How this Rocky woman became a stylist for the stars
THREE months into 2019 and Gabriel Waller is already having the best year of her life, and certainly the best year of her career.
Taking the leap and starting her own personal shopping business in June last year, the former Rockhampton woman's personal brand and business was catapulted into the worldwide fashion industry.
In the world of personal shopping, Ms Waller has found her niche in tracking down those high-fashion, designer items that would otherwise be 'impossible' to find.
"I think people may look at my lifestyle and say 'wow, she literally shops for a living'," Ms Waller said.
"Yes, that is what I do but behind closed doors there is a lot of hard work and very long hours.
"I am working on three different time zones on a daily basis."
Before Ms Waller took the leap into the fashion world she worked with the Queensland Government, and she decided to start a personal blog which led into the world of styling.
After taking on the blog as a full-time job, Ms Waller decided to move to Los Angeles in 2016 to get more exposure to the world of styling.
It was through that career she was introduced to the world of personal shopping.
"I discovered the world of personal shopping just through clients who began requesting pieces that weren't available within the US market," she said.
Upon her return to Australia she began researching the career path and she realised there wasn't a huge market for it in Australia.
She dove in head first, starting her business half way through 2018, and has been on the rise ever since.
Having done no marketing, advertising or public relations in the six months before the start of this year, the level of international recognition she gained in January was a total surprise.
Towards the end of 2018, MsWaller was approached by a friend with a request to find a Celine coat designed by former creative director Phoebe Philo before she left the design house.
British supermodel and actress Rosie Huntington-Whitely was searching for the sold-out coat in mid-December and when she posted about her quest (which went viral), a friend put her in touch with MsWaller.
After a few weeks of searching, Ms Waller was able to track down the coat in question.
Fast forward to January 18 when Rosie posted to her Instagram page - which is followed by 9.2million people - that she was now in possession of the "coat of her dreams" and it was all thanks to Ms Waller.
"It was a huge moment," she said.
"There are a lot of personal shoppers out there so for me, one woman here in Australia, to receive the exposure I received has been huge, and it is definitely all thanks to Rosie, that's for sure."
Describing how that moment changed her business and her life, Ms Waller said being able to work with clients on such an international level has taken her business to the next level.
"I woke up one morning and my Instagram had just exploded, it was absolutely bonkers," she said.
"The whole thing has really helped my brand grow and put it out there on a global scale.
"I think it is all thanks to Rosie for that. She kind of put me on a platform for international clients, which is insane."
Until recently, Ms Waller was running a one-woman business, but another exciting moment came when she was able to hire her first assistant.
After finding the coat for Rosie, Ms Waller was put in contact with Hailey Bieber, who was also tracking down the same coat.
"You can't get in touch with someone like that normally, but through Rosie I was recommended to other people. It is so crazy how it all works."
Drawing on her time growing up in Rockhampton and her schooling through The Cathedral College, Ms Waller said the things she learnt had served her well since she transitioned into the fashion world.
"I think growing up in a small town, I feel like it made me really ambitious to really explore the world and see what is out there," she said.
"Everything I have I've built myself, nothing has been handed to me on a silver platter.
"I think growing up in a small town, those kinds of values are built into you from a young age and you know that whatever you want in life, you need to work hard for it - it's not going to be given to you.
"I think my schooling taught me a lot of that and it really helped me with my ambitious personality. I am very determined and hardworking.
"I don't think that is something that you just wake up with one day, I think that is something that is built into you."
With her business still in its infancy, Ms Waller has found the kind of success she hadn't thought possible so early on.
To top off an already hugely successful nine or so months, Ms Waller recently returned from Paris after attending her first ever Fashion Week in the fashion capital of the world.
Yet another 'pinch me' moment for Ms Waller.
"My most recent trip to Paris for Fashion Week was so unexpected," she said.
"If what happened in January hadn't have happened, I can 100per cent say I wouldn't have been able to do that.
"Eight months ago, doing something like this was something I had only dreamt of.
"It was really a moment for me to say 'wow, this is everything I have dreamt of and it is here'. It happened so fast and it was definitely a bit surreal."
In Paris, Ms Waller was able to attend fashion shows, meet designers and visit showrooms to source not only specific items for customers, but to create contacts and get an idea of what pieces were going to be on the market.
"A big part of what I do is focussing on pre-orders," she said.
"It gives my clients the opportunity to basically buy anything straight off the runway."
Looking forward, Ms Waller said she is excited to continue growing her brand internationally, while also sustaining and creating more positive client relationships in Australia.
"Definitely I would love to do more travelling and work trips to connect with different people internationally," she said.
"I would also really love to grow my team a bit more. I would love to get a bit more help to assist with the business growth.
"I would also love to take a holiday, to be 100per cent honest with you.
"But number one would be to travel more for work."
And after working almost every day for the past nine months, on three different time zones, Ms Waller definitely deserves some time off to reflect on the stratospheric rise of her business.