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SHE Spotlight: Gaby Bayona

Interviews

Introduction:

Gaby Bayona is the Vancouver based Founder, Owner & Creative Director of Oremony Design Corp. (including the bridal labels: Truvelle, Laudae, Aesling, and Halseene), as well as Lovenote Bride & Stranger Agency.

I discovered Gaby’s business when we were first searching for bridal design labels to carry at White Willow almost three years ago now. I learned of her labels before I learned of her and was beyond impressed to have found such an incredible business with beautiful designs right on our doorstep in Vancouver! 

When I discovered the woman behind the magic I was completely blown away, and I know that after reading through her spotlight, you will be too!  I knew she would be the perfect person to be under our first spotlight. All four of Gaby’s labels can be found at White Willow Bridal Boutique and the new designs for 2021 are to die for, we can’t wait to share them with you!

Interview:

Emily Jane: Welcome Gaby! Please give us a brief background of how your story in business has evolved into the one you are living today.

Gaby: I’ve been in the wedding industry since I was a kid, through my mum who was a bridal seamstress. Part time help became a full time gig, when I co-ran a custom dress shop with my mum shortly after I turned 18. The idea for Truvelle came while I was running that shop, and became official about a month into turning 21. Over the course of my next 7 years, I grew out of my apartment and into a big warehouse, went from no staff to 30+, launched Laudae, Aesling, and Halseene, opened up stores in both Calgary and Vancouver, and now sell around the world through a network of 70+ retailers. I also started Stranger Agency in 2018, which is Canada’s most diverse modelling agency (but that’s a whole other story).

Gaby working away on a new design. Image: @gabybayona
Oremony Design Corp’s new location in Vancouver, BC : Image @gabybayona

Emily Jane: What are the main roles you play inside this business you’ve created?

Gaby: I’m currently restructuring my bridal companies, to allow me to focus on upper management, company strategy, and creative direction. I’ve learned the hard way that a very clear chain of command is needed — if I want to sleep, there’s no way I can be part of every discussion/decision. For the modelling agency, up until a couple of months ago I was running all aspects save for bookkeeping, social media, and the general email account. Now, I’m spending a lot of my time training a manager who’ll eventually take on my day-to-day duties so I can focus on big picture. 

A break and a book, Image: @gabybayona

Emily Jane: How big is your team and how would you describe your leadership style?

Gaby: The team’s at 31, and is growing as we get ourselves back to pre-pandemic levels. I don’t have a singular leadership style — I’ve always adjusted based off the situation.

BTS of the Vancouver production warehouse : Image www.truvelle.com

Emily Jane: Gaby, you are just 28 years old and you’ve accomplished so much in that time.  What are two traits that you feel have been your greatest assets to your current achievements?

Gaby: Pinpointing emerging/new ideas has always come naturally to me. I’m also good at taking action – a lot of people love to talk, whereas I like to do… and quickly. Stranger Agency, for example, launched just a couple of months after I decided it was something I wanted to start. 

BTS of a photoshoot, Image: @gabybayona

Emily Jane: It is easy to tell through following you that doing your best to craft a consciously minded business and life has long been important to you.  Tell us about your viewpoint on this subject now we are in the year 2020. 

Gaby: My businesses are such huge parts of my life – it’s only natural that my views flow into my work. A big conversation this year has been racial inequality, and for years I’ve been an advocate in all aspects of my life. 

Garment technician, “Vincent” – who the “Vicki” dress was named after. Image: Truvelle.com
Each year the Oremony team chooses names for their dresses. In 2019 they were named after women who work for the company. Here they are in/beside the dresses named after them. Image: truvelle.com

Emily Jane: What was something that you discovered early on in business that you wish someone would have told you/ wish you would have known?

Gaby: It’s partially a staff member’s choice to be unhappy. Companies can go above and beyond to make somebody content or to appease a situation, but if that person wants to be negative or isn’t willing to see a different side, then that’s exactly how they’ll be. 

Emily Jane: What does being brave mean to you?

Gaby: Being firm with your beliefs/actions, even if it’s unpopular. 

Gaby wearing a sneak peek of Truvelle 2021 in Alberta, Canada: Image Gaby Bayona
Gaby speaking to the the need for greater transparency in the fashion supply chain during Fashion Revolution Week in Vancouver, Image: @gabybayona

Emily Jane: I love following along on your personal account @gabybayona. No matter how busy you are, you seem to always find a way to involve fun, friends, and intentional living. What does living fully mean to you?

Gaby: Learning and experiencing, constantly. 

A moment of fun during a shoot on the Klondike Highway, Image @gabybayona
Work and personal life combined in Belize, Image @gabybayona
A game break while shooting new imagery for 2021 bridal in Drumheller, AB: Image @gabybayona

Emily Jane: What do you see as one of the greatest challenges facing women (in general) in business today and how are you combatting this? 

Gaby: The double standards are so real between female and male bosses. A girl asks somebody to do something, and she’s bossy. A guy asks somebody to do something, and he’s expressing his authority. A girl gives feedback that isn’t sugar coated, and she’s a bitch. A guy gives the same sort of feedback and he’s being the bossman. The list goes on. A past employee who had many warnings & said many inappropriate things, told me that he only got fired because “he hurt my feelings” — would this ever be said to a male boss?

The aftermath of dedicated focus over long hours, Image @gabybayona

Emily Jane: What is your greatest motivator?

Gaby: In both my business and personal life, I crave new experiences. I’m a night person, but would happily wake up at 6am if it means travelling to a new place or working on a new business idea. 

Emily Jane: What is a future dream of yours about life/business that keeps coming to mind? 

Gaby: Vancouver will forever be my home, but I want to experience living somewhere where people don’t know me. 

Image @gabybayona

Emily Jane: What was one of the greatest challenges you faced when Covid-19 hit and how did you combat it?

Gaby: Navigating the optics of the pandemic, when I knew very early on that this would be more than a 2 week shut down. The process of designing the company’s new normal was enjoyable, but I discovered pretty quickly that everybody had a different comfort level. I ended up personally calling each staff member to let them know my plan, ask them how they felt about it, and together decide the best way for the individual to move forward within the company. 

Image, truvelle.com

Emily Jane: If you could give the readers of this spotlight one piece of advice for life/business that you feel would be of great value to them, what would it be?

Gaby: Your mistakes are learning experiences, if you let yourself see it that way. 

Gaby wearing another sneak peek of Truvelle 2021, Image: Gaby Bayona

Emily Jane: Being a designer yourself, we would love to know some of your favourite brands/businesses that you choose to personally wear/buy from! 

Gaby: Most of my wardrobe comes from One Of A Few in Gastown (Vancouver). I love Araks for swimwear, Base Range for intimates, and Ganni / Rachel Comey for everything else. 

A big thank you to Gaby for sharing her background and insight with us all. 

How to find Gaby and follow her business ventures:

Personal: @gabybayona

Lovenote Bride (Flagships in both Calgary & Vancouver): @lovenotebride

Truvelle: @truvellebridal

Aesling: @aeslingbride

Halseene: @halseene

Laudae: @laudaebride

Stranger Agency: @strangeragency

SHE Spotlight: Gaby Bayona

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Meet Emily

I’m a small-town girl with big dreams and a passion for empowering women to create businesses that support the life they deserve. Pursuing your calling should never be an isolating endeavor, so I’m here to provide you with all the encouragement, guidance, tools and reassurance you desire on your path to success. From impactful biz tips and inspiring stories of success to favourite sweats to rock in the home office, I’m grateful for this SHE community, and invite you to join us!