Category Archives: Brand and marketing excellence

Sue to launch Rozelle Street Library – 8 September

Street Library Launch

This is such an honour!
I’ve been asked to speak at and launch the new Rozelle Street Library!

You can come too! Friday 8 September at Rozelle Neighbourhood Centre.

It’s very special, because the centre is next door to where I used to live – on top of the cafe – where I had my office, collected and ran the first community collection of aid for Sri Lanka. This is when the Accidental Aid Worker story began.

I’ll be donating my book to start the library. Authors – want to join me in donating your book for the collection?

Please contact me for details.

We hope you will join us for a special morning tea to launch our Street Library. We will be celebrating reading matters at Rozelle for Adult Learning Week. The event will include a morning tea with guest author Sue Liu who will offically open our library and talk about her book the Accidental Aid Worker. RSVP for catering purposes:

Sue Liu presents innovative workshops and mentoring

Announcing – new workshops and mentoring for writers

Get business aware and marketing savvy at the Author Profile, Brand, Marketing and Self Publishing Essentials Workshop.

Inject enthusiasm, passion and commitment into your writing project. 

This unique, hands on workshop may be the ’shot in the arm’ you need. All writers who aspire to publish work need to be business aware and marketing savvy. Gain insights into the realities and expectations of authors when considering traditional and self-publishing, clarify your goals and start developing your project, brand and marketing plan.

Presenter: Sue Liu

When: Saturday 14 October – book-in now 
Time: 9am – 4pm
Where: Annandale Community Centre – 79 Johnston Street, Annandale
Investment: $160 – includes notes, tea and coffee, handouts, inspiration, motivation and laughter
What to bring:  determination and readiness to work on your goals, notebook, pen and water. BYO lunch or buy from local cafes.


9-12pm Step-by-step publishing essentials workshop: Author profile and brand workshop

  • Your WHY and purpose for writing and publishing
  • Your journey as a writer and into publishing work
  • Author brand, book profile, marketing and promotion
  • Introduction to industry expectations and processes

1-4pm Group mentoring work session: Author brand, profile development and marketing plan framework


RAVES: workshop and mentoring sessions

Loved it. Sue presented with such enthusiasm and verve. A nice mix of what needs to be done with the personal journey. – Alice

Well prepared and executed with enthusiasm. Easy to follow step-by-step guidelines on how to. Practical work handouts and very useful. A very constructive and helpful talk – Thank you Sue. Loved it. – Gwen

Sue shared a lot of valuable and practical information about writing and publishing a novel, It was very informative and delivered with humour and enthusiasm. Definitely recommend it. – Maree

Really enjoyed learning about your journey. It was inspirational. – Caroline

Fantastic workshop, really informative, great energy and great to hear the nuts and bolts of marketing from a professional who has worked in the industry – so it’s not vague but real, hard hitting in a positive way and direct. Really refreshing. – Kate


Group mentoring work sessions on Saturdays – find out more

Pilot workshop for State Library of NSW: Saturday 24 June 2017 at Leichhardt Library. Presented by publishing, marketing professionals and self-published authors Sue Liu and Anna Maguire. Supported by Inner West Library Service & State Library of NSW as part of the indyreads™ pilot program. Find out more – Sue – Self Pub Leichhardt Workshop Media Release – 16 May 2017swoosh

Candle Range

Evolving a candle hobby into a business – and fundraising wins for 2013

Did you know that Zulu Communications has a really lovely business called Candles for Community?

Candles for Community started in 2008 as something lovely to do to take the edge off the ‘seriousness’ of consulting work. Back then, I was making a few candles at Christmas to raise a little bit of money to help my courageous friends on the frontline in Congo and Cambodia. It was the least I could do, to help raise awareness of their projects, a few extra dollars here and there AND make some REALLY BEAUTIFUL 100% soy candles for friends to enjoy and give as gifts.

The premise and promise of Candles for Community remains the same these years later. The scale of it has increased too. For the first few years of the candle business, in the weeks leading up to Christmas I would send out emails, post on facebook, promoting this venture – quite tentatively. After all, it was the ‘voluntary – side business’ to Zulu’s core work. Back then I would get up at 5am to make candles in my kitchen and have them packaged, ready for dispatch before I started my business day. You get the picture?

