Paige Wilkins was living in Calgary and exploring the idea of going to school to be a hairstylist when she learned that her stylist growing up – Gwen Stewart – was the instructor for College of the Rockies’ program in Cranbrook.
“Growing up in Kimberley, I always loved going to her salon and getting my hair done with her. I loved how she loved what she did and had such a passion for hair. I knew I wanted to learn from her talent,” Paige says.
Having played volleyball all through middle and high school, the College’s Avalanche women’s volleyball team was an added incentive. Joining the Avs as a left side provided her the opportunity for a scholarship to put toward tuition costs for her hairstylist training.
In the end, Paige feels her instinct to come back home to take the hairstylist program from the College served her well. “Gwen taught us how to be professional and confident when dealing with clients and co-workers. Through practicums I also had the opportunity to work in some amazing salons and got to see how they ran their businesses.”
One of those amazing salons belonged to Nick Arrojo in New York City. Some may recognize Nick as the hairstylist on TLC’s What Not To Wear. “Not only did I get to have work experience at this salon but I shadowed Nick Arrojo all day! This was an amazing experience and definitely a highlight in my career.”
Paige completed the hairstylist program in 2010 and now runs, with a partner, her own hair salon in downtown Kelowna. Antidote Hair has been in business for two and a half years and Paige is proud of the fun, relaxed, down-to-earth vibe they’ve created while also remaining professional and fashion-forward.
Helping to fuel her passion for the industry, Paige regularly takes part in continuing education opportunities – travelling to Montreal, Toronto, Los Angeles and Las Vegas for courses to keep up on the newest trends and techniques.
“I would recommend the College’s hairstylist program to anyone. I feel so lucky to have found this path and to have learned from Gwen. I love coming to work every day and making a living from something I absolutely love.”
Learn more about College of the Rockies’ Hairstylist program.