Suppliers have paid tribute to Jonathan Wells, the owner of premium womenswear independent Questa, based in Cobham, Surrey, after he tragically drowned in an accident off the Spanish coast of the Costa del Sol last week.
Wells, 45, is understood to have drowned while trying to save his 75-year-old father who had gone out to swim in choppy waters. The men were swept almost 500ft out to sea and both died.
Wells was described by close friends as “extremely well known and loved in Cobham,” and someone who “didn’t have a bad bone in his body.”
Janet Edwards, Jonathan Well’s mother, said: “Jonathan was so well known for being such a gentle and kind person and was always genuinely pleased to see people. He had the most wonderful sense of humour and was loved dearly by everyone who knew him. The loss of Jonathan and his father, Robert, will leave a tremendous hole in our hearts.”
“He was incredibly gracious, thoughtful and very kind. He set the bar for how independents should be run and he never compromised himself or who he was.”
Melanie Trevett, owner of womenswear boutique Cristina in Weybridge, Surrey
Fashion agency managing director Janet Thurston, who supplies Questa with Save the Queen, said: “I’ve known the family since Jonathan and [and his sister] Amanda were teenagers. They’ve been running the business together for nearly 11 years and they’re always one of my favourite appointments. Jonathan had a wild sense of humour. He was always smiling and always happy. When it came to business though, he was serious, hardworking and very professional. He was a smart, handsome, well dressed man and always at the cutting edge of fashion. No words can compensate for such a great loss.”
FOS Fashion Marketing managing director Chris Foster-Orr, who supplied the store with brands Mac and Repeat, said: “He’s been buying from me for over a decade. He was always very professional, a real gentleman. He knew his shop inside out, he knew his customers and what they wanted and he always stuck to budgets. He was hugely professional and ran a very professional outlet. He was unassuming, a genuinely lovely guy. We were both football fans and used to have a lot of banter, he supported Arsenal and I support Manchester United and we always used to have such a good laugh together.”
Marc Cain UK agent Chantelle Wilkinson, a supplier to Questa, said: “Jonathan Wells was not just a client for seven years but also a good friend. He ran a successful business with his sister Amanda and was always the ultimate professional. All of the Marc Cain team will miss him dearly and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.”
Melanie Trevett, owner of womenswear boutique Cristina in Weybridge, Surrey, used to work with Jonathan Wells at Questa. She said: “He was incredibly gracious, thoughtful and very kind. He set the bar for how independents should be run and he never compromised himself or who he was. His shop always had a really great atmosphere. He had regulars who just wanted to be served by him. He taught me in fashion to always focus on the good stuff. He was such a good businessman and had such a professional manner. He was straight down the line, he never messed anyone around and he had a great vision for the business. When you bumped into him on Cobham high street, he was always smiling. I felt like I belonged to a family when I worked for him. I still can’t believe it’s happened.”
Questa has remained open, as people pay tribute in store with flowers and notes of condolence to the family. Questa co-owner Amanda Cook is said to be “devastated” by the news.
The funeral is to remain a private family affair but there will be a memorial service in due course.
Jonathan Wells attended the Danes Hill School in Surrey, where he excelled at sport. He was head boy and captain of the football team. He also played cricket and rugby and was a huge supporter of Arsenal.
In 1989, Janet Edwards opened Questa after she realised there was a gap in the market for womens casualwear. Wells managed the shop since then. In 2000, Janet retired and Jonathan and his sister Amanda became partners at Questa.