Drivewise Director of Operations Kate Wells with her horse Ernie. Lia Crowe photograph

Drivewise Director of Operations Kate Wells with her horse Ernie. Lia Crowe photograph

Inspired Style with Kate Wells

Favourite fashion, beauty tips and life and style inspiration

  • Aug. 28, 2018 10:15 a.m.

With a daughter about to turn 16 and eager to start driving, it was serendipitous that I was about to interview Kate Wells whose life has revolved around driving education. Kate’s parents owned Young Drivers of Canada for over 35 years, switching over to the DriveWise brand eight years ago. Kate started working part time for the company at age 16 and full time as soon as she graduated.

“It’s all I’ve ever known,” Kate says as we settle in to chat. “I grew up with this industry in my blood.”

As our conversation meanders, I find that the passion is rooted in running a business.

“It’s exciting when you can actually steer your company in the direction you want to go. My dad is a huge role model for me. I’ve learned everything about the business from him. My parents are still involved; my dad jokes that he might retire at 80. He just loves it and remains one of our best instructors. Being hands-on as owners is huge for us. Our company is very personable, I know the people who teach our courses, which goes along with our dedication to customer service.”

Asked what part of running the business gets her fired up, Kate says, “I think it’s the controversial part of my job — I like to live in that danger zone. I never step over the line but I push it. Like taking on the government for a bad move. My dad taught me that in this industry you have to pick your battles but never burn bridges.”

Beyond her business persona, Kate is also a mother of three boys — “And that’s why I own a horse,” she laughs. “I grew up riding but when I got married and had kids I stopped and didn’t ride for 20 years. Two years ago I got back into it when I bought my horse, Ernie. The best lesson I’ve learned since the age of 40 is to not feel guilty about spending time on yourself. It’s been a struggle, but I think we have to honour that for our own needs too.”

She adds, “When I ride it takes 100 per cent of my focus. My mind does not shut off ever. At night I’m constantly thinking about what needs to be done, but when I’m riding my mind can only be focussed on that. When I’m cantering up to a jump, I can’t be thinking about work, I have to be focussed on that jump.”

When it comes to fashion, Kate explains that her day-to-day fashion is really secondary to her riding gear. “I always want the top boots and breeches.”

To her, good style is about fun: “I may not be the most stylish person in the world, but I’m always having fun. If I could pass one thing on to my boys it would be that. To be free spirited and enjoy what you’re doing in life. It’s not all about money; you have to go to that job every day. You also have to be able to live with yourself and be happy with who you are and the choices you’ve made.”

Fashion:

Uniform: “I really have two ‘uniforms.’ First, is my everyday, business casual work wear which consists of summer dresses, jeans and T-shirts, sandals or flip flops. Second is my equestrian wardrobe which I absolutely LOVE! Italian riding boots, beautiful breeches and shirts and sweaters to match. Victoria Saddlery is my absolute favourite place to shop. They keep me looking up-to-date in the equestrian world!” Favourite pair of shoes: “My Sanuk flip flops!” Favourite Daybag: “One that can carry all my riding things…yes…spurs, boots, crop, breeches, belts and the list goes on. Oh! And a bottle of wine might be found in there too!” Favourite jewellery piece or designer: “I love my pearl earrings. They are simple and classy and my sister gave them to me. Fashion Obsession: “I love clothes, both day-to-day clothes and riding clothes. I am obsessed with breeches (riding pants) and belts.” Accessory you spend the most money on: “Any horse accessories, and nothing is ever cheap in this category. Just purchased my brand new saddle from Italy … it’s an Equipe and I am totally in love with it!”

Beauty:

Necessary indulgence: Nails and eyelashes. Scent: Flowerbomb by Victor and Rolf. Beauty secret: “Now here’s a good question, Kate’s beauty secret? Well it involves having fun, showing my true self and being natural. I am just who I am, nothing fancy, just me! I feel beauty is best seen near the ocean and at the barn!” Must-have hair product: “I have been known to have the odd Brazilian blowout done to my hair and maybe some balayage. I love my hair stylist, Colin Scagliati, at Vibe Hair Salon!”

Life & Style Inspirations:

Favourite Artist: “I grew up with my Dad bringing home Bev Doolittle paintings. I loved them because there was always something hiding in the picture that you’d have to find, and she used horses in her pictures as well.” Film or Movie: “Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a die-hard The Sound of Music fan. I love musicals like Grease, Annie and, of course, Mamma Mia — I know every word to every song! My friends can attest to this and sometimes cringe when I have a mic in my hand!” Favourite local restaurant: “I am a My Chosen Café girl. I have lived in Metchosin most of my life and am there most days that I have to cook. When I’m classy Kate, I’ll go to Il Terrazzo.” Favourite Cocktail/Wine: “After my recent trip to Mexico, I am a fan of lime margaritas. My favourite wine is Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.” Album on current rotation: “Anything I can sing to! And believe me when I’m with my friends, we are singing! Grease, Abba, Pink — I love it all!” Last great read: “I found local author Chevy Stevens and I have read most of her books.” Favourite Flower: Plumeria flower from Hawaii. Favourite city to visit: Maui (Kaanapali), Hawaii. Favourite Hotel: Sheraton Black Rock in Maui. Favourite place in the whole world: “This is easy! It’s my family cabin at Gordon’s Beach in Sooke. It’s a long row of funky cabins on the ocean and one of the only places I can actually relax. Beach fire, cheese, hot dogs and wine; that’s the best evening for me!”

– Story and Photography by Lia Crowe

Story courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a Black Press Media publication

Like Boulevard Magazine on Facebook and follow them on Instagram

BeautyBeauty tipsDriver's educationDrivewiseDriving lessonsEquestrianFashionFashion photographyHorse ridingInspirationInspired styleKate WellsLia CroweLifestyleStyle

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

News Bulletin file photo
Wrong set of golf clubs given away outside Nanaimo thrift store

Family spreading word about mistake in hopes clubs might be returned to them

The Regional District of Nanaimo faces challenges with garbage bin replacement requests. (Michael Briones photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo faces challenges to meet requests for garbage bin replacements

Waste manager says RDN will have a surplus of 100-litre carts

Nanaimo RCMP are investigating after a hit-and-run incident outside the 7-Eleven store at University Village Mall Feb. 3. (Photo submitted)
UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP speak to people of interest in hit-and-run investigation

Police continuing to investigate Feb. 3 incident in Harewood

(News Bulletin file)
Wellington, Ladysmith secondary schools latest with COVID-19 cases

NDSS and Bayview Elementary also experienced exposures, says SD68

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

The Regional District of Nanaimo’s board is forwarding a motion on illegal dumping to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities’ upcoming annual general meeting. (Kane Blake photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo motion seeks to ask province for help to combat illegal dumping

RDN resolution to be forwarded to Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities

FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2014, file photo, endangered orcas from the J pod swim in Puget Sound west of Seattle, as seen from a federal research vessel that has been tracking the whales. A new study from federal researchers provides the most detailed look yet at what the Pacific Northwest's endangered orcas eat. Scientists with the NOAA Fisheries Northwest Fisheries Science Center spent years collecting fecal samples from the whales as well as scales from the fish they devoured. They say their data reaffirm the central importance of Chinook salmon to the whales. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Study reinforces importance of Chinook to Pacific Northwest orcas

Data confirms how central the big salmon are to the orca’s diet year-round

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

Most Read