From the time she was a child giving her Barbies transformational haircuts, Gwen Stewart knew she wanted to be a hairstylist. Yet, that is not the route she initially took.
“I spent a year at college in Calgary, studying history, business and violin before making the life-changing decision to pursue hairstyling,” she said. “I completed a program and began working in the industry at 18 and still love it. There are so many avenues to explore and potential paths one can take.”
After working as a stylist at a variety of salons around BC, Gwen returned to her hometown of Cranbrook to open her very own shop – Charlotte Sometimes (named for a song by The Cure). She remained owner/operator of the shop until her marriage to an Englishman meant a move to the UK. Not willing to let go of her passion for the industry, she was excited to take part in training opportunities at Vidal Sassoon in England.
Returning to the Canada in 2001, Gwen opened a new salon in Kimberley before responding to the College’s posting for a Hairstylist instructor.
“I’ve been with the College for about 14 years and have graduated over 150 students,” she said. “I love being able to pass on my passion for the industry and to bring a level of professionalism and education to the trade. My students are a highlight of my life. They teach me about a lot of things and keep me young at heart.”
With two hairstylist Red Seal certifications and a commitment to ongoing professional development Gwen’s students regularly benefit from her knowledge and experience. She, in turn, is regularly inspired by her pupils.
“Teaching was challenging during COVID, but my students have been so accepting and willing to adapt to the change,” she said.