space, and disrupting the category.  Shaking things up by branding something typically commoditized and saying “pay attention to this category” and pay attention to your choice in straw or fork. things you never thought twice about.  We’re bright, colorful and quirky!

What struggles have you faced when starting up a business?

I started EQUO in 2020. Our business almost went down multiple times during the pandemic. We launched on to Kickstarter right before the pandemic really started to affect things in May of 2020.  During that, the world went into lockdown and we didn’t know when it was going to open up again.  Factories, logistics, travel all shut down – all things essential to our business.  We continued to continue to try to continue business and had to absorb a lot of costs that we had not planned on in order to do so.  It was a struggle just to get past 1 year for our business.  Also, our products help to serve the foodservice industry, and customers we saw interested in our products prior to the worldwide lockdown ended up having to delay their orders or they ended up closing down and being out of business altogether.  We took blows left and right by having our customers taken away and our ability to deliver products severely affected.

How did you get over them?

First off, remember to keep in mind a single vision which is the belief and knowledge that what we are doing with EQUO is really going to make an impact.  I truly believe what we are doing is going to change the world and lives of everyone.  Keeping that in mind gives me the drive to do what I do every single day.  Second is just continually adapting.  The world has been so unpredictable that months of planning can literally go out the window with changes in government policies, regulations, impact to logistics/supply chain, pandemic impacts etc. We have learned to be agile, move quickly, change direction and pivot as needed and believe that digital efficiency is the way forward for our company.  Staying agile and not being too disappointed when plans have to change on a whim has kept the journey unpredictable but exciting and allowed us to move forward despite everything that has gone against us so far.

Any advice for others just getting started?

Entrepreneurship is probably one of the hardest things you ever do but no one ever tells you that. Because they don’t tell you how lonely or difficult it is, or how much extra work you have to put in versus a stable, salaried job. Entrepreneurship is usually described as this glamorous lifestyle, but, in fact, it’s a lot of hard work and dedication. Sometimes it’s better to learn things yourself than hire people to do it. Not only does this widen your own breadth of knowledge, but you don’t have the same limits around time and resources as hiring an outside third party. Having a good basic knowledge of finance and cash flow is extremely important. A company dies when it runs out of money! Managing people is going to be 90% of your job as an entrepreneur, so get good at dealing with even the most difficult personalities! It is really important to have co-founders.  Being a sole founder is rewarding, but also extremely difficult as you don’t have anyone else to fall back on except yourself.

Do you have a favourite quote?

My life lesson quote is: “You never know if tomorrow’s gonna come”. You can’t keep worrying about tomorrow and saying “What if? What if? What if?”. Especially in things you don’t have control over.  The sky could fall down tomorrow, you never know! Don’t trip up on “What if?” questions, because that could paralyze you from making decisions and taking actions.  Sometimes you just have to take a leap, no matter how uncomfortable it makes you.

Join over 800 small businesses on our early access waitlist!

Create your online store on