OHA Australia Wide – Fiona Lieu (OH 2007)
Meet Fiona Lieu (OH 2007) — a student from our first cohort of graduating female students.
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Fiona Lieu: A student from one of Haileybury’s most historic cohorts
Graduated Haileybury: 2007
Current location: Canberra
Other locations: Melbourne
The graduation of the first cohort of female students from Haileybury Girls’ College in 2007 is a treasured milestone for the school. Fiona Lieu was one of those students and will forever be part of this historic cohort. She now calls Canberra home, working as a store manager and education facilitator at the widely-popular and innovative specialty tea retailer, T2.
After graduating from Haileybury, Fiona studied a Bachelor of Design at RMIT University in Melbourne and then transferred to the University of Canberra for her final year. Shortly after finishing her studies, she moved back to Melbourne before again returning to Canberra.
She loves Canberra’s convenient location (only three hours to Sydney or to the snow), the lack of traffic, and the scenic views of the surrounding mountains. Although not quite Melbourne, Fiona believes the foodie scene in Canberra is gaining momentum with more and more contemporary eateries popping up. She doesn’t agree with the popular misconception that the only people in Canberra are politicians and public servants.
In her role at T2, Fiona is at the epicentre of the continuously evolving retail sector. Fiona acknowledges there has been a shift towards more online shopping, and even her own consumer habits have changed. However, she says a computer can never replace the in-store experience that retailers, such as T2, pride themselves on. Bricks and mortar stores still play an important role, creating the lasting impression that stays in the buyer’s mind and linking the brand across its various platforms. Fiona thinks the success of T2 boils down (pun intended!) to the effective use of an omni-channel approach where the physical store works together with its online platform to achieve a greater goal. Of course, ‘good people, good vibes and good tea’ also play a big part! Fiona says T2 prides itself on delivering great customer service, which it achieves by investing in its team, and continuously innovating to stop its product from going stale.
Fiona agrees that coffee is an obvious rival to T2’s products, but believes that other teas, particularly those at a lower price point, are the greatest competitor. She says tea provides a ritual experience that coffee can’t quite match. Also, tea appeals to a wider customer base than coffee due to the greater variety of blends and flavours which can be tailored to attract anyone from traditionalists to those who might not consider themselves typical tea drinkers.
Reflecting on her time at Haileybury, Fiona thanks the School for providing her with the foundation for a strong and ambitious future. “The support and success of the school makes me want to uphold the high legacy of being an Old Haileyburian.”
And lastly, the question on everyone’s minds: what is Fiona’s favourite tea? “I get this question all the time. My favourite tea is English Breakfast. It’s quite boring and often surprises people seeing as we have over 100 teas to choose from. It’s reliable and great at any time of the day. I always start my day off with one!”
In short …
- Has there been anyone who was an important mentor to you and if so, how? My sister. Her drive has always inspired me to be the best version of myself.
- If you could invite anyone to dinner (dead or living), who would they be? I would love to have a sit down with Emma Watson. Seeing her grow through the Harry Potter franchise to the activist that she is today truly inspires me.
- What was a highlight of 2018 for you? Probably when my partner and I bought our first home and welcomed a fur baby into our lives. We technically live in rural NSW but we’re about 5 minutes from the NSW/ACT border.
- What are you looking forward to in 2019? Coming home to visit my family in August and planning a Japan trip for 2020!
Fiona has recently commenced a new role as Boutique Manager of Oroton in Canberra.