How Rituals Cosmetics built a €1.7bn business

By Kirsty Doolan

- Last updated on GMT

In 2023, the company opened over 200 new stores across the globe, including its first stores in Asia
In 2023, the company opened over 200 new stores across the globe, including its first stores in Asia

Related tags Cosmetics Rituals Fragrance Personal care Personal care products Sustainability

The Dutch lifestyle and personal care company Rituals Cosmetics reached a record-breaking year in 2023 and enjoyed huge global expansion. Here the brand’s CEO shares five insights…

Over the past decade, Rituals Cosmetics has steadily carved out a niche with its fusion of personal care and home fragrance solutions that puts an emphasis on wellness and sustainability. In 2023, the business saw its best year ever with revenue up by 22%, and 20% growth in online sales. 

Over the past year, the company opened over 200 new stores across the globe, including its first stores in Asia, and added 630 new points of sale in luxury perfumeries and department stores.

It also introduced an experiential wellbeing concept ‘Mind Oasis’ into its flagship Paris, Frankfurt, Barcelona, and Antwerp stores, which it said combines science-based techniques for mental relaxation with the wisdom of ancient techniques, to help reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep quality, and enhance overall wellbeing.

Founder and CEO Raymond Cloosterman shared that he was proud that the company has become a truly international concept “where the Netherlands (home market) accounted for 15% of the business,” and revealed that Rituals now plans to open another 250 stores in 2024.

Here Cloosterman shares five insights on how he has built the successful global business…

1. Staying true to the USP

“Rituals is all about personal and sustainable wellbeing. People all over the world live their lives at high speed and do things on the automatic pilot, so I was looking for a way to change that. Our focus is to promote rituals of kindness, compassion, and love, aiming to offer our consumers all over the world more meaningful moments that help transform their lives.

From the moment we decide to create a new collection, we invest a lot of time to understand the culture and beliefs to respectfully bring a collection story to life. When we come across a ritual that is new to us, we first do research on all aspects of this ritual. ‘What is the origin of the ritual, what ingredients were used and why?’ Then we introduce these ingredients to our perfumers and together we translate this into a collection of luxury products. Our passion for the region and its rituals comes from a good heart, from a place of respect and admiration.” 

2. Being patient and never giving up

“The first eight years of our existence were extremely tough. There was no social media and we had to build the brand customer by customer. It took years to get to a little bit of traction. But luckily, we kept patiently believing in the idea and that resulted in amazing growth and over the last 10 years, the brand has been flying.
Building a brand is about passion, creativity, and lots of perseverance. In the first years, we lost a lot of money, but we never gave up. It took us four years to get from one to two stores and now we’re opening about four stores a week all over the world. In those first difficult years, we were just as happy as we are today. Happiness is all about being able to live your dream and doing the things you believe in with great people surrounding you.”

3. Staying close to the product

“We have a strong team of people working in our innovation department and I am very much involved because it is one of my favourite aspects of my job: helping to create and design products and stores.
“I’m very passionate about the brand and it’s amazing to work with people who believe in it, trying to make a difference with beautiful and innovative products and experiences. I spend at least 50% of my time at the creative side of our company. It’s my passion and it gives me energy. I find inspiration in travelling as well as exploring other cultures, meeting new people, and visiting retail shops in every corner of the world. I am one of those people who likes to go shopping. Which is an important part of my job; to recognise what people like and what is going on trend-wise.
To stay on top I have to understand, better than anyone else, what our customers want. And the best part of my job is that I am able to realise this with a team of very talented and creative people. We have lots of fun and we are very passionate about creating beautiful and innovative products. We still have thousands of ideas.  When we come across an ancient story, we first do research on all aspects. ‘What is the origin of this belief, culture or tradition, what ingredients were linked to it and why?’ Then we introduce these ingredients to our perfumers. Together we translate this into a collection of luxury products.  When launching a collection, two years of research and development go into this process.”

4. Not underestimating the power of bricks and mortar

“We invest significantly in our stores, because it’s the epi-centre of our company. This is the place where people can truly experience our brand and enjoy luxury in all its senses. Moreover, we introduce about 200 new products every year and a unique store experience is