How a Savvy Fashion Founder Recharges on the Road
Entrepreneur's New Year’s Guide
In this monthly Travel Checklist column, we ask entrepreneurs to open up their carry-ons and share the items they can't leave home without.
Fashion knows no boundaries, and Claire Chambers goes where the latest trends are. As founder and chief executive officer of Journelle, a New York-based lingerie retailer -- a business idea she came up with while living and working in Switzerland back in 2006 -- she regularly travels to fashion capitals like Paris and London. She clocks between 50,000 and 100,000 miles a year, to meet with lingerie designers, vendors, and investors, and a little personal travel too.
"There's something about the independence and aloneness of being on the road that makes me able to step back and think deeply about myself, my life, and the company," she says. "I come back inspired and re-energized by the big-picture vision."
While on the road, especially in foreign lands, Chambers makes a point of living like a local -- often renting out apartments so she can fully immerse in the culture. "On our last team trip to Paris, we rented a great apartment in Montmartre, and some of our best and most memorable moments involved boulangeries, late-nights walks home from dinner, and even our comical, language-challenged interactions with the building owner."
Not surprisingly, Chambers has an eye for design -- and totes around some well-curated creature comforts during her travels. We recently asked her to open up her carry-on.
1. Longchamp travel bag. "These bags are indestructible and seem to miraculously hold everything I take -- and inevitably bring back."
2. Smythson travel wallet. "My wallet is a nightmare of receipts, notes, reminders -- anything that can get shoved in there does. So when I travel, I restrict myself to a slim travel case to organize all necessary documents and the occasional keepsake."
3. Passports. “I’m a fan of spontaneous adventure, especially when it takes you out of the country. (P.S. I was born in New Zealand.)”
4. iPad. "I travel with my iPad (and MacBook), and switch from one to the other if I run out of battery. I'm normally at my most productive on an airplane."
5. "Protection Piglet." "I’m never without my tiny "Protection Piglet," a safety charm that my mother gave me -- and each of my siblings -- when we went off to college."
6. Moleskine journal. "I’ve got multiple electronic devices, but nothing's better than a real journal for jotting down travel notes and musings. I especially love this Watercolor version that features wide-format pages and thick paper."
7. Mary Green eyemask. "A must for every overnight flight. There’s something playful about this style -- inspired by Breakfast at Tiffany’s -- that I love."
8. Le Labo travel perfume. "I adore the apothecary feel of Le Labo and keep a rotating variety of their fragrances in my handbag. A quick spritz of fragrance helps shake off the long plane ride, making me feel little more put together than one does after a red eye."
9. Bryce & Co. cashmere throw. "Years ago, I started traveling with this super lightweight cashmere throw to combat those drafty exit-row seats. I’m forever ruined on the standard-issue airplane blankets."
10. Quitterie case. "I have a bunch of these little striped cases from Quitterie to hold miscellaneous things -- this one contains my glasses. I normally wear contact lenses, but I switch to glasses as soon as I take off to save my eyes from drying out."
11. Mast Brothers chocolate. "I need a bar of high-quality chocolate to make it through a flight. If I forget, I'll end up with three pounds of Toblerone from the in-flight duty free shop -- and that's just bad on many levels."
12. Eve Lom TLC cream. "Eve Lom moisturizer is the richest I've found and keeps my already-dry skin hydrated on long-haul flights."
13. Fresh Sugar Lip in Rose. "It’s not often, but sometimes I will abandon my beloved ChapStick for a hint of color -- and moisture!"
14. Ray-Ban aviators. "Sunglasses are a must after a long, overnight flight, and these Ray-Bans are classic -- and work with everything."
15. Lingerie wash. "We’re relaunching our signature wash, so this travel size has become a staple in my bag while we retool scent and packaging."