Gaby Bayona & Truvelle: The perfect bridal line for woman
- What & who is Truvelle?
Truvelle is a bridal line specializing in refined, effortless, and unconventional wedding gowns. Founded in late 2013, we’ve grown from one girl in her living room to a 25+ person operation within a 9000 square foot HQ. Truvelle’s run by me - Gaby Bayona. I’m a 24 year old first-gen Canadian with a penchant for bleached locks, travel adventures, and getting creative in business.
- What is your typical day when running a brand like yours?
I’ll get to the oﬃce around 11, say hey to everybody, and check in with Truvelle’s department managers to see if they need help with anything. Then, I’ll tackle emails for a couple of hours. The rest of my day is pretty varied - lately I’ve been working a ton on product development, but usually I’m having meetings with the team to see where everybody’s at & provide input, planning hires & company growth, overseeing Truvelle’s creative direction, and making sure we don’t run out of money. I also launched another bridal dress brand (www.laudae.com) less than a year ago, which has taken up a lot of my headspace. If I don’t have plans after work, I typically work until midnight or later.
- How did you approach the business side of fashion when you first started?
I believe work is just a set of problems with solutions that need to be figured out. When starting Truvelle, I looked at all the problems I needed to solve - getting a business license, finding my suppliers,
choosing a market, etc. Then, I figured them out. Though you need to have a big picture when you start a business, I think it’s important to simplify everything into decisions that you can tackle one by one. Or else, starting a business becomes daunting.
- When you cater to your consumers, do you look for a pattern within your analytics to better serve them? If so, how do you go about doing that?
I do - I love data! The best ways we get analytics is through sales, through asking our retailers / clients for their input, and through website / social media traﬃc. The data I like going through most is our spreadsheet of what gowns sell best and where most of our website traﬃc is going & coming from. The data that’s most valuable comes from our retailer / client input. Throughout the year, I’ll go through it and make revisions to our processes or write them as design notes.
- As the owner, do you see yourself more on the design side or more on the business side? Or is it pretty much balanced?
I prefer being on the business side, but need to be involved in design - especially since Truvelle is new and is solidifying its aesthetic. Right now, I’d say I’m 75% business and 25% design/content.
- Were there any setbacks to getting your label off the ground? How did you overcome that?
I was really fortunate because I had been perfecting/testing my designs for three years prior to starting Truvelle, through a custom dress shop I co-ran with my mum. There were two setbacks in getting my label oﬀ the ground - one was that I was 20 and didn’t have much credit history, so it was hard to get a loan. The other setback was the huge learning curve involved in starting a label from the ground up. For the loan, I ended up settling for a small amount & bootstrapping as much of my business as I could. I researched a ton to get around my learning curve, but what helped the most was to just start and figure it out along the way. There’s no way to anticipate all the problems a new business will face, so you may as well face those problems and get them out of the way as quick as possible.
- How would you describe yourself as a person & artist?
I’m somebody who loves doing things fast and efficiently, and I love innovating ideas and processes. I’m also very into my work; it’s a huge part of my lifestyle & when I have free time the first thing I think of doing is working. As an artist, I’m definitely a problem solver. I really enjoy finding things that are missing or not done well enough, and designing something that fills that gap.
- What made you so interested in becoming a fashion designer?
My mum was a seamstress-turned designer, so growing up I wasn’t interested in design because I didn’t want to be doing what my mum was doing! I also don’t enjoy being in the spotlight, and thought that the fashion industry would be too showy for my personality type. I fell into fashion design, but what kept me in it was the fulfillment I got from running a business which creates heirloom items that are among the most special in a woman’s wardrobe.
- Do you have a favourite designer who inspires you? Why is that?
I love Rachel Comey. I love how she’s made a highly obsessed brand slowly and deliberately, rather than spending all this money on marketing and flashy antics. I love how she believes that it isn’t about being in 200 stores or meeting the monthly sales goal, but about the environment she gets to work with, the people she works with, and the pieces she’s making.
- What story are you trying to covey through your designs?
Though I want each collection to convey refinement & eﬀortlessness, I also want each piece to be a blank canvas for whatever story the wearer may have.
- Did you ever see yourself to be so successful in establishing a known brand?
I had goals when I started Truvelle, but I never started with expectations of where my business was heading. I’ve been extremely fortunate with how Truvelle’s unfolded throughout the years.
- Tell me about your latest collection. What was your vision when you created it?
Truvelle's 2017 collection was inspired by the textured streets of the neighbourhood Truvelle was conceived in : Gastown, Vancouver. It’s a heritage neighbourhood placed right by the water, so we took shimmer and neutral tones to heart when designing for the season. The neighbourhood is also filled with creatives, so we spent time asking ourselves what they would want to wear on their wedding day.
- To be a designer, you had to undergo a lot of struggles. What was the most difficult obstacle for you when putting together your collection?
Time is always a huge obstacle for me. I run the business, which takes up at least 40 hours of my week. So, design & creation ends up happening at night or on my weekends. When the collection’s due date starts approaching, it can be really socially isolating for me. It’s something that I know isn’t sustainable, so I’ve been moving towards a creative direction role & am looking at ways to narrow down my responsibilities.
- If you could showcase your designs anywhere in the world, where would you start and why?
It’s cliche, but I would say New York. Since it’s a city on the world’s stage, making it in New York means you’ve made it in the world. I also personally love the city - I go a couple of times a year & get so inspired by the hustle the inhabitants have.
- Who excites you the most (celebrity) & why?
I don’t keep up with celebrities too much, but I do love Alexa Chung. She’s always doing new things - let it be modelling, youtube channelling, book writing, fashion editing, tv hosting, or fashion designing.
She’s so much more than a pretty face.
- How is your brand different from any other designer brands?
Truvelle’s based in Vancouver, a city with very few bridal designers. I think being detached from the rest of the industry helps us have a fresh perspective. We’re not bombarded every day with what our peers are doing, so we’re able to focus on what we’re doing. I also think we stand out in how focused the brand is. We have an aesthetic & we strictly follow it. If a bride wants a beaded fit-and-flare gown, we’re happy to recommend another designer. But, if a bride wants a refined, effortless, and flowing dress with unconventional elements, then she’ll love the entire Truvelle collection.
- What are your world dominating goals for Truvelle?
Truvelle’s looking to be stocked in bridal boutiques around the world. However, we want to be strategic in our growth - we’re looking to focus on markets where we have no presence & shops which complement our brand & bride aesthetic. We never want to oversaturate any one market, so I know there’s a cap in how many retailers Truvelle can accept. Right now, I’m experimenting with launching another bridal line (Laudae Bride) to see if that’ll be a great way to build in a diﬀerent direction, but I’m feeling things out. I love growing, but at the same time I love how tight knit and small(ish) the team is! It’s exciting because there are a few ways to expand, but that’s what makes it tricky too.
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