For anyone who loves designer items, shopping and the challenge of unearthing a needle in a haystack, Gab Waller’s job might just be your dream come true. The Sydney-based personal shopper, with clientele such as Elle Macpherson, Kourtney Kardashian and Hailey Bieber has made a hugely successful business from sourcing virtually impossible to find designer items—whether it’s a sold out Prada bag or a Chanel shoe in a colourway you can’t find anywhere, Gab will be able to find it. From how she does the seemingly impossible to what’s going to be at the top of everyone’s wish list in the coming months and her own philosophy to shopping, meet the woman who’s quickly becoming known as fashion’s best kept secret.
Tell us about how you got your start… I hear Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was involved!
“I started the business back in June 2018, with a handful of Australian clients. Little to no one knew my name, but I was determined from day one to build on the idea that I had. The original vision and goal was to source internationally, only for Australian clients. I never expected or think that I would one day have a global client base. Fast forward six months, I was connected to Rosie through a mutual friend, and after she reposted the [Celine] coat that I found in January, that is when the business exploded.”
How did you grow your business to what it is today?
“It has been built purely from word of mouth. In the very early days, I didn’t have budgets for PR or marketing, so I knew that word of mouth was all that I had. I worked non-stop, 7 days a week, to grow my client base locally within Australia. To this day, I haven’t gone down the PR route, opting to instead use word of mouth as my one and only marketing tool.”
What’s a day in the life of Gab Waller?
“It is hectic and non-stop from the moment I open my eyes, I stick to a very strict routine to ensure that I’m connecting daily with the correct contacts at the correct time, depending on where they are based globally. I’m constantly on calls, in meetings, and liaising with contacts via WhatsApp, however the real joy is speaking with clients. On any day, I’m speaking with over 100 clients and organising/fulfilling their requests. I wouldn’t be able to manage that without the support of my team.”
Can you talk us through the process of what happens from start to finish when a customer comes to you with a request?
“Yes absolutely – the business is run predominately through Instagram. Almost 90 per cent of our sourcing requests come through via Instagram DM, with the remaining 10 per cent via email—which my assistant Ayesha manages. We receive the request, log it in our database, and from there, the hunt begins. Once the item has been located, I touch base with the client to let them know it has been found, and we organise payment and dispatch. It is extremely fast paced and is managed 7 days a week over a 24-hour time period.”
What’s it like dealing with such beautiful things day in and day out?
“To much surprise— as a lot of the items are sourced internationally and shipped directly to the client—I very rarely physically see the item. I admire it from afar! I do love to regularly visit the boutiques here in Sydney though, it’s important for me to constantly keep my finger on the pulse for what is currently in store.”
What’s your approach to shopping for your own wardrobe?
“My philosophy for my own personal wardrobe is built purely on investing in key pieces, that I will wear and treasure for many years to come. I don’t buy a lot, each piece I do purchase I have thought out well. I’m a very strong believer in ‘cost per wear’, if I know that I will be able to style that particular piece over and over multiple ways, I will happily invest in it.”
What is the most treasured item in your wardrobe?
“My vintage Chanel jacket purchased earlier this year jumps to mind straight away. It was purchased from a beautiful online boutique called Kern 1, Tami the owner is a walking Chanel encyclopedia. Her knowledge is incredible, it made purchasing it even more special.”
What’s currently on high rotation in your wardrobe?
As I write this, it’s suddenly turned quite cold again in Sydney. Being a Queenslander, I don’t do too well in the cold, so I’m rugged up right now with multiple layers on. The coat that I keep coming back to is my one from The Row, it is black and classic, the perfect timeless piece. Styled back with my Chanel ‘dad’ sandals, they have been on very high rotation in the past few weeks.
What are some of the most popular items people are currently requesting?
Currently my requests for Prada are skyrocketing. From the moment they relaunched their Re-Edition bag, it has been non-stop since. Currently is their nylon shorts and black loafers that are exploding in demand.
What brands tend to be the most coveted amongst your clientele?
What’s your secret to finding such hard to find items?
A ‘never give up’ attitude. ‘No’ is simply not the answer, I will receive many, many ‘no’s throughout the day, it is all about finding that one single ‘yes’.
What’s your prediction when it comes to what are going to be the must-have designer items over the coming months?
Based off my current requests, it will be: