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 11:15 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

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

The Site C Dam location is seen along the Peace River in Fort St. John, B.C., Tuesday, April 18, 2017. The cost of British Columbia’s Site C hydroelectric dam has grown to $16 billion and the completion has been moved up a year to 2025. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
BC Liberal energy critic blasts ‘lack of transparency’ on Site C

MLA Tom Shypitka says Site C going ahead is a ‘good thing’, blames NDP for mismanagement

Volunteers from the Elk River Alliance cleared 14 car batteries from the Elk River near Elkford this week. (Photo contributed)
Elk River Alliance to move to more holistic environmental monitoring

The details of the ERA’s 2021 program will be discussed at the AGM next month

The Kitimat RCMP responded to false alarms, an apartment fire and more between Jan. 29 to Feb. 3, 2021. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Sparwood backs campaign to study Surrey RCMP impact

The City of Surrey is home to the largest RCMP detachment in the province

Brent Bidston is the president of Angel Flight East Kootenay. Black Press file photo.
RDEK ponders funding for Angel Flight East Kootenay

The district is considering funding for operations or to eventually help acquire a larger plane

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Most Read