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Conversations with the Inspiring Gabriela Baiter

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gabriela Baiter.

Gabriela, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Even though my parents owned a video store years before Blockbuster, I never thought I’d find myself heading up a niche pop-up retail consultancy. Now that I look back, I realize that I’ve always been involved in pop-ups in some way, shape or form. I started a wandering supper club to meet new people in Portland, Oregon. I joined Uber because I was fascinated with pop-up stunts like #UberKittens and #UberIcecream winning over the internet. After a few years of delivering the impossible on demand, I moved over to Uber’s retail team to humanize Uber’s 650 driver hubs. The project serendipitously dropped me into retail and I’ve been obsessed ever since.

With more and more online brands adding retail to their arsenal, my background in tech and innate passion for experiential is a unique skill set to create an agency that breathes new life into stores.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
So far, so good! I’ve always been a pretty big advocate for pursuing and manifesting your dreams, no matter how crazy it may sound at first. After a series of calculated moves, it seems to be working out.

One of the biggest risks I made in my career was requesting to take a sabbatical after four years at Uber. I loved the company and the people I worked with but had a deep desire to make something I can call my own. While pursuing ideas during nights and weekends kept me inspired, I wanted to give myself the time and energy to take a step back and plot out my future.

It sounded crazy at first to request four months off but my colleagues believed in my ambition enough to support it. Those months were one of the most transformative and restorative times of my life, helping me to define my purpose and open up my mind to what is possible.

While a sabbatical isn’t an answer for everyone, I hope my experience can teach other women to forge their own path and write your future. In most cases, it’s riskier to stay behind and never find out your true potential.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Whereabout Studio story. Tell us more about it.
I’m the founder of Whereabout, an experiential retail studio that helps brands navigate the future of retail through the creation of unique pop-ups and in-store experiences. Located at the juncture of brand marketing and retail innovation, we aim to transform passive showrooms into meaningful brand outposts for today’s consumers. If the future store doesn’t look like a store at all, then what is it? It’s a coworking space, a gallery, a wellness sanctuary and so much more,

What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
We recently had the privilege to work with Uber and Girlboss on a competition that would lower the barrier for female founders to achieve funding and resources for their business. With only 2% of VC funding going to female founders, it was an honor to play a small role in closing the distance between ambition and reality for women.

While it’s reassuring to see more female leaders voices heard, we have a long way to go before the systemic barriers are broken. One of the easiest things you can do in your industry or social circle are to speak up, rise up and be the example that no one ever thought was possible.

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Image Credit:
Eighteenx18: Emilee Rose Mcgovern

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