Aptly named, Rituals Cosmetics successfully works to turn everyday beauty and home routines into memorable, relaxing rituals. Encouraging people to take time out of their day and experience the small pleasures in life is truly what makes this brand unique.
The products are inspired by authentic Eastern traditions, becoming the first brand in the world to combine Home & Body Cosmetics. They offer products ranging from moisturizing body and facial creams to scented candles and fragrance sticks.
Rituals was founded by CEO, Raymond Cloosterman, whose life experiences and world travels inspired him to create a prestige lifestyle brand that was accessible to all markets and audiences, worldwide. With over 300 stores and 700 shop-in-shops internationally, it is safe to say this young company is just getting started.
“We want to turn routines into beautiful rituals.”
Your dream and goal was to create a global luxury brand. Why did you choose cosmetics?
RAYMOND CLOOSTERMAN: It is a nice hobby that went out of control. I was trained during my former position, where I worked for prestige brands like Calvin Klein and Elizabeth Arden and created a passion for beautiful exclusive cosmetic brands. After twelve years I was due to start a new job, but had a two month gap to fill. I decided to go exploring, to look for inspiring people and places, with an open mind, letting myself be surprised like a small child again. So I went shopping in the big cities and spoke to designers, perfume houses and anthropologists. I came back with a lot of new ideas and insights. I was so inspired that I resigned in 2000 and started my own exclusive lifestyle brand which combines home & body cosmetics for both men and women.
It was my dream to build a global prestige brand that would be accessible to a wider audience: the luxurious world of Chanel and Estee Lauder, but then for a fair price. The global demand for prestige brands is perhaps growing as a form of escapism; people are prepared to not eat for three weeks in order to buy that one expensive bag. At the same time, people are becoming more critical about the price they are willing to pay for this. We dived into that gap. There was also a demand of enjoying small things. That insight is the basis of the success of Rituals today. With our products we want people to learn once again to enjoy the little things; we want to turn routines into beautiful rituals.
Is there one product that you identify yourself with? If so, which one and why?
RAYMOND CLOOSTERMAN: It’s difficult to choose. I have two favourite rituals, actually. The first is Hammam, because that was our introduction to the ritual concept. We were inspired by the bathhouse ritual from ancient Oriental civilizations. To develop that, we visited a hammam to experience it ourselves.(I became a huge fan) and that’s how we came up with the idea of a natural shower mud and olive pasta soap using ingredients as Eucalyptus and Rosemary, products to relax and that turn your bathroom into your own little hammam.
The second is Laughing Buddha, a ritual inspired by a famous monk whose legendary smile brought happiness wherever he went. For centuries, rubbing his belly has symbolised good luck and prosperity. This tradition is the inspiration for a collection of uplifting products that celebrate this positivity. Infused with Organic Mandarin and the revitalising power of Yuzu, The collection with names for products like ‘Fortune oil, Good Luck scrub and Happy Buddha shower foam bring a touch of happiness to your everyday life. That suits me very well.
The leader Raymond Cloosterman is a person who inspires, but who inspires you in turn?
RAYMOND CLOOSTERMAN: Creative and optimistic people, from designers, to artists and business man, but the most inspiration I always find when travelling. The local people, the culture, their traditions, their smile, the way they live. And Forrest Gump was also inspiring, haha.
The goal is to change routines into beautiful rituals. How and what routines have changed into rituals for you, since you have started the company?
RAYMOND CLOOSTERMAN: My Favourite is lighting scented candles. Make it next to a second skin at home where all the senses are stimulated continuously with always nice music on, light from a lot of candles, giving each room their own fragrance with our home perfumes, the use of natural green plants and flowers. We like to give it our own signature with natural elements. When we come home we start with the ‘ritual’ to light a lot of candles think of 20 to 30 candles, everywhere: in the living room, the kitchen, the bathroom etc. It is a part of coming home and it creates a warm atmosphere. I recommend this to everyone, to unwind when you come home.
Rituals Cosmetics is a Dutch brand with roots that tie into authentic Eastern rituals. How many languages does Rituals Cosmetics “speak”?
RAYMOND CLOOSTERMAN: At this time we are present with stores and shop-in-shops in leading department stores in fourteen countries worldwide: The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, UK, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Sweden, Czech Republic, Croatia, Lithuania, Brazil, Denmark & The US. Travel Retail is also a big part, which means that besides our own shops, we also are available through airlines and hotels. Furthermore, in duty free stores across Europe’s major airports and luxury cruise liners and in the Benelux we have our own City Spas, so literally, we speak a lot of languages.
But I think our most important goal is to ‘speak’ one language worldwide: everywhere we have the same passion to transform everyday routines into more meaningful moments. Our mission is to encourage people to slow down once in a while. All too often our lives are so busy that we forget to enjoy the moment. We believe our products – inspired by ancient Eastern traditions and with fragrances created by the world’s finest perfumers – will help people to achieve that.
“Authentic with a modern touch and spa feel.”
The collections concern body & home, but what is the concept design of your shops? What and how does Rituals communicate with its customers there?
RAYMOND CLOOSTERMAN: Transforming everyday routines into more meaningful moments, is the heart of our philosophy and the core of each of its products. Simply by taking time out of our busy lives to enjoy a warm bath with candles and oils, savoring a cup of refreshing tea, or by treating ourselves to a mini-treatment at home, we can help create a meaningful, memorable experience during our rare moments of ‘me time’.
This belief in enjoying the small pleasures in life, together with the brand’s ‘slow shopping’ attitude, encourages shoppers in our stores to de-stress, enjoy and pamper themselves by having a cup of soothing herbal tea or a complementary hand massage as they test the products. For us the consumer experience is very important. We always try to explain our beautiful stories behind the ancient Eastern ‘Rituals’ in our slow shopping paradise where all the senses are stimulated. We like to give our consumers the best experience possible. Authentic with a modern touch and spa feel.
We do need displays, but our store employees are also very important to stimulate trial. Consumers can try every product in store; therefore we have displays for the testers. We also present or highlight products on the so called ‘discovery island’ where products are displayed around ever-changing themes, such as Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day and also more general product themes like hand care. Alongside the products we use displays with nice quotes to get the attention of our consumers and to tell the story behind our products. The real goal for us is that consumers discover the products for themselves in our stores, through the interactive experience.
How about the plans of expansion? You have made the entrance in the US exclusively through Barneys and have opened the doors of two stand-alone Rituals stores on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and SoHo neighborhoods. Can you tell us more about that and what’s next?
RAYMOND CLOOSTERMAN: In Europe we became one of the fastest growing beauty brands. Now it’s time to introduce our brand in the US. We first think of product expansion. We introduce new collections twice a year. This year we continue to focus on opening new stores in the US and counters at luxury department stores. That’s priority number 1.
The global action counts around 1000 stores worldwide in the next 10 years, how are the actions planned for that? And what is the overall territorial view for that, will we see more US, Europe?
RAYMOND CLOOSTERMAN: In Europe we became a big hit, but there are still things and chances over here. Started in 2000 we are a young brand, with an old soul and a lot of ambitions. Now we have entered Brazil and the US, the coming years we have plans to enter and discover other continents, like Australia. There still is a long way to go, but we intend to keep travelling with the brand.
Available at Barneys New York and online via Barneys.com and RITUALS.com
New York Stores: SoHo, 231 Lafayette Street, New York & Upper West Side, 420 Columbus Avenue, New York