Christine Terpening
Contributing Writer

(Photo by Christine Terpening)


Freedom. Flexibility. Financial Security. These are all good reasons to choose a career in cosmetology. In the heart of downtown Charlotte future cosmetologists are able to learn this skill and become licensed. “They learn everything that you would need to know as a cosmetologist,” says owner Angela Forte.
Under Forte’s instruction, students learn all the latest trends in hair cutting, coloring and all the new techniques for highlights. In addition, she teaches facials, waxing, make-up, nails, lash extensions and hair extensions.
“The beauty of our school is that we can service the public at about half the cost of regular salon prices,” explained Forte. Students gain valuable experience and clients get cutting edge services at a bargain price. To help offset school costs for the students, they are able to accept tips.
“We pamper our clients,” stated Forte. Haircut clients receive head, neck and shoulder massages, while hair coloring clients get hand massages and men are treated to a steam towel and neck shave with their haircut.
Forte opened her cosmetology school in October of 2022 after she obtained an additional professional license from the State of Michigan. Her school also needed to meet regulations and pass inspections through the state. That was the easy part. Hurdles presented themselves, but Forte leaped them like a boss.  “Through some unfortunate circumstances we rose above,” Forte said, “After some adversity, things just fell into place,”
“It’s such a great tool to have in your back pocket. You can do it anywhere. There’s no reason not to get your license,” stated Forte. Students complete 1,500 skill building hours to graduate and be license ready. Students may attend full time or part time. Forte encourages prospective students to schedule a tour and register.
The next class begins in August of 2023. She currently instructs twelve students, but will be adding enough stations to accommodate twenty-two students by the start of fall class with intention to add an additional instructor.
In the spacious salon, student laughter echoes off the brick walls amongst very serious learning and skill practice. The tone of the class is heartfelt. Student Chloe Neelis said, “I like to make people love themselves.” Neva Clarke stated, “I want to make the world a better, beautiful place.” Audrey Hoffman is proud to “make people feel better about themselves.” Forte summed it up by saying, “It’s a rewarding career when someone comes in not feeling so great and they leave feeling like a million bucks.”
In order for Agape Academy to be able to offer financing options, such as FAFSA, the school has to be in existence for at least two years. Forte guides students in other avenues to finance their education and also accepts monthly payments to the salon. The program currently costs $17,265, including $265 due at registration.
Forte also owns Agape Salon and Day Spa in Charlotte. “We opened this salon so our students have a place to work after they graduate,” stated Forte. “Cosmetology is a wonderful career. You get to express your creative side. It’s a very rewarding career where clients become your friends,” said Forte.
To book an appointment at Agape Academy School of Cosmetology call (616)287-2499. The school is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and is located at 127 S. Cochran Ave. in downtown Charlotte. Walk-ins are welcome.