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

BC Transit is investigating a ‘rapid bus’ action plan for Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Transit launches investigation after passenger fall from upper deck

A passenger went to hospital after a fall from the upper deck

Capital Regional District Animal Control say an eight-month-old Rottweiler bit a Langford mother and her child near Glen Lake on Nov. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Large dog attacks mother and child in Langford

Mother puts three-year-old on top of car to protect him

The Victoria Police Department headquarters. (Black Press Media file photo)
Investigation launched into man’s death after arrest in Victoria

IIO investigation to determine if police actions or inaction played a role in the man’s death

Brenda Schroeder thought she was reading it wrong when she won $100,000 from a Season’s Greetings Scratch & Win. (Courtesy BCLC)
New home on the agenda after scratch ticket win in Saanich

Victoria woman set to share her $100,000 Season’s Greetings lottery win

Victoria School for Ideal Education at 2820 Belmont Avenue is the second school in Greater Victoria with an active confirmed COVID-19 exposure. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Private school becomes second Greater Victoria school with COVID-19 exposure

Victoria School for Ideal Education follows Lakeview Christian School in Saanich

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

Care home staff are diligent about wearing personal protective equipment when they are in contact with residents, but less so when they interact with other staff members, B.C. Seniors Advocate says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
More COVID-19 testing needed for senior home staff, B.C.’s advocate says

Employees mingling spotted as virus conductor in many workplaces

Most Read