The Quest for the Unattainable
Marianna Hewitt, co-founder of the skincare brand Summer Fridays, prides herself on her shopping prowess. Yet, even she faced challenges when desiring Alaïa’s fishnet mesh ballet flat—a shoe that skyrocketed in popularity, ranking seventh on Lyst’s hottest items of the last quarter. “They were sold out everywhere,” Hewitt lamented. But in the world of luxury shopping, “sold out” is not the end of the road if you know the right contacts.
Enter the Luxury Sourcing Expert
In her quest for the elusive flats, Hewitt turned to Gab Waller, a luxury sourcing expert. Within a short span, Waller delivered, and Hewitt showcased her new acquisition on Instagram. Sofia Richie-Grainge shared a similar experience, obtaining the same pair through Waller. With over 5,000 global clients, Waller’s Instagram-based business specializes in locating hard-to-find luxury items. She represents a new wave of shopping that prioritizes the end goal (securing the coveted item) over the shopping experience itself. With connections spanning boutiques, warehouses, and sample sales, and a keen audience on social media, experts like Waller are redefining luxury shopping by making “sold out” a term of the past.
Redefining Personal Shopping
Waller explains that luxury sourcing is the antithesis of traditional personal shopping. While personal shoppers curate items based on a client’s taste, luxury sourcing caters to those who know exactly what they want but need assistance in procuring it. This trend has gained momentum in recent years, with sourcing experts like Waller, Michelle Lovelace, and Jennifer Nisan amassing significant followings on Instagram. On these platforms, clients can directly message experts with specific or even vague item requests. Some experts even maintain their inventory, anticipating items that will be in high demand.
The Cost of Luxury Sourcing
The price for this specialized service varies. For Waller, clients pay the retail price of the item, added shipping, and a sourcing fee that doesn’t exceed $350 per item. This fee structure, based on the retail cost, ensures the service’s accessibility to a diverse clientele.
The Challenge and Triumph
Waller often encounters skeptical clients who doubt her ability to locate specific items. “People often tell me, ‘Don’t bother, Gab, you won’t find that. It doesn’t exist,’” she shared. But Waller’s confidence remains unshaken. “I know it exists somewhere.”
In today’s digital age, luxury sourcing experts are bridging the gap between desire and acquisition, ensuring that in the world of fashion, “sold out” is merely a temporary setback.