Rituals provides an expansion update and talks travel retail trends
During an intimate press event at TFWA Exhibition & Conference in Cannes, Global Travel Retail Magazine sat down with Raymond Cloosterman, Founder and CEO at Rituals Cosmetics (Rituals) for an update on the company and its outlook on the travel retail channel. The leading Dutch beauty and lifestyle brand celebrated the relaunch of The Ritual of Karma collection, which is designed to help radiate positivity and practice kindness. Enriched with white tea and lotus flower, the range now features a new and improved formula with the Hydra-Boost complex. The collection also offers undetectable sun care protection perfect for all complexions.
As Europe's fastest growing beauty and gifting brand, Rituals has established over 1,100 stores worldwide in 36 countries; on average the company opens five stores per week. When it comes to travel retail, the brand is available in partnership with 10 airlines and at more than 700 shop-in-shops and 3,500+ luxury boutique hotels in 111 countries.
On one hand, Cloosterman calls Rituals Cosmetics a machine, but at the same time, he says at the core it remains a small, agile and creative company.
Asia Pacific expansion
Having recently launched stores in Singapore, Kuala Lampur and Shanghai – and with plans to open in Tokyo early next year – Rituals is ready to move outside of Europe and start building a fundamental base in Asia. “We believe that with our unique philosophy and our approach to product innovation, Asia is the next big step for us,” said Cloosterman. “Our dream is to make sure that people in the region are also discovering our brand. What we’re doing now is just the beginning.”
Rituals first entered the Chinese market several years ago by opening in Hong Kong to test and learn about the size of this opportunity and the best way to execute it. The company is now in a position to operate at full scale within Asia Pacific, with head offices located in Hong Kong and Shanghai. The goal is to initially expand into main cities and focus on more traditional retail infrastructure.
Beauty proposition and paradox
During his presentation, Cloosterman also spoke about three major trends in travel retail and how Rituals can add value as a brand. Elaborating on wellbeing as its new beauty proposition, he commented following two decades of practicing Rituals’ philosophy of encouraging users to slow down and find happiness in the smallest of things, it is on a mission to become the number one wellbeing brand in the luxury beauty industry.
Described as a sanctuary for mental relaxation, Rituals opened the world’s first Body & Mind Oasis. The shared space, which is located on the top floor of its flagship store House of Rituals in Amsterdam, provides personalized experiences and exercises based on sleep, meditation and breath work. The house opened a boutique in October on the Champs-Élysées in France, introducing the same type of innovative design and wellbeing concept in-store. The 500-square-meter space showcases the brand’s full range of skincare, wellness and home products, as well as an area dedicated to relaxation.
Along with bringing to life its new proposition, Rituals is helping to evolve two other current trends in the channel: accessible luxury and sustainability to impact. He said as an operator it is important to keep in mind accessible luxury when designing a retail offer to ensure product per square meter is healthy and consumers – not only buyers – are satisfied. Those passing through have the potential to benefit from technology-based innovations, beauty treatments and more.
Lastly, as a B Corp certified business, Rituals works to successfully improve and communicate its sustainability impact via three pillars: clean, conscious and caring. According to research agency m1nd-set, the new traveler pays greater attention to sustainability, which has become a decisive element in the path to purchase among duty free shoppers; 79% of duty free shoppers expect a space dedicated to sustainability.
“Our biggest challenge is managing the paradox of luxury and sustainability,” explained Cloosterman. “We want to surprise our customers, but at the same time, they should feel trust that when they buy Rituals we’ll look after them in a better way than anyone else.” He pointed out this should be the case across its full portfolio when it comes to formulation, packaging and stimulating the refill movement.