It was a seemingly standard appointment, but it changed Brianna Krupa's life.

Lori Lopez, then-owner of Wild Orchids, saw the teen's work on a school friend and said Krupa should be a stylist.

"From a very young age I knew I wanted to own my own salon, not just work at one," Krupa said.

"I wanted to be a positive light in other hair stylists' lives and encourage others to fight hard for their dreams."

Her vision began to form when she attended beauty school at 16.

"I was very driven," Krupa said.

Along the way, Lopez not only mentored Krupa but hired her to work at the Antioch salon.

And while Lopez is still a hairdresser there, she recently decided to sell the business after 15 years and focus on her health.

"She's become a skilled hairdresser, a mother and a wife," Lopez said about Krupa.

"She's young, she listens. I didn't just want to give the golden ticket to anyone. Bri won, and I get to stay, work and be part of her dream."

Yes, 12 years later, the student has become the master. Well, in this instance, the owner.

An Antioch native, Krupa was once an apprentice "learning the art form of cosmetology at the very salon I own now," she said about the surreal experience.

After that initial meeting before the prom, Lopez asked Krupa to complete an apprenticeship and then work at the shop.

"I was on cloud nine," she said. "Here I was 16 years old and noticed by the most popular salon around. Without hesitation I said 'yes!' "


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A week after that, she started cosmetology school.

The 2004 Deer Valley grad attended the program after school and then worked at the salon three days a week.

"I remember how cool it was to watch all the other girls cut and color hair and how I wanted to be just like them."

She completed all course requirements and by 18 was a licensed cosmetologist.

Now that she's moved from student to team stylist to owner, she has new goals.

"I want everyone who walks in the door to leave with an amazing experience and be wowed by the amazing talent of the stylists and the great customer service."

Her 15-team salon includes hair stylists, nail technicians, estheticians, make-up artists and salon receptionists.

"She is passionate, charismatic, hardworking and humble. She wants to make it home for everyone and wants everyone to share in the vision," said Christopher Bustos, co-owner of Beauty Spa and Brow Bar in Wild Orchids.

The 28-year-old mother of two said it's all been very exciting.

"I wanted this so badly (and) worked very hard for it," she said of all the Saturdays she gave up as a teen to work in the salon.

"I knew it's what I had to do. My parents have always told me, 'If you want something, go get it.' They have been my No. 1 supporters through this whole journey. And my husband and boys keep me motivated, she said.

"I'm so excited to see where Wild Orchids will go from here on out."

Reach Trine Gallegos at TrineG@att.net