Partner Update: SAHBA – South Australia’s Hair and Beauty Association Joins Forces with The French Beauty Academy to Elevate Beauty Education

SAHBA Press Release:

Adelaide, South Australia, 18 October, 2023 – The South Australia Hair and Beauty Association (SAHBA), is thrilled to introduce a dynamic partnership with The French Beauty Academy, recognised as Australia’s premier registered training provider in the beauty therapy industry. This collaboration signifies a significant stride in uniting a distinguished Registered Training Organisation (RTO) with SAHBA’s core mission, which is to advocate for its members and foster collaboration with relevant authorities.

Together, they aim to tackle and resolve issues that impact the overall quality and advancement of South Australia’s hair and beauty sector. This partnership will also bolster the public perception of the hair and beauty professions through the promotion of sound ethics, high standards, education, training, and the maintenance of highly skilled and professional client services.

Established in 1986 as one of Australia’s first government registered beauty academies, The French has a rich history of delivering high quality vocational training and world-class graduates for over 35 years.

The French is an approved VET Student Loan provider and a Registered Training Organization (RTO 32220), offering nationally accredited Diplomas in Beauty Therapy, Salon Management, along with other certificate courses. All qualifications are recognised by the Australian Qualifications Framework.

“Our partnership with South Australia’s Hair and Beauty Association (SAHBA), signifies our commitment to shaping a brighter future for the beauty and hair industry. Together, we’ll inspire innovation, set new standards, and empower the next generation of beauty professionals.”
Luke French, CEO of The French Beauty Academy

The partnership between SAHBA South Australia and The French Beauty Academy represents a union of shared values and aspirations:

  • Expanding Educational Horizons: By leveraging the expertise and resources of The French Beauty Academy, SAHBA aims to enhance the educational opportunities available to aspiring beauty professionals in South Australia.
  • Empowering the Workforce: The collaboration is designed to empower students with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in the beauty industry. This will not only benefit individual careers but also contribute to the industry’s growth and professionalism.
  • Advancing Ethical Standards: SAHBA and The French Beauty Academy jointly commit to promoting sound ethics, high standards, education, training, and the provision of premium client services in the beauty professions.
  • Supporting Industry Excellence: This partnership will engage in research and education initiatives, enhancing business management capabilities within the industry, and further improving standards in the profession.

“Our collaboration with The French Beauty Academy is a testament to our dedication in providing unparalleled opportunities for our members. Together, we’re paving the way for a stronger, more ethical, and thriving hair and beauty industry in South Australia.”
Marcela Lastra, Co-President of SAHBA

For more information about SAHBA South Australia or The French Beauty Academy, please contact:

Daniela Herrera
Partnerships and Marketing Manager
Mob: 0405 928 984

Renee Sheane-Smith
Strategic Partnerships & Industry Relations Manager
Contact: 1300 250 111

About SAHBA South Australia:

The South Australia Hair and Beauty Association (SAHBA) is a leading industry association dedicated to promoting excellence in the hair and beauty sector in South Australia. With a focus on education, professional development, and industry advocacy, SAHBA supports the growth and success of hairdressers, barbers and beauty professionals and businesses in the region.

About The French Beauty Academy:

The French Beauty Academy is Australia’s largest and most prestigious registered training provider for services in the beauty therapy industry. Established in 1986 as one of Australia’s first government registered beauty academies, The French has a rich history of delivering high quality vocational training and world-class graduates for over 35 years. Each year The Academy accepts students into training programs in the areas of beauty services, dermal therapy, laser, make-up, body treatments, nail technologies, and medi spa therapies, with 9/10 French Beauty Academy students secure employment prior to graduation.


Industry Update: Meeting with the Hon Blair Boyer, Minister for Education, Training and Skills in South Australia

On the 22nd of August, 2023, a momentous and pivotal event took place this month, marking a significant milestone for the South Australian Hair & Beauty Association (SAHBA) and its members, as we embarked on a critical discussion with government officials regarding industry standards and trade recognition.

