Gab Waller: Hailey Bieber, Khloe Kardashian are clients of Australian luxury personal shopper | Stellar

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Sold out? Just ask Gab. Those are the words – written on a billboard atop a hot pink building at an intersection in West Hollywood – that heralded Gab Waller’s official arrival in the US market.

“It’s located on the corner of Beverly Boulevard and North Vista Street and is my very first,” Waller tells Stellar. “To see this was such a significant moment for me. Tears were most definitely shed.”

Known by her business’ Instagram handle @gabwallerdotcom as much as she is by her own name, Waller is at the forefront of a new wave of fashion-industry power players who source high-end designer items that are incredibly hard to find – or even sold out.

The 28-year-old manages to get her hands on pieces that even well-connected celebrities can’t track down and buy.

And she’s done it all online, using her platform on social media.

Since mid-2018, her business has expanded from Sydney to Los Angeles, where she lives and employs two full-time assistants. “It’s a 24-hour business, so it never goes offline,” she says. Among her clients are Hilary Duff, Lucy Hale, Lori Harvey, Camila Coelho and Chiara Ferragni.

“I’d call myself a luxury personal shopper,” Waller says. “That’s how I describe myself. I am the go-to girl if the item that you’re looking for is sold out.

“If you go onto your usual go-to, whether it be Matches, Net-A-Porter, Fwrd … and the item is sold out, the automatic response for a lot of my clients is to go straight to my DMs and send the request. It’s all, ‘Hi Gab, I’m needing this shoe in a size 40.’ And from there it is my job to hunt it down.”

At the end of 2021, just three years after launching her business, Waller relocated to Los Angeles, which affords her proximity to the most important clients on her list. But even she admits that ultimately ending up there, with an office that overlooks bustling Sunset Boulevard, was not something she expected during her childhood in the central-Queensland town of Rockhampton.

“I never thought it would be possible, growing up the way I did, that it was a career journey I could take,” Waller says.

An office job working for the government provided unlikely inspiration to move into fashion. “I purchased my first Celine ‘Trapeze’ bag. It was in those [office] days that I started to get into fashion a bit more,” Waller tells Stellar.

“Working in admin the way that I did, I realised I had too much of a creative streak and I needed to get out of the office.”

As for the “it” items Waller’s clients are searching for right now, more often than not it comes down to Chanel.

“Chanel is definitely my most-requested brand,” she muses. “I would say from Chanel, it’s always footwear. There are a number of styles each season that become the ‘it’ style to have. They sell out very quickly.

“At the moment, [my] DMs are flooded with requests for the Bottega Veneta drop earrings, and the Prada singlet in both the full length and cropped version.”

There are a number of celebrities driving the demand for these key pieces. “We do see a heavy influence from the likes of Hailey Bieber and Morgan Stewart.”

So how does Waller’s role in dressing Hollywood’s A-list differ from that of a celebrity stylist?

“I’d treat myself and the stylist as two completely different jobs within their network – I often work with their stylists directly, for some celebrities in particular,” Waller says.

“They go to the stylist to put together the looks, and they come to me if there is a specific piece for that look that they can’t find.”

Working with Bieber, Waller has seen first-hand the power of Instagram, on which Bieber has more than 49 million followers.

“Hailey has the strongest result in terms of if she wears something, it is pretty guaranteed it will start trending and eventually sell out,” Waller says.

“To give you a prime example, there’s a pair of Balenciaga sunglasses she’s been wearing … they’ve been around for one or two seasons, but as soon as Hailey wore them, the requests started coming through. I sourced and sold 19 pairs in one day.

“And the Celine ‘Edge’ sunglasses. They’re very rare and if you do find them, it’s quite likely the price will be very high. I’ve seen them go for $1200, so that’s well over a 50 per cent mark-up.”

Ahead of her return to Australia for the holiday season, Waller considers the issue of knowing what to splurge on, and what not to.

“One of [my] rules is to consider the cost per wear,” she advises. “If you’re going to invest in a piece, make sure you can carry it through to multiple wears, and seasons.”

Originally published as From Hailey Bieber to Khloe Kardashian: Inside Gab Waller’s fashion empire

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