How Rituals Started
When Raymond Cloosterman – entrepreneur, brand builder and business economist who enjoyed a thirteen year career at Unilever and, last but not least, is handsome, tall and extremely friendly (trust us; we met him!) – was given two months off and assigned the task to come back with insights in the field of new brand thinking, he decided to embark on a journey of discovery. From a very operational job with 12 meetings a day, he found himself behind an empty desk with no e-mails and no immediate commitments. He traveled Europe, Asia and the US, went to trend gurus, research centres, perfume houses, but also to the Maharishi, Unicef, and even shopped around the world (it was very tough! He told us jokingly). So he finally came to the idea that started Rituals, the fast-growing Dutch body-care and accessories chain.
What’s More Important: Your Body or Your Home?
One of the things Cloosterman came to realise during that experience was that people see their home as an extension of their personality. What is more important for you: your body or your home? Probably both, and they are much closer than one might think. Today, Rituals encompasses products for both personal care and home care.
A Talk With Raymond Cloosterman
We met Raymond in the Rituals head quarters just before the opening of the new Zurich flagship store in Banhofstrasse 100. White flowers, goodie bags, fruit shakes, scented candles and lively, chatty staff welcomed us before the interview.
Beatrice: Being so busy managing a successful company you must be traveling a lot and always be short of time. Do you have your personal rituals to wind down, and do you really stick to them the way you “preach”?
Raymond: Yes, I have a few. For example, my wife and I love fragranced candles. When I go home I often light them, maybe have a glass of wine and try to really take time. But it can be many other things like enjoying a bath, being present in the moment, waking up in the morning and going for a short run, or right now enjoying the conversation we are having. I don’t sit on a yoga mat all day, but I have my mini rituals, also with my 4 kids. We try to do this also in our shops, where we offer customers a cup of tea, a head massage, or simply invite them to take time to browse and enjoy without stress.
Beatrice: Since Rituals is growing so fast, are you afraid of losing the small company mentality?
Raymond: it’s always possible, but I find it easy to relate to a growing, diverse team. I have a passion for luxury and try to produce excellence at a fair price, why not having it all and creating the perfect world? I do my best to be truthful, passionate, personal – life is about collecting precious moments and I try to do so. My father passed away when I was very young and I always tried to create happiness.
Beatrice: Is relating to different cultures also a typical Dutch thing?
Raymond: Yes, Dutch people are explorers. We live in a small country so we are always on the lookout, we travel the world, we get to know diverse people…we have the importance of being unimportant; we try not to take ourselves too seriously – humour is important in the team.
Beatrice: If you could choose any testimonial you want – from the Pope to Jimi Hendrix, who would you choose?
Raymond: Someone beautiful outside but above all inside. An intelligent actress, a sport champion…but I must also say that we always thought the products have to pass the exam first of all, and prices should be kept fair by limiting marketing. We sell a lot because of word of mouth, and because we are seen among equals in places like airports, perfumery chains, important shopping malls.
Beatrice: In many countries you are the n.1 destination for gifts. What are the 5 Rituals and Ritual products you would suggest to get to know the brand, for the ultimate pleasure at home?
Raymond: Careful, this might make you addicted! Here’s my list:
- Turn Your Shower into A Ritual Like A Bath. Try this with on of our Shower Foams – in contact with water, this gel turns into a rich, relaxing foam, and it’s the gentlest shower foam your skin has ever experienced. A bestseller.
- Glow. Hard not to become addicted to the Karma Body Lotion, rich, creamy and especially designed to give your skin a shimmering radiant glow. And it lasts much longer than the average body cream, so it’s well spent money.
- The Feeling of A Miracle. Turn a moment of routine into a meaningful pleasure with this ultra-softening hand scrub enriched with nourishing oils that are easily absorbed by the skin. A great feeling.
- Create The Atmosphere with Rituals candles: luxury packaging, beautiful fragrances, fair price – people collect them.
- Inhale: the fragranced sticks. Do try this at home – the delicate scent is immediately noticed by anybody entering the room. Gentle and relaxing.
All Rituals products are tested on humans, not animals – starting with Raymond, his family and his friends and team: the toughest judges of all!
For more interviews, go to the Ask the Monsters Interviews section.