After three months of meeting motivational people and visiting inspiring places, Raymond Cloosterman relished the opportunity to create his own brand, called Rituals, and resigned from his current employer, Unilever.
“I came across a few insights that were so powerful,” Cloosterman said. “It was easy for me to start Rituals and start a new brand according to those [passionate] principles.”
The brand, which was launched in 2000 and combines ancient Asian traditions with beauty, is built around changing everyday routines into small meaningful rituals. “We live life on automatic pilot and we’ve lost the ability to enjoy the little things in life,” he declared. “And that’s the anchor for everything we do, that’s our passion.”
Every product has a story at the heart of it and in Ritual’s brick-and-mortar locations are displayed in order to educate consumers on these historical tales.
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He gave the example of one of his newest men’s skin-care lines, Samurai, which tells the story of the elite army of the Japanese emperors, who, before they went to war, had to be groomed to perfection.
“Together with ingredients like bamboo, ginger and basil, we created this line for the modern warrior before he goes to war everyday,” Cloosterman said.
He added that getting all these stories across is one of the Ritual’s challenges, but the company tries to do that by training its staff along with some of their advertisements, which explains where each story comes from.
Currently, 50 percent of Rituals sales come from its stand-alone stores, 20 percent is wholesale and e-commerce and 10 percent is travel.
“This is more of a mind-set to help push ourselves for the next 10, 20 years,” said Cloosterman, who added that Rituals is in 50 airports, about 50 airlines, 75,000 hotel rooms, 1,400 retail doors and 420 stand-alone stores across Europe. “E-commerce — we’re not there yet, but now we’re working on some new solutions to help build this part of the puzzle,” he said.
He added the company is opening one to two stores every week in the world and by the end of the year it will add five more Manhattan shops to its two existing ones.
Meanwhile, the company launches about 100 to 200 products each year and, according to Cloosterman, the combination of department and stand-alone stores strengthens its retail performance.
“Rituals is a brand that is difficult to box,” Cloosterman said. “It’s a beauty brand, it’s a makeup brand, it’s a cosmetics brand and it’s a bath and body brand, but most of all it’s a lifestyle brand.”