Rituals CEO: ‘Sustainability journey never finishes’

By Charlotte Turner |

Raymond Cloosterman, Rituals Founder.In an on-location interview, Rituals Founder and CEO, Raymond Cloosterman tells TRBusiness why travel retail remains an invaluable channel for recruiting new consumers across continents and how the brand ‘with a new perspective on beauty’ is constantly fine-tuning its portfolio to enhance the quality, whilst mitigating the cost to the environment.

 

As previously, reported, Cloosterman addressed delegates at the 37th TFWA World Exhibition with a presentation on the theme of sustainable luxury during the Opening Conference.

 

He took the audience on a journey from the humble beginning of the global beauty and lifestyle brand, which proposed ‘a new perspective on beauty’ at the time.

 

“For me, travel retail is one of my favourite channels because, what we are trying to do is build a global beauty brand with a new perspective on beauty, but to be recognised as a new brand, be discovered as a new brand at airports, railway stations, airlines and hotel rooms,” he told TRBusiness in an interview in Cannes after his appearance on stage.

 

“These are excellent places where people can discover us as they are places where people are already on an adventure, in a new environment…when you expose the brand to people in these moments you can have a big effect on them.”

 

The Rituals Founder recently celebrating opening the brand's 100th store on the popular shopping street Corso Buenos Aires in Milan, Italy.

The Rituals Founder recently celebrated opening the brand’s 100th store on the popular shopping street Corso Buenos Aires in Milan, Italy.

 

Cloosterman insists that travel retail has been instrumental to the growth of the business and that ‘from day 1, it has been very important’.

 

“When we were very small we partnered with KLM, and we discovered how powerful [the channel] could be.”

 

He also admitted that his efforts to gain traction in local markets and in travel retail have been frustrated at times. “When you are small brand, and we discovered this in the first year, nothing was really happening until we got to a level of say 20 stores in a country.

 

“Then you go through an invisible gate, or reach a tipping point; it’s hard to explain. And the same goes for travel retail. People recognise you differently when you reach a certain critical mass.”

 

Cloosterman addressed delegates at the 37th TFWA World Exhibition with a presentation on the theme of sustainable luxury during the Opening Conference.

Raymond Cloosterman addressed delegates at the 37th TFWA World Exhibition with a presentation on the theme of sustainable luxury during the Opening Conference. Source: Nathalie Oundjian.

However, he caveats this by admitting that overexposure can often damage a brand’s image.

 

“There is a line between being exclusive and accessible,” he said. “You want to be an aspirational brand and for that you need to continuously improve the quality of the products, the looks, the campaigns, but also distribution plays an important role.

 

“We have to find that fine balance between [operating] our own stores where we can really deliver incredible surroundings and then having enough shop-in-shops and kiosks in addition to that.

 

The impressive Rituals booth at the TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes.

The impressive Rituals booth at the TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes.

“That’s always a bit of a balancing act. On one hand you want to have a lot [of stores], but on the other hand it’s dangerous because you could be overexposed. We put a lot of energy into making our execution consistent everywhere you go. Whether is be our own store, or a shop-in-shop or kiosk.”

 

Rituals has been consistent in its messaging on sustainable luxury too; something which was crystallised when it reached B Corp status earlier this  year.

 

“It was one of my proudest moments of recent years,” he said. “All the teams worked so hard to get there. I hope we inspire other brands to do the same. In the coming few years it will evolve as a must-have. We are a bit early.

 

Cloosterman took the time to meet with customers and the media during the TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes last month.

Cloosterman took the time to meet with customers and the media during the TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes last month.

“It’s a nice exercise for your whole company, to align everyone around this theme. Because we are using the methodology of an outside firm it helps to really get the facts communicated. It’s a fact-based certificate. It really has guided us and opened our eyes in certain areas.

 

“It’s a journey that when you start, you never finish so yes we are certified and we are very proud and we got good ratings – higher than some important players in the beauty industry – so that’s good news, but it’s just the beginning.”

 

He added that there’s a ‘real commitment from the team’ to take the lead and push the sustainability agenda. “We’ve taken a proactive approach and said we are not going to wait for legislation. We owe this to ourselves and everybody around us.”

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