Be Your Own Inspiration: Hai Ninh Nguyen Modernizes a Vietnamese Tradition

hai ninh nguyen

Did you know that Vietnam is the second largest coffee producer in the world after Brazil and that coffee is a huge part of Vietnamese culture? Neither did I until I came across Hai Ninh Nguyen’s profile on Instagram.

I was looking for entrepreneurs who have experience manufacturing their own products when Ninh’s post about his modernized Vietnamese coffee press –called a phin– caught my eye.

A year of side hustling. Last year I started my second venture, my first physical product. It’s been a huge learning curve ever since and I learned how important it is to create prototypes before going into mass production. Fortunately, we live in a world were services such as 3dHubs or Shapeways can make our life so much easier. I created a blog post with all essential tools that you need to create a physical product. Follow the link: bit.ly/ToolsForPhysical⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #design #designer #designers #designinspiration #designing #designporn #designerlife #designproject #industrialdesign #productdesign #designprocess #inspiration #prototype #3dprinting #3dprinted #vinabrew #coffeeset #ceramics #sidehustle #entrepreneur #entrepreneurlife #lifestylebusiness #instadaily #picoftheday ⠀

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Ninh’s Creation Journey
I love Ninh’s story about modernizing a product used in everyday life in Vietnamese culture and exposing those who aren’t Vietnamese to this important part of life in Vietnam.

Check out Ninh’s beautiful and informative post about the traditions of Vietnamese coffee, how the traditional phin works, how he assessed ways that the traditional coffee press could be improved, his materials testing and prototyping, and the tools he used to create the first version for marketing purposes.

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Ninh’s How to Create Physical Products from Scratch
Ninh also developed this guide for creating a physical product from scratch (and it’s SUPER useful!).

“I created this article to help you design and manufacture a physical product from scratch and sell it for profit.

I will take my own product as an example to guide you through each step and cover as many aspects as possible so you can apply the knowledge to your specific product.

  • You will learn about each step of creating a physical product
  • You will learn how to prototype products
  • You will learn how to find manufacturers
  • You will learn how to communicate with manufacturers
  • You will learn how to order first samples of your product”

hai ninh nguyen

More Resources
You can follow Hai Ninh Nguyen on Instagram or connect with him on LinkedIn.

If you are interested in hearing additional perspective on creating physical products, check out my interview with Jessika Jake of Rist Wellness, an entrepreneur in San Diego who learned how to design and manufacture her own wellness products.

How Supporters Get Money from Community Owned Businesses

☆ Learn how Eazl is organizing communities with equity crowdfunding at or join the Facebook group at ☆

Part 1 of 4 in the Community Owned Business Series
Community Owned Businesses (COBs) are funded and partially owned by neighbors and other people who support the launch of a small business through an equity crowdfunding campaign.

What’s Equity Crowdfunding?
Equity crowdfunding is like Kickstarter but instead of a reward, supporters get a small ownership piece in the campaigns they support. Learn the basics of equity crowdfunding here.

The Community Percentage
Community Owned Businesses operate with one slight difference to other small businesses: a small percentage of gross revenue is diverted into a community dividend pool. For example, if Joe’s community owned coffee shop gets $90,000 in sales over a 3 month period, his business might have agreed to put 2% of those sales or $1,800 into a dividend fund for the business’ supporters.

Ongoing Money to Supporters
Supporters of community owned businesses receive a proportional amount of the community dividend pool as a check from the businesses they support on a semi regular basis. For example, if you put $500 into a campaign that raised $20,000 to launch a new small business, you might receive $45 every three months as a dividend for your support.

Learn how you can get involved in the community owned business movement here and stay tuned for the other three parts of this four-part series:
Part 2: How to Turn Supporters into Advocates
Part 3: How to Sell a Small Business with Equity Crowdfunding
Part 4: Community Owned Businesses as a New Asset Class

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Viri Vlog: We’re Going to Break the Rules

Tomorrow, we’re going to be pitching to a group of angel investors in Chicago… and we’re not going to make a pitch deck. Instead, we’ve beefed up the VIRI business case (you can access it at here), will print out out, and will have a more “conversational” approach with investors.

In the next update, we’ll try to put some footage of our pitch on the vlog for you guys.

If you’re interested in learning more about Alderman John Arena, check out this link.

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Viri Vlog: A More Collaborative Approach to Entrepreneurship

As we’ve become more skilled entrepreneurs we’re finding that raising money (Davis’ new job) and project management (Ludell’s new job) have been the most useful ways to spend our time.