My customers were telling me they LOVED my products, the spicy flavours, the beautiful packaging and what it represented with the contribution to a charity. Giving gifts to friends, family and business associates from Zulu’s Candles for Community (as it was known back then) was, and still is a way for people to engage easily and joyfully in socially responsible actions.  AND the candles themselves are really appreciated and adored.

The reputation that my candle business was developing was a precious thing.

Upping the ante for 2013 – did we achieve our goals?

I planned to give the candle business and brand a REALLY SERIOUS red-hot go in 2013.  Reinspired by my holidays with Geraldine and the children in July and buoyed the success of the previous years, I put in motion plans to redevelop the Candle business  products, offering and brand and build a dedicated online store.

Needed was the revision of all aspects and elements in the business: products, pricing, photography, marketing materials, packaging, manufacturing, supply, ecommerce platform etc – and to redefine how it all integrated into my business and social responsibility activities with Zulu Communications and MY LIFE.

I set ambitious fundraising goals for my events and candles campaigns – to match the $8K from the previous year. My own expectations for smashing that goal were high – and that translated to PRESSURE to achieve it.

In late October 2013,  a smart NEW online store  was launched featuring, gorgeous candles and gift packs,   exclusive artist card packs and sweet little cat themed  gifts . With my newly organised candle workshop ready, Candles for Community 2013 was launched with a 9 week campaign to Christmas.

Candles for community

I had invested significantly financially, professionally and time-wise. Add creativity, energy, enthusiasm, emotional and mental expectation. After all THOSE  investments – I had pledged 50% of my profits from candle sales to charity. I didn’t really take into account HOW the financial investment would actually RELATE to the dollar amount.   If I did, I honestly would not be giving much – if anything this year! And, despite this,  I honour my commitment to donating with funds promised from candle sales (based on each item sold)  donated to Sunrise.

It’s important to note that in tandem to the redevelopment of the candles business, I also:

  • Publicly announced that I was  writing my memoir called Accidental aid worker earlier in the year;
  • Travelled to Cambodia to spend time with Geraldine and the kids – followed by a research and reunion trip to Sri Lanka;
  • Developed a new relationship with community kitchen Our Big Kitchen and produced  two unique and inspiring  fundraising events for  Geraldine and some of the kids visiting from Cambodia. People came together, engaged, cooked and had a wonderful, heart-warming time. You can read about the Sunrise OBK events and also how businesses and teams bonded.
  • Did a complete redevelopment of the Zulu Communications brand including the production of THIS website;
  • Created and produced a 16 series gift card range showcasing the work of 4 talented artists friends; and
  • Continued with my regular work with Zulu and as a volunteer doing many community focused things.

Weighing up the inputs and outputs in the wash-up.

In the wash-up for the Christmas 2013 campaign – incorporating events, markets, cards, candles, book sales and contributions – the TOTAL contribution value was $7213 for the year. As mentioned, money donated to Sunrise will go toward funding medical expenses for kids in Cambodia – and for that, Geraldine and I, and our children thank you VERY MUCH for your support.  AKUN!

Although I didn’t quite achieve my dollar figure fundraising goal THIS YEAR, I still count it as a great success. All the intangibles DO COUNT too! The networking, relationship building, getting hundreds of people involved in events and candles, appreciation, recipients of food from our cook-ins, awareness raising of OBK, Sunrise and what Zulu’s Community is trying to achieve – it ALL COUNTS.

I TRULY enjoy the physical process of making your candles – choosing the range, administering your order, preparing and pouring each candle, wrapping up with paper and tying the bows.  Gifts giving = enjoyment for me and I LOVE that people appreciate what I have to offer, enough to buy and gift it. It actually makes ME happy to visualise all those ‘licks of light’- around Australia and the world and know that people MAY also think of the kids in Cambodia when enjoy their candle. That counts too.

Whilst I kept up with the physical demands and at times, annoying technical hindrances to my self imposed deadlines, expectations and my pride, I also didn’t account for the emotional rollercoaster and my own disappointment at not achieving those lofty goals. Does it matter? To me, it does, and for those who know me well – they know how MUCH.

Looking forward in 2014

Did these vehicles of events, activities, communicating achieve those goals? I think YES – and it’s a good solid foundation for growth for the coming years! I have so many ideas and plans – my head is spinning. I’m one step closer to my utopia of sorts – to my idealised world of social business where everybody in the equation WINS.