This momentous meeting brought together Merrill Gratton and Marcela Lastra, representing SAHBA as our president cohort, with The Honourable Blair Boyer, Minister for Education, Training and Skills in South Australia and Luke French, Chief Executive Officer at The French Beauty Academy, igniting hope for the future of the Hair & Beauty industry.

The purpose of the meeting was clear:

  1. To address and raise awareness about the pressing challenges that the Hair & Beauty industry faces.
  2. These challenges, ranging from standards discrepancies to trade recognition disparities, have long been at the forefront of concerns within the community.

The gathering with The Honourable Blair Boyer was a proactive step towards initiating transformative change.

The outcome of this vital dialogue was one of optimism and renewed determination. The meeting provided SAHBA Presidents Merrill Gratton and Marcela Lastra with a renewed sense of confidence and direction, offering a glimpse into the potential strategies and actions that could shape the way forward.

A particularly encouraging aspect of this outcome is the establishment of a collaborative partnership with the Education Minister. This joint effort is set to pave the way for a comprehensive roadmap that addresses the intricacies of the industry’s challenges.

Recognising the immense value of our industry network, we extend our heartfelt appreciation to Michelle Jensen, SAHBA Board Director and RTO Representative. Michelle played a pivotal role in orchestrating the initiation of this meeting.

Additionally, we extend our sincere appreciation to Luke French, Chief Executive Officer of French Beauty.  Luke’s contribution involved delivering substantiated insights that spanned the entirety of the Hair & Beauty sector. These insights comprised not only comprehensive industry statistics but also pertinent data specific to South Australia’s industry challenges with training, standards, and trade recognition.

The SAHBA community is committed to transparency and progress. As developments unfold, members and the wider community can expect to receive updates. The value of collective support cannot be overstated, as SAHBA continues to champion positive transformations within the Hair & Beauty industry.

In conclusion, yesterday’s meeting signifies a promising stride towards addressing industry challenges and fostering a more inclusive and dynamic landscape for Hair & Beauty professionals.

The collaborative spirit demonstrated by SAHBA, coupled with the engagement of government stakeholders, evokes a sense of anticipation for a revitalised industry that thrives on unity and innovation.

Please keep a watch out for further updates from this meeting by subscribing to our newsletter HERE and becoming a member HERE.


Meet our Co-President and Board Director Marcela Lastra for the Hair and Barbery Industry

As a renowned figure in the hairdressing industry, Marcela’s commitment to the hairdressing industry extends to her involvement with the SAHBA (South Australian Hairdressing and Beauty Association) board.

For the past three years, she has dedicated her time and expertise as a volunteer, working tirelessly to represent and advocate for the industry in South Australia.

Marcela is the proud founder of the award-winning Salon Longko Salon, which she established 15 years ago, showcasing her exceptional talent and dedication to her craft. Building on her success, Marcela recently embarked on a new venture, opening her second brand, Mr & Ms Salon.

Recognized for her expertise and innovative approach to hairstyling, Marcela also serves as a Guest Artist for De Lorenzo Haircare, where she travels across Australia, sharing her knowledge and teaching haircutting techniques. She firmly believes in the importance of education for the progression of the industry and actively contributes to its growth.

Beyond her professional achievements, Marcela has made significant contributions to the community. She passionately advocates for hairdressers to become involved in the community, particularly in supporting those in need. Through her initiative, “No Strings Attached,” Marcela provides free haircuts to community groups and hospitals, both within Australia and abroad.

In addition to her busy schedule, Marcela finds immense joy in being a devoted mother to her two growing boys. When she’s not immersed in the hairdressing industry, Marcela channels her passion and creativity into the art of cooking, transforming it into a beloved hobby Marcela’s multifaceted life and unwavering dedication to her profession and community make her a truly inspiring figure in the world of hairdressing.

Connect with Marcela via LinkedIn HERE