February’s – ‘The Future Issue’ – Download Now
Founder of Gabwaller.com, Gabriel Waller, is the A-List secret weapon in tracking down the rarest and most covetable pieces in fashion. We ask her what the future of personal shopping looks like.
What time do you rise and what do the first 30 mins of your day look like, your morning routine?
Mornings are always the busiest period for me. Since relocating to Los Angeles, I’m waking up to my Australian team being online overnight, in addition to several of my global sourcing assistants, so my first priority is to catch up on all information that has come through overnight from my team and action accordingly. It may not be the best habit currently, but I can’t get started on my day until that has been ticked off. From there, I jump into my everyday morning routine, ready for my LA-based team to start. My alarm is currently set for 6.30am daily.
What was the moment you realised you had to make the leap and start your own brand and how did your previous roles pave the way for this?
I’ve always had the entrepreneurial desire within me, so I do feel that I was set from an early stage within my career to pave my way into building a career where I could work for myself. I’m so grateful for the previous roles that I did prior to launching my own company, especially my time working within the government, prior to making the leap into the fashion industry. That season within my life certainly shaped me into who I am today, and I continue to implement skills that I learned during that time into running my own business today.
What is at the core of Gabwaller.com, the DNA and business model?
My immediate thought jumped to kindness. That is who I am as a person, and naturally, that filters through to every part of the business. It’s very important to me that the team I build feels that also, and I know that our clients appreciate that. Kindness and being personable would sum it up in two words.
You’re direct to consumer. How did you keep up with the demand as you scaled and what was your big break?
After Rosie Huntington- Whiteley posted thanking me for my services back in January 2019, it truly was an overnight explosion of new requests. I remember feeling excited, nervous, and overwhelmed all bundled into one. My life changed at that moment and I needed to act fast to ensure that I could keep up with the sudden demand that my business now had. I stopped at nothing to ensure that happened.
Which brands or pieces drive sales season after season?
Chanel, Chanel, and even more Chanel. It is our most requested brand season after season and going by the requests that I have already received for SS22, their upcoming Spring Summer 2022 collection will be one of our most requested collections yet.
Which brands are on your radar or are you personally buying into for 2022?
I have a very close eye on Prada and Miu Miu currently. In particular, Miu Miu’s upcoming Spring Summer 2022 collection is set to be a very popular one. Those low-rise mini skirts!
Who supports you – do you have a team?
I have an incredible team that I wouldn’t be where I am today without. I have two direct assistants that work alongside me, one focuses more on client communication (it is very important to me that we uphold fast replies), and the other focuses on operations. They are the backbone of the business. In total, we have a team currently of 10.
What has been the biggest challenge since launching the brand, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge earlier on was managing the sudden demand that we received, whilst still upholding the personal service that I am extremely passionate about to this day. There were certainly months where I felt that I couldn’t keep up, that I may crash. I knew that I had to work extremely hard, at an extremely fast pace to get through it, which I did. Building my team has been the most important part of overcoming that challenge and season within the company.
The last year was a time that saw brands change strategy. Have you had to pivot as a business?
If we rewind back to March 2020, I remember very vividly our first team call where we sat down and discussed the potential impact that this may have on us. With stores suddenly closing, how were we to source our items? Thankfully with a lot of brands pivoting quickly earlier on, they were able to continue to conduct remote sales, which was our saving grace. One other area that we pivoted in was to commence sourcing in regions that perhaps we hadn’t touched before but did remain open due to lighter Covid restrictions in their country. Australia is a great example of that, it was a country that remained open for a huge part of 2020 and we were able to conduct a lot of our sourcing from there.
Which products have you had the most requests for to date?
Currently, our most requested brands continue to be Chanel (dad sandals, loafers, and the upcoming Spring Summer 2022 collection), Prada (they’re just about to release a new skort style which is set to be very popular), and Louis Vuitton.
What effect do you see social media having on the growth of the brand?
Social media has been paramount to the growth of my business. Currently, my business is conducted entirely through Instagram DM, without that channel, I don’t believe I would have reached a global audience as quickly as I have.
How do you stay in optimal form for performance – do you take supplements/follow a healthy diet?
I love living a healthy lifestyle and my latest ‘addiction’ here in LA is Pilates. I do a mix between Forma Pilates (re- former) and Hot Pilates (the best sweat session). I’ve been a vegetarian going on six years now, I’m a strong believer in treating food as medicine for ultimately feeling my best.
You recently moved to LA, tell us about the strategy behind this and how long was it in the making?
This was over two years in the making, and I cannot tell you how happy I am to finally be here. The original plan was to relocate in March of 2020, but Covid placed a slight spanner in the works. I relocated in September 2021 and have not looked back since. The US is my fastest-growing client market, and it was a natural progression for the business to relocate over here to focus on the US as a whole.
How do you deal with working across so many different time zones?
A lot of organisation and time management, I would be lost without my world clock.
This is The Future Issue – what do you think is the future of the luxury industry and how do you see the brand being part of that?
I truly believe the future of luxury shopping is sourcing. I have seen a massive shift in the personal shopping space over the past three years, with a significant increase in sourcing. It is both easy and quick, which are both important to today’s luxury shopper. It is very important for me to continue to pave the way for this area in the industry, and I can’t wait to see what the next 12 months (and beyond) brings.
February’s – ‘The Future Issue’ – Download Now
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