Now that my beautiful candles website is alive and well and truly tested  – I will be helping it to BLOSSOM in the coming year. Watch out for some beautiful new mosaics, jars and tea cup candles for Mother’s Day.

Also coming up – your opportunity to experience a cook-in events at Our Big Kitchen. It really is full of heart and SOUL FOOD. Please come along  or ask me how you can organise an event for your business or social group!

I’ll also be announcing fundraising initiatives for the coming year – to stay in touch with all the news you can subscribe to Zulu 2 YOU newsletter (the form is just to your right) or  follow us on facebook where we keep the news flowing most frequently!







Team building with heart and value

In September 2013, Zulu piloted a new series of events at Our Big Kitchen as part of a new partnership between Zulu’s Community and the Bondi based community kitchen. Created was an opportunity to bring people from my community together to experience cooking together, with the outcome of delicious and nutritious meals feeding vulnerable people in need.


These first two events,  one open to the public and the other a Corporate – business focused opportunity were fundraisers for Sunrise Children’s Villages, with Geraldine Cox as  the special guest. I have been  supporting and fundraising for the Cambodian charity since 2006. The added value was having Geraldine with us to talk about her work in Cambodia and the many children she helps, which personalised the fundraising element of the cook-in.

I mentioned this opportunity to John Hefferan from Qi Wealth,  almost in passing. As my Accountant for some 11 years,  John has supported me with structure and compliance in my business and personal life. At times this has included making contributions to causes I have been involved with.  So, I was really delighted when John said he would support me and bring his team along to OBK  for their quarterly team building activity . It would also enable his team to find out more about what I did in my business!

I decided to interview John and some of his team to find out what they thought about coming along to OBK – and here is what they said.

Sue’s  Q: John, what are your objectives for holding team building activities for your staff and how do you usually choose what to do?

John’s A:  We try to do something every few months as a team that is a bit social. Usually our staff get together and choose a half day activity – we’ve been to Luna Park, sailing in the harbour and the races and have a few drinks as well.  It’s seen as a bit of an indulgence and a treat!

Sue’s  Q: What prompted you to bring the team to OBK?

John’s A: I wanted to support you, and had of course, I’ve  heard through you about Geraldine and Sunrise  over the years and I liked the idea of the cooking activity. It’s not something we would have usually done,  which I think it is great! Because we were doing something for others (outside of our own enjoyment)  I had no hesitation to bring our team to the kitchen.

Sue’s Q: What kind of charity and community focused activities have you as a business  been involved with in the past and how was this different?

John A: We are always being asked to support campaigns like “Dry July”and “Movember” and we  contribute by collecting and donating money. But, this was different. We were giving our time (4 hours) and involved in something that wasn’t for our own purpose, it was for a higher cause.  Participating made a difference and the team were really excited about cooking, and could have cooked for longer, it was fun.

Sue’s Q: How did you enjoy being hands on in the kitchen with your team?

John’s A: It felt really great to step into the kitchen environment -and it was a great equaliser to put on the hairnet and the apron on.  I think a few people hesitated at first, but pretty quickly the barriers disappeared and we were all just people chopping and cooking together on equal footing . It was a really effective way to bond, different to what we’ve experienced before.

It felt good to be doing this for our team building – and something charitable and we should do more like this. And, I learned how to make a wonderful strudel!

Feedback from the team:

 “The experience with Zulu and cooking at OBK opened everyone’s eyes to what is happening in the community. Most of us haven’t done charity work before or been exposed to it, so we found it inspiring to do. I would like to do other kinds or charitable things now. It was more fulfilling as an activity – other activities were just team bonding, this activity had real heart and value.”

“Thank you very much. I’m so glad to hear your achievements of the event and funds raised.  We will continue to support you in as many ways as we can.”

“It was a fantastic experience and inspiring to see what you + Geraldine + Our big kitchen do”. We would certainly encourage other businesses to do events like this for their team building days”.


” It was a memorable day – thanks to Sue and OBK for a memorable day” – Jackson – pictured here with Geraldine

Want to give your team a memorable and heart warming experience that has meaning and  value to all? Keen to organise  your fundraiser at OBK?  Contact Sue to find out how.