Current status:
• We’ve finished negotiating with our first investor. We ended up splitting the investment into part revenue-based loan and part convertible note. Full Access members can find both contracts in the VIRI Full Access folder on Google Drive. If you’d like access, request it here
• Ana and Drew (hardware and botanist) are testing a few doesn’t grow mediums. The next couple of weeks, we’re going to be building or first MVP (minimum viable product).

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Favorite Productivity Apps & Tools

favorite productivity apps

The Eazl marketing and entrepreneurship community has spoken; we’ve pinpointed the top 5 favorite productivity apps and tools. If you have any tools to add that weren’t mentioned or an opinion about the ones we DID mention, leave us a comment below.

  1. Slack
    The winner, BY MILES, was Slack, which is an extremely useful tool for teamwork and project management.

We used Slack to manage our digital incubator which, admittedly, deflated like a pierced tire…not because of the platform but because of functional issues that we would absolutely changed if we tried it again. In fact, learning about the platform was the best thing about the incubator!

I would definitely use Slack again if I worked with a remote team on a piece of content or an event.

  1. Google Drive
    Coming in second was Google Drive and I cast my own vote there as well. Everything Google makes seems to be just the right amount of useful, easy to learn, and non-invasive (as in, Facebook-level all up in my grill styles life integration).

We use Google Drive for just about everything here at Eazl, from course video storage and Photoshop file sharing to blog post writing and marketing campaign planning.

It ticks all the boxes on the list of what we need to run an organized company.

Favorite Productivity Apps

  1. Xmind
    I’d never hear of this one until 13% of respondents voted for it but I am a BIG FAN of mind mapping –we even created course content on it– so I’m interested in trying it out. The free version should be enough for personal use.
  1. Evernote
    Before I converted to Google Drive, I was an Evernote user and there a couple of users in our community who voted it as their favorite productivity tool.

I eventually let Evernote because I was never able to fully integrate it into my work process and none of my team members used it. I did find, however, that it’s great for planning and writing blog posts if content is your thing.

I never tried the paid version, which probably would have kept me using the tool. It’s actually REALLY affordable

  1. Wunderlist
    I’d never heard of Wunderlist and what makes this app stand out amongst the others is the to-do list format and the focus on integrating professional and personal responsibilities. It looks like a great on-the-go tool that might compete with your use if iCal.

Viri Vlog: Female Founders of GoSafe

Make innovation a HABIT! In this video, meet Pratyusha Mudrakarta and Elizabeth Rebello, the cofounders of GoSafe. They’re winners of multiple Chicago innovation awards and pursuing master’s degrees in information technology.

Collaborate and earn Eazl points (redeemable for cool stuff!):
• What are some cool ideas for convenient wearable devices?
• Which launch market would you choose?
Community features on the EazlBlog

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Viri Vlog: How VIRI Became a Living Furniture Company

Have we created the world’s first LIVING FURNITURE company?

See highlights from the VIRI design team’s first collaboration session with Ana, Ludell, Drew, and Davis. See how we decided to take a totally new approach.

BIG shoutout to FA Team member Wilfredo who sent us the first bit of spontaneously created value by someone from the Eazl community. As a reward, you have earned 4 Eazl points Wilfredo! We’ll find ways for you to use your points in the near future.

Some ways you can create value and earn Eazl points now are:
• What office furniture inspires you?
• What kind of food, aromatherapy, or flowers would you want in your office space?
• Anything else you see as you watch the vlog.

Share your value with us at care at eazl.co or as a comment here on YouTube!

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Viri Vlog: Microgreens! New Investors! New Dude on the Design Team!

After the trip to San Francisco, we’ve made some awesome upgrades to the business model, recruited two initial investors, added a person to the design team (welcome Drew!), and have much more momentum for VIRI. Want to be a part of the team? Ask some people you know what they think about microgreens. Have they heard of them? Do they think they sound interesting? We’ll make sure to reward people who participate!

This week we’ll move to prototyping and have some cool footage of collaboration at the mHub maker space in downtown Chicago plus a lot more.

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Viri Vlog: Is Meeting Investors Like Dating?

Han Jin, CEO and founder of LUCID, a consumer VR camera, suggests that courting investors is like dating. Here’s an excerpt of our conversation in Silicon Valley today and a report after our conversation with Lance Cottrell, a Bay Area angel investor.

Keep your eye out for LUCID Cams in most electronic stores starting next year. Here’s LUCID’s website: http://www.lucidcam.com

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