Marina Tran-Vu

Marina is the founder and CEO of EQUO, which provides a variety of truly eco-friendly solutions for everyday items. Through her company, she is teaching consumers to embrace environmental sustainability in their everyday habits.

WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR STARTING YOUR COMPANY?

Starting EQUO was something I always wanted to do but got serious about a few years into my professional career. While working corporate was a great experience, I always felt unfulfilled following someone else’s direction and vision and not really having the final say in any business decisions. After my dad got sick, I realized life was too short not to try pursuing the things I really wanted in life. Finding a cause that really mattered to me and a reason for pursuing it (in trying to build a better world for my nephew) and with the hope of trying to leave a positive mark on the world, it just all came together at the right time and then pushed me to start my own company. The ultimate goal is to be successful enough in my own company and make my dream come true, that I can somehow help others make their dreams come true too.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE WOMEN WHO ARE WANTING TO START THEIR OWN COMPANY?

Never apologize for being emotional, tough, bossy, nice, trusting… whatever multitude of verbs someone says you are “too” much of. Being a woman in business will always come with some sort of label about your behavior that got you to that position. Just stay true to yourself, do your best, do right by others, and most importantly do right by yourself. More often than not paying attention to criticism and letting it impact us is what brings down a woman in business; not the business idea.

HOW DO YOU STAY BALANCED WHEN JUGGLING BOTH PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL JOBS?

Staying balanced is a choice. I always keep in mind that there is no point in pursuing success in your professional life, getting that amazing job, hitting that target, making that certain amount of money, if you don’t have time to enjoy that success yourself or with your loved ones and if you don’t have your health. If you get sick, don’t take care of your body, then you won’t live long and healthy enough to enjoy your success!

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?

Better an oops, than a what if – basically it’s better to make a mistake or fail than wonder what could’ve been. Chances and time are too fleeting to not seize opportunities.

WHAT WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU LEARNED IN HIGH SCHOOL?

Living up to other people’s expectations will not make you happier. I was always the overachiever, every sports team, leadership camp, trying to stay skinny, student council, great grades, trying to be liked by everyone. It added more stress to my life than happiness. Made me almost miss the joys that should come with youth and experiencing high school!

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST PET PEEVE?

Dishonesty and selfishness. The world would be a much better place and can be a much easier place to live in if people were open, truthful, and thought of others just a bit more. Give out positive things to the world and they will come back to you.

WHAT DO YOU WEAR THAT MAKES YOU FEEL STRONG?

Blush and lip stain. Bringing a little color to the face, it makes me look alive, awake, energetic, and ready to face the world!

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WITH A BROKEN HEART?

A broken heart may make you feel like you are going through hell, but know that life goes on and everything happens for a reason. Whether something or someone hurt you, the void that the hurt made is there so when happiness and joy come along, it can fill it up!

WHAT IS ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND?

Moisturizer! Never go to sleep with parched skin, because 8 hours is too long to be dry and chapped; plus makes your skin look older and prone to wrinkles/breakage!

WHAT GIVES YOU GOOSEBUMPS?

Music in the right mood – my favorite songs at the moment are Bloodstream by Ed Sheeran and Pied Piper by BTS.

WHAT IS YOUR BAD DAY BACKUP PLAN?

A relaxing bath, fresh-cut fruit, and reruns of Friends.

HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS?

Success is anything that makes you happy and fulfilled in life.

BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?

Love yourself. If you don’t put yourself first, no one else will.

WHAT MAKES YOU FORGET TO EAT?

Back-to-back meetings.

FAVORITE WORD?

Live – whatever is going on in your life, no matter how bad things get, how busy you get, never forget why you’ve been put on this earth; to survive, to live.

FAVORITE WORK OF ART?

Murakami Flowers – they’re bright, they’re happy, they’re meant to bring joy to the world!

FAVORITE BOOK?

It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be – Paul Arden. It’s a simple book, easy to read and it’s a great reminder that the only person who limits your potential, your success, your happiness in life is YOU. If you never dream big, you’ll never achieve big things!

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