Before She Was a Stylist: Barbara Forgione

Before Barbara Forgione started her namesake hair salon in Tampa, FL, you could find her creating fashionable looks for her high school’s dance team, as well as designing leather and suede jackets featured in big-name magazines.

Forgione started sewing when she was 8, and at age 16 designed her dance squad’s uniforms. “I loved designing my own clothes and even made my own nail polish to match,” she says.

After high school, Forgione pursued her love of fashion and went to work for North Beach Leather & Suede in San Francisco, where she designed a red, white and blue-fringed leather jacket that was featured in Life Magazine. After this, she returned to New Jersey and designed leather and suede clothes with appliques, where she had a spot at a boutique show in New York.

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Meanwhile, another career interest began to emerge unexpectedly: hairstyling. “My mother’s best friend was a colorist, and I became their kitchen guinea pig,” she says. “I liked the bonding, the conversations between the three of us in the kitchen; it was fun, sometimes painful, but definitely art, fashion and beauty.”

Soon after this, Forgione decided to be a colorist. “I swept up the hair at school and experimented with color,” she says. “I attended every color class available.”

Forgione moved to Tampa in 2000 and started working at Omar Sassin Salon. In 2005, Forgione opened her salon and continues to specialize in color, as well as cutting and styling curly hair. Forgione also created Colour Bunz, which are reusable cylinder tools to color hair that can take the place of foils. Her salon has received several awards for its commitment to education and was recently chosen as Featured Salon of the Month for Surface products, as well as given an award from D’Cinqué Hair Science for making a difference in the industry and elevating its future.

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