Business of the Month – The French Beauty Academy

Congratulations! The French Beauty Academy

Recently CHG-director Shaun Costello, interviewed the director of the French Beauty Academy Luke French who spoke candidly about the business… 

Shaun: “Luke, tell us about your core business?”

Established in 1986 the Academy was one of Australia’s first government registered beauty academies.  We have a long history of delivering high quality vocational training for the beauty industry for over 30 years, primarily in the state of Queensland.  Our graduates are the preferred choice globally for beauty and wellness practitioners in the salon, retail and medi-spa sectors around the world.

Under the stewardship of The French Family, The French Beauty Academy has emerged as the largest trainer for beauty therapy in Australia with one in ten students in beauty therapy nationwide studying at our Academy.

We operate from three purpose-built campuses across South East Queensland, equipped with the very latest industry technologies.  The business also delivers a full- service training salon and retail Medi-Spa Clinic.

With over 1000 students spread across its campuses in both the day and night schools, its flagship program is The Diploma of Beauty Therapy and Diploma of Screen and Media.  This is a dual diploma studied over 12 months graduating Beauty Therapists directly into employment with huge demand, so much so that over 90% of the graduates for December 2020 had confirmed employment before completing their course.

Operating student salons at both locations along with a Retail Medi-spa at Robina, hundreds of models/clients a week book heavily discounted treatments online at facilitated by trained and supervised students both in class, as well as in student salons.

Shaun: “How long have you been operating the business and many staff in your team?”

The French Beauty Academy was originally established in 1986 in Burleigh as Gold Coast Training Academy and has a 35-year history of delivering Vocational Training to the beauty industry in Queensland.   We have grown to 100 staff spread between its three campuses, supporting the many different aspects of the business, from clinic, to training, to administration, day school, and the many short courses offered at night included eyelash extensions, spray tanning along with Certificates in Make-up and Nails.

 Shaun:” Do you have any exciting news?”

With growing demand for graduates, we recently completed the expansion of the second floor of its integrated campus in Brisbane CBD, featuring a lux custom fitout, with purpose-built glass encompassed treatment rooms to showcase Manicures, Pedicures and feature Glass-bowl Make-up Rooms.

 With a continued focus on quality, student employment and the student experience, this long-term approach has fueled growth beyond the expansion in Brisbane, with The Academy soon to open a new campus in the Adelaide CBD with the doors to open mid this year. You can have a look at the outcome here..

 Shaun: “What difficulties have you faced through COVID?”

As vocational training is hands-on, competency based, working on clients through touch.  Changing the delivery modality, timing of theory-based units, adapting COVID-safe practices to practical delivery, all done in a very short period of time while creating virtual and online training platform and training staff before delivering students was tough!

What was inspiring was the approach of staff – those whose roles were unable to continue in their current state (receptions, face to face teachers, medi-spa staff, salon staff), pivoted and focused on student experience, creating virtual meaning support for our students who also needed to pivot what and how they were being taught.

Jobkeeper was hugely impactful to The French Beauty Academy, with the implementation and facilitation of an otherwise complicated and involved planning and process being managed by Shaun and his team at CHG.  It enabled me to focus internally while they took care of the application, administration and planning which was of tremendous assistance and gave me great confidence to focus on our strengths while CHG focused on theirs.


Shaun: “What has been the biggest win through COVID?”

In a “Kodak moment” for The French Beauty Academy, we were forced to move much faster to a virtual/online platform then we had planned, focusing investment and developing additional flexible ways of delivering training which has created a better, more adaptable training environment giving more options to our students.  COVID has forced us to transform and become experts in the online/virtual training environment, giving more options for flexible study permanently for those interested in studying and working in this field.

The global aesthetics, spa and wellness is a US $4.5 Trillion industry, making it three times bigger than the pharmaceuticals market globally.  Over US$1trillion dollars is the personal care, beauty and dermal industry.  In Australia alone it is estimated that there is only one graduate for every 10 jobs in industry.  Significant growth in the areas of non-invasive dermal and cosmetic treatments was buoyed by COVID, with the impact of people seeing their ‘Zoom Face’ on screen, with many industry employers seeing record growth in revenue after the return of lockdown.


Shaun: “Anything else The French Beauty Academy is passionate about you’d like to share?”

With a focus above on our vision for the future, while recognising what we have accomplished to date, the “why” is equally important for The French Family and team.  A commitment to female empowerment underpinned through education and financial empowerment through employment, seeing the positive impact ripple in our Alumni achievements and careers inspires each of us at every Graduation.

Earlier this year, we began the journey of launching our internal Vision, Mission and Values (Employer Brand) program for Staff along with the introduction of our French Family Foundation and Legacy Project.

The French Family Legacy… We want to improve the world by giving women access to holistic education and qualifications, employment, self-empowerment and financial literacy, that in turn changes whole communities.




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