The S Event: Celebrating Sustainability in the Hairdressing Industry

TAFE NSW – Sydney TAFE together with Sustainable Salons Australia brought sustainability to the stage on Sunday 5 February 2017 with The S Event – the first event held in Australia solely designed to address sustainability in the hairdressing industry. The International Convention Centre Sydney played host to 330 TAFE NSW and industry guests for a locally sourced 3-course dinner and conference that successfully fused the creativity and innovation of lifestyle salons with new ideas and trending business concepts in sustainability and profit.

Guests were greeted in the foyer of the Grand Ballroom with drinks, canapés and a spectacular living flower photo wall, created by the Floristry Teachers and Students from TAFE NSW – Sydney TAFE. Hosted by dynamic duo Jules Tognini, creator of lil’ off the top, and Gary Latham, co-owner of Wild Life Hair, The S Event highlighted the three crucial elements of sustainability – People, Planet and Profit.

The program roared into life with the dynamic rhythms of Junkyard Beats, an eco-conscious group that transforms ordinary household items and recycled materials into musical instruments, entertaining guests with a vibrant performance! Newly announced Sustainable Salons Australia Creative Ambassador Shaun McGrath from Stevie English Hair produced a mesmerising creative presentation that saw him fashion four headpieces using the paper, plastic, metal and hair waste found in bins collected from Sustainable Salons Australia salon members. Donna Colombini, Head Teacher – Hairdressing & Barbering at TAFE NSW – Sydney TAFE, presented the exciting new training and curriculum initiatives in their drive towards a stronger apprenticeship and staffing future for the hairdressing industry.

This was illustrated on the night with the launch of Creative Collaborators, an online training program specially curated to bring the expertise and creativity of global industry icons direct to the student. Introduced to guests by Jane Trewin, Faculty Director – Tourism Hospitality & Service Industries, TAFE NSW – Sydney TAFE, and Julie Hagney Course Developer and Curator – Creative Collaborators at TAFE NSW – Sydney TAFE, the program was received with widespread praise and will be officially available from March.

Paul Frasca, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Sustainable Salons Australia drew a standing ovation for his presentation that highlighted the Sustainable Salons movement, it’s significant growth in just two short years, and the impact that the program is already having on the local community, the environment and salon business profits. Paul also spoke of the company’s vision to eventually offer the unique resource recovery service to every salon in Australia regardless of location in its goal to make salon waste history.

The evening’s keynote speaker was Jon Dee, Anchor of Smart Money on the Sky News Business Channel and Founder of DoSomething. Jon has been a formidable force and passionate advocate in the business of sustainability, environmental campaigning and humanitarian aid projects for more than 25 years, and he delivered key concepts and practical ideas to The S Event guests on how to save money by being smarter with energy and other valuable resources.

“It’s amazing what we can do in the hairdressing industry when we are educated,” says Paul Frasca of the event’s impact. “Take the ponytail donation program Sustainable Salons has running with Variety the Children’s Charity – most hairdressers didn’t know how to cut off a ponytail so that it could be used to make a wig, so they’d just throw valuable hair into the bin; we were ineffective as an industry. Now that we’ve educated salons on how to do it, this industry has become the largest donor of ponytails in Australia. That’s how I feel about sustainability – education is everything! The S Event is so important because it brings together an industry to talk about the importance of a sustainable salon future. And partnering with TAFE NSW – Sydney TAFE means we can implement the most vital part of this process – educating and empowering the next generation.”

Jane Trewin echoes this sentiment. “TAFE NSW – Sydney TAFE Hairdressing Section is very committed to educating our future generations of hairdressers to think in every way about Sustainability – People, Planet and Profit; producing quality graduates, improving their business practices, as well as consideration of the environment and planet. The partnership with Sustainable Salons Australia for The S Event was one way we could show the industry how serious we are about the future growth of our sector, of which we want to be a strong part.”

In a very special segment, the spotlight turned to Rough Threads, a charity close to TAFE NSW – Sydney TAFE and Sustainable Salons Australia. Introduced to the industry by passionate advocate Brett McKinnon, co-owner of Murphy Gozzard Hair Community, Rough Threads is a community driven not for profit, hosting free events for disadvantaged Australians to provide them with a more hopeful future and a positive sense of self. For the past 12 months, Sustainable Salons Australia and TAFE NSW – Sydney TAFE have been working with Brett to source volunteers for the hairdressing salon at each Rough Threads event. At The S Event, guests were given the opportunity to donate to this incredible cause, and together pledged a total of $11,574.90! Rough Threads Founder and Managing Director, Carrie Deane, says she was speechless when the final count came in. “To share the room with such generous people was amazing… (my husband) Ben and I were blown away with everyone’s generosity and support for our cause.”

The night closed with dancing and networking to the tunes of musical group The Baker Boys. Feedback from guests has been astoundingly positive, with many calling for The S Event to become an annual affair.

For all media enquires, please contact Hayley Miller:

– TJ