About us

The Southern Africa Luxury Association (“SALA”), has been constituted to help
 establish a solid foundation for the luxury and premium lifestyle industries in
South Africa and its neighbouring States. It is the belief of the Association’s creators and founders that in order to ensure
a sustainable economic future for the luxury brand landscape in South Africa,
the industry’s stakeholders must begin to collaborate for mutual benefit and to act
collectively to strengthen the sector as a whole. It is SALA’s aim to encourage interaction, to provide industry insight, to foment
debate, facilitate networking and to foster collaboration between members,
all of which will inspire product and service improvements across industries.
Our objective is to support the growth of established, international luxury brands
as well as to develop the product quality and raise the brand awareness of younger,
local luxury enterprises.
There are four pillars that support the purpose of the Association. 1: Engage We will promote networking, affiliation and partnership between members. Members will engage with each other and salient sector issues by being invited to private networking breakfasts and dinners as well as participating in a series of quarterly SALA Briefings. These research-based gatherings will enable members to discover and debate the topical challenges facing luxury and premium lifestyle brands in the region today. 2: Inform We will create and maintain physical and virtual forums for the exchange of insights, knowledge and news between members. Each year, SALA will commission a major piece of research to provide robust, proprietary data and yield fresh insights to its members. The themes that emerge from each study will provide the basis of the Association’s Briefing series and will inform its annual programme of projects and initiatives. 3: Educate We will build relationships with graduate school programmes to empower and strengthen talented individuals working in luxury and to accelerate development of the sector’s next generation of brand leaders. 4: Support We will make a dynamic contribution to the development of sustainable community projects in Africa by supporting existing causes espoused by luxury brands, through the SALA Luxury Brand Accelerator and an annual gala dinner.
SALA was initially co-founded by Silvana Bottega and Piers Schmidt in June 2009. The Association formerly started operations in September 2009, after two successful launch events in Johannesburg and Cape Town. During that year the contact base has grown to 1000 qualified leaders in the luxury and premium lifestyle industry in South Africa and has 72 brands committed to develop the sector by working together. Matt Morley, the Association’s Commercial Director, has also played a key role in cementing the growth of this initiative. A special thanks must go out to the whole founding team including Gemma Burdett, Darius Meadon and Cliff Nichols, who spearheaded the first piece of SALA research and who all contributed enormously to the solid foundation upon which SALA is now built. Currently the board consists of a Council of 8 leaders which are sector based, spanning luxury goods conglomerates to wine and 3 directors. I am ever thankful for the guidance of Timothy George of Malus and Richard Schafer of Cape Cobra.
SALA Luxury Fellowship Internship ProgramThis is an unpaid, high-impact fellowship and will last for 6 months. It is designed to help to assist a University graduate grow professionally and to develop their work experience along with their knowledge of the luxury market in South Africa. The internship consists of a 5 month training period at SALA followed by 1 month working with a luxury brand in South Africa.During your internship at SALA you will expand your knowledge of the South African luxury market. Through your work with, and exposure to, a broad range of luxury brands you will gain an understanding of the dimensions of the luxury market. SALA produces an annual piece of research about the luxury market and you will be involved in both the first hand and online research, as well as being involved in writing and editing the final piece. Throughout the year we hold a series of high-end events that are both b to b and b to c. You will be closely involved in structuring and managing these high-quality, luxury events.You will be a university graduate (no technicon or event management school applicants need apply). You will have strong writing skills and be fully computer literate. Advantageous previous work experience may include: PR, sales, marketing, event management and website maintenance. At heart you will be a research analyst able to collect and synthesize data. You will know how to conduct yourself in a professional environment and how to communicate appropriately by email and on the phone. We are looking an intern who is intellectually curious, adept at time management and with a proactive approach. The ideal candidate will be motivated by the prospect of working with a growing association, will enjoy variety of tasks, traveling and learning about the luxury market in South Africa. All applicants should have completed an undergraduate degree. This internship is unpaid, however there will be a minor stipend towards daily expenses. If you would like to apply for this program please send your CV, a covering letter explaining why you are suitable for the internship and a short essay “Describe the difficulties which may be encountered by luxury brands in South Africa.” Please apply by Monday 19 December – interviews will be held the same week. SUBMISSIONS TO SALA 0214398785
The SALA Briefing is a carefully orchestrated opportunity for industry leaders and senior management in the South African luxury and premium lifestyle communities to gather and engage in topical debate and informal networking. SALA is committed to the creation and exchange of insights and these events are the Association’s primary vehicle for maintaining this important dialogue. We regularly host international senior management officials in SA and invite members to suggest speakers and topics that are of relevance to the industry. BENEFITS 1 Meeting key players in the luxury sphere 2 To foster a community in which members exchange best practise ideas 3 Events take place at high profile locations 4 Limited to 60 -80 invitation based guests 5 Increase brand visibility 6 Develop effective business development approaches 7 To provide thought leadership for the Southern African Luxury arena.
Based on clients’ needs, SALA discretely choreographs sets of brands with similar goals, ambitions and values so that they can optimize their efforts in market and reach out to affluent consumers through collaboration. Depending on the involvement needed, SALA takes a management fee for the event per brand for involvement, driving the event management process and the client list in a neutral manner. Depending on the nature of the brand and scale of the ambition of the project, we can work to create intimate settings for UHNWs and more elaborate displays that build awareness across a broader HNW clientele by either creating the platform ourselves or making the neccesary invitations to specefic brand events. We are able to handle the event PR in-house should budgets be nominal, engage best-practice suppliers and often work with the PR companies already on retainer for longer projects. We work across sector in a discrete manner and minimize conflict by focusing on matching brands with similar brand equity or alternatively based on their specific client wealth tier needs. BENEFITS 1 Engage with affluent clients 2 Events take place at discreet eminent locations 3 Limited to 20 – 40 invitation based VIP guests 4 Increase brand visibility with HNW’s and UHNW’s 5 Develop effective business development approaches 6 To foster a community in which members exchange best practise ideas 7 To provide thought leadership for the Southern African Luxury arena.
The SALA Wealth Summit is a two day event every two years which seeks to explore the state of wealth in the South African market and identify opportunities for, and obstacles to, growth. By bringing together heads of private wealth management firms and leaders from the luxury industry we aim to overcome the lack of formal research into this market by creating a platform to share key insights and knowledge.
The SALA Accelerator identifies nascent African luxury brands – from any category – that display the creativity and potential to succeed on both local and international stages. Dependent of the location and quantum of private and/or public sponsorship SALA will task and work with independent agencies to provide professional resources and advice relevant to the brand in question so that it might be ‘accelerated’ along its trajectory towards recognition and success. During a primary session with a brand we assess and analyze what the brand’s needs might be in terms of assistance for development and growth. It may be a pragmatic distribution strategy to reach out to HNW clients or for others, whilst their product quality may be strong, their businesses may need collateral development, for others we script their brand story and enhance their customer experience design and help them position themselves vis-à-vis their competitors. For other accelerator brands it may be the definition of values that can be filtered through their organization or, for most, it may be basic PR and communications planning for the luxury sector in SA to ensure they are more clearly seen as worthy of attention. SALA has assisted in the acceleration of the following talent: Avoova, Keith White, Aidan Bennetts, Ardmore Ceramic Art, Haldane Martin as well as The Letterpress Company.