Shawn Gilstad was born in the mountains of East Tennessee. Shawn grew up one of seven children and was raised by a loving mother and grandmother. He is a graduate of Chattanooga State Community College. Shawn moved to South West Florida in 2009. Shortly after relocating, he opened his first business Hair by Shawn and Company. In 2012 Shawn formed a partnership with Sherrie Moody of the Charlotte Players and founded the Charlotte County Imagination Library--a children's literacy foundation that is an affiliate of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. It currently has mailed over 100,000 books in Charlotte County. In 2019 he married his soulmate, Dr. Dennis J. Gilstad. That same year Denny and Shawn bought the historic Purple House in Punta Gorda. After a full renovation, he reopened the building as The Purple House Salon by Shawn Gilstad.