ImagiNation with Gabi Lee


Gabi Lee

Co-owner & Director, The Sentimentalist

Occupation: Co-owner & Director, The Sentimentalist 

Favorite Productivity Tool: A yellow legal pad and a Papermate “Sharpwriter” pencil 

Most Recommended App: I’m not as tech savvy as I should be, but GrubHub gets me through the busy season ;) 

Last Thing You Read: I’m currently finishing up Lovability by Brian de Haff and starting Michelle Obama’s Becoming


Twitter & Instagram handle: @thesentimentalistatl

Tell us about your journey? I’m an Atlanta native, but started my career in bridal on the West coast. Before that, I spent almost a decade in the food & hospitality industry, where I learned a LOT. I’ve yet to finish my undergrad degree, but I had an incredible mentor and started from the bottom up, both of which provided me an invaluable education. I ended up in bridal more-so for my love of the business model and experience working with people and high pressure. It’s less about loving weddings or playing dress up… but, we do all that too!

What’s your favorite part of the day? My boyfriend makes a point, just about every evening, to tune everything out and off and ask about my day. We download our progresses with one another, share project pics, talk through worries and plan out our next day. Whether it’s a 2-min or 20-min convo, I always feel loved and motivated and that’s pretty cool.

When do you feel most successful? When I can promote one of our girls or pursue a new project or hire a friend for a product collab.  Sharing the wealth is the only wealth.

What do you do to recharge when you’re feeling drained? Ha, I don’t do this nearly enough, so that’s hard to answer. I’m drained daily. But my regular relief is to take a slow morning. If I schedule things early, I’ll stress out all day. I also get my best reading and writing done in the AM so I try to make it a regular quiet time, if I take any.

What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur? That there isn’t one path for success. I wish I had known, long ago, about the business sides of creative fields and the value of attaching oneself to a small business. Making yourself invaluable to an entrepreneur is an incredible springboard for a career and sometimes I want to yell that from the mountaintops, to my past self and all the biz babies.

How do you optimize your day? Lists. And in a perfect world, I try to get my most difficult task or looming email done first thing in the AM. I work a lot from home or perched at a bar, because there are always a million distractions at the shop and office. I can answer emails, take a cocktail meeting, and still remember to eat a meal…which is sometimes saying a LOT. Can you tell I'm still in busy season? 

Who is the person/people who allowed you to imagine more? Opening our new store this year has been my biggest dream realized, so far. It was certainly a team effort and brought to fruition with the help of my parents and our manager and family bestie, Rhiannon. They, along with my boyfriend Raymond, got their hands dirty, suffered my stubbornness and made my literal dreams come true. I’m crazy lucky to have such an encouraging and genius team of people around me.

What does imagining more mean to you and your story? With the use of strong systems and high standards, I want to create a self-sufficient and profitable business, so that I can imagine more. I’m interested in lateral expansion, within the hospitality and special occasion fields in our great city. We have some incredible vendors and artists in Atlanta’s wedding industry who could use new platforms for profit and I’m here for it!

If you could do more of one thing every day what would it be? Plan. Or build systems. It’s a strength that I don’t have the quiet or the time to practice so much right now. I’m definitely a dreamer, but life is a lot of “doing” at the moment. I’m not complaining… I just wouldn’t mind a planning vacay some time soon!