Father & son

Father & son

Undoubtedly one of the most respected names in the industry, Gerald Wells has been a leading hair stylist, innovator and businessman for over 30 years. He is also a father of three.

Just as ambitious, creative and talented is Gerald’s eldest son, Wesley, who has been working with his dad in his various business ventures for as long as he can remember.

Having recently taken over the reins from his father, Wesley has discovered his own flare and passion for hair styling – and the father and son have exciting new ventures on the horizon.

“I grew up in salons. When I was little, I ran around spraying people with water bottles,” Wesley laughs. “Then I started working – sweeping up hair and making tea for the customers.”

Gerald first landed in the hairdressing world years before Wesley was born, when he was just 17 years old. Born in the UK, Gerald moved to South Africa at age of 13. When a friend invited him to do an apprenticeship in a hair salon a few years later, his hair styling journey officially began.
“There was a bit of a stigma about men working in hair salons in those days – but my dad didn’t care,” says Wesley. “He loved it and was really good it at – and he also loved being surrounded by beautiful women all day!”

Gerald’s career really took off when he returned to London and got a job working for British celebrity hairstylist, John Frieda, where he was given the opportunity to style musicians, movie stars and celebrities. He travelled the world, gaining invaluable insight and experience, and had become one of the top stylists in the world by the time he was 21.

Gerald returned to South Africa in the early 1980’s and started working alongside top SA hair stylist, Terry Scott. After running a successful salon in Musgrave, the business partners went their separate ways for a period but reconnected in 2004 with the opening of Scott & Wells and Shampoo (a dry bar and hair retail store) at Gateway Theatre of Shopping.

Although he was always involved in the business in one way or another, Wesley never trained as a hair stylist. An avid surfer and tennis player growing up, he was more interested in the retail side and ended up moving to Johannesburg and helping open 27 hairdressing retail outlets (renamed Splush) countrywide. “It was a crazy time and hard work. We got big very quickly and it was a huge learning curve for all of us.”
After some personal challenges, Wesley decided to move back to KZN. Gerald consolidated the business, going into partnership with Twincare (the biggest independent distributors of professional haircare in SA).

They now have two salons at the Ballito Lifestyle Centre – Gerald Wells Hair and The Barber by Gerald Wells – as well as Hair Hardware retail stores at both Ballito Lifestyle Centre and Gateway Theatre of Shopping. They also have their own Gerald Wells haircare range, which is stocked in Dis-Chem stores.

“Many of our clients moved North, but we do also have loyal customers who still travel from Durban to Ballito to have their hair done with us,” says Wesley who is currently completing his hair stylist training at the Hair Academy. “We are really happy at the Ballito Lifestyle Centre. I have worked at 18 different shopping centres around the country, and I can honestly say there is nothing like this anywhere else. Bruce and his management team really do know what they are doing.”

Although Gerald is now based in Bali, he is still involved in the business, and he and Wesley have an exciting new business in the pipeline. “It’s been wonderful working with my dad all of these years. We’ve been lucky, but we’ve also worked really hard. It hasn’t always been easy, and we’ve faced some big challenges along the way, but we’ve never thrown in the towel. The obstacles have just made us stronger and brought us closer together.”