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

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Younger Princeton residents are now being urged to register for a vaccination notification. (Black Press Media photo)
Princeton lags behind in vaccination rates

Approximately 24 per cent of residents here have received their first dose

Memorials have been set up to honour those who died during the Second World War. (Pixabay.com)
COLUMN: It’s time to stop making comparisons to Hitler

The deadliest, most destructive war in human history should not become a metaphor

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

(Westside Road Community Road Reports/Facebook)
Fire near West Kelowna resort now under control

According to BC Wildfire Service, the fire is nearly out

Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail ownership partners were awarded a grant for $250,000 to support construction of a pilot section of trail. (Shuswap Trail Alliance photo)
Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail pilot project to start this year

Grant funding received for section of trail in Enderby, Splatsin territory

Police watchdog find Salmon Arm RCMP have no involvement in head-on collision. (File photo)
Police watchdog finds Salmon Arm RCMP not involved in Highway 1 crash

Woman seriously injured on April 22 after head-on collision

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike on Snowbirds plane during training in B.C.

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

(Kelowna RCMP/Contributed)
Replica guns, drugs seized from Kelowna home

Three people arrested, later released without charges

The Vernon Vipers congratulate goalie James Porter Jr. in picking up the win in his final Junior A game Sunday, May 9, as the Snakes edged the West Kelowna Warriors 4-3 in the final B.C. Hockey League pod game at Kal Tire Place. Tyler Carpendale (21) and Hunter Donahoe (4) also played their final games. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)
Vernon Vipers edge West Kelowna to close out BCHL pod

Vipers hold on for 4-3 victory at Kal Tire Place as 20-game season comes to a close

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

Most Read