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Dr. Sapna Palep of Journelle: “Spread the word!”

Never underestimate the backend and operational support you need when running a business — it’s crucial to efficiently function on a daily basis. We’re relying on technology more than we ever have before, after all most of the world is now working from the “cloud” and I love that we have a tech partner like Oracle NetSuite […]

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Never underestimate the backend and operational support you need when running a business — it’s crucial to efficiently function on a daily basis. We’re relying on technology more than we ever have before, after all most of the world is now working from the “cloud” and I love that we have a tech partner like Oracle NetSuite where our team can virtually connect from anywhere, anytime.


As part of my series about the five things a business should do to create a Wow! customer experience, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sapna Palep MD.

Spearheaded by co-CEO and owner, Sapna Palep, MD, MBA, the priority at Journelle is to create a safe space for women to explore the world of intimates — somewhere women feel understood and catered to, so they can embrace the joys of designing a beautiful lingerie wardrobe. Sapna understands that at some point, we’ve all felt the physical and emotional impact of wearing a bra that doesn’t fit right. That needs to change — she is striving to marry her experience in wellness and medicine to Journelle, so that change can be felt here.

Journelle is a multi-line, multi-brand lingerie destination for lingerie made for women by women. Based in New York with over 20 employees both in their corporate headquarters and including their highly trained staff of expert bra specialists in our 4 retail locations (Union Square, SoHo and Upper East side in New York City and Chicago, IL). They sell a curated collection of popular luxury lingerie brands including Cosabella, Hanro, Natori, Le Petite Trou and Bordelle along with their own exclusive Journelle Collection. They are known for their sexy lingerie in addition to being a leader in loungewear, intimates, sexual wellness and lifestyle accessories.


Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I’ve been a board certified dermatologist for the last 10 years and have a bustling dermatology practice, Spring Street Dermatology with three offices located throughout New York City. Lingerie should be like your second skin. In my practice, I see on a daily basis many of the skin issues that women deal with due to ill-fitting or poorly constructed undergarments. I acquired Journelle, the luxury intimates’ retailer and brand, with my husband, Guido Campello, a year ago and it was a very natural fit for me as I was already helping women deal with these issues in my practice.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

I was surprised at how much I needed to learn about a proper bra fitting. I was so grateful to be surrounded by a strong and talented team that were truly experts when it came to making women feel comfortable with our lingerie. Science says 80% of women are wearing the wrong size bra.

At Journelle, we use what we like to call ‘Boob Science’ which says finding the right bra isn’t about size, it’s about fit. It isn’t about squeezing yourself into a size or shape that ‘someone’ told you was “sexy”, it’s about finding what works for your body — your size, your shape, your vibe, and your style. Sizing can vary by brand and style. Not all bras are created equal which is awesome because all women are fabulously different. A regular bra that fits correctly has a band that is centered all around. The gore needs to be positioned steadily on the top of your torso (basically it needs to fit the same all around). For instance, if your bra is going up at the back and you have to pull it down, the band is too big. Likewise, if the gore moves away from the torso, the band is too big. Your breast shape is just as important. Not all bras are created equal and no two women are alike.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

My husband, Guido Campello, who is also co-CEO and creative director for Journelle. He grew up in the intimates’ business as his parents started Cosabella, the Italian luxury lingerie brand, over 37 years ago. He is still part of the family business and now helps to run two successful lingerie brands. He has a wealth of industry knowledge that is invaluable and instinctively knows what the consumer wants. He is my rock.

Let’s now pivot to the main focus of our interview. This might be intuitive, but I think it’s helpful to specifically articulate it. In your words, can you share a few reasons why great customer service and a great customer experience is essential for success in business?

It is extremely essential to understand how to create a unique customer service experience in business. There is so much competition in any industry now and lots of brands creating great products — the customer service experience is an opportunity to distinguish yourself and build a loyal customer base. Specifically, in our industry of women’s intimates, we find women coming into our stores or reaching out to us online to share deeply personal experiences of how their bodies have changed over time and how that has affected their self-image and confidence. Then our job is to listen and give them solutions that ensure they leave happier than when they walked in. This intimate and personal customer service experience is what sets us apart.

We have all had times either in a store, or online, when we’ve had a very poor experience as a customer or user. If the importance of a good customer experience is so intuitive, and apparent, where is the disconnect? How is it that so many companies do not make this a priority?

I believe the disconnect is trying to use a one-size-fits-all strategy when selling and interacting with customers. We encourage all our customer-facing associates to tailor their suggestions to the person in front of them — you’re not just trying to make a sale for the sake of it, you’re changing how this person feels about themselves on a daily basis. We prioritize this above all else .

Do you think that more competition helps force companies to improve the customer experience they offer? Are there other external pressures that can force a company to improve the customer experience?

We definitely keep an eye on what our competitors are doing, but not in a way that “forces” us to improve an experience, but instead how we can learn from what others are doing well and challenge ourselves to provide that same level of service to our loyal customers.

It’s great to see the innovation coming out of the women’s intimates’ industry, for example following the pandemic and lock-down this year, we had to evolve and find a virtual way to connect with customers we would have usually seen in-store. We’ve now implemented online strategies like virtual bra fittings, virtual styling services, and an app that will outlive this current period of time where people aren’t able to go in-store.

Can you share with us a story from your experience about a customer who was “Wowed” by the experience you provided?

We had a customer in store once who came in after experiencing changes in her body shape and size following pregnancy. She felt uncomfortable in her own skin, and broke down crying in our fitting room sharing her story. Our lingerie experts in the store were able to re-fit her to find pieces that would fit her comfortably and hopefully help her feel as beautiful as she already was. She left thanking our team and smiling with her new lingerie in hand. That’s the “wow”-worthy effect we want to have.

Did that Wow! experience have any long term ripple effects? Can you share the story?

I think that experience just reiterated to us how much of an impact we can have on someone’s life. When our team shared this story amongst themselves, they were reminded how important it is to tailor your advice and suggestions to the person in front of them and really listen to what they’re asking for and what they need. Whether that’s someone coming in to shop before a big date, a significant anniversary, after weight loss or weight gain, or just a day they need an extra pep in their step.

Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a founder or CEO should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience. Please share a story or an example for each.

Never underestimate the backend and operational support you need when running a business — it’s crucial to efficiently function on a daily basis. We’re relying on technology more than we ever have before, after all most of the world is now working from the “cloud” and I love that we have a tech partner like Oracle NetSuite where our team can virtually connect from anywhere, anytime.

Having a business suite that allows us to access all of our finance, HR, inventory and more all in one place in real-time has been crucial for us this year and has also enabled our employees to seamlessly work from different locations. For us, NetSuite has followed us as we’ve grown and continue to set our sights on new goals for the business. This year alone our online business has doubled from the previous year. My husband and I are starting a new brand in the new year and we plan on keeping the same tech structure for future operations . It’s not about where you started but where you want to see you and your team tomorrow.

Are there a few things that can be done so that when a customer or client has a Wow! experience, they inspire others to reach out to you as well?

Spread the word! There’s nothing like a great word-of-mouth recommendation, encourage your friends to follow us on social media or visit our stores. Ask them to try our virtual fitting and styling services, or download our Journelle app. We’ll take good care of them, we promise!

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

You should be treating everything you do as part of your self-care. Prevention is key. As women, we go through many different stages in life which are all beautiful and should be celebrated. It’s important to realize the connection of your skin to your overall health. Whether it’s a facial cream or a fabric, seek comfortable solutions that enhance your overall wellness.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You can follow me at @drsapna and Journelle @shopjournelle on Instagram!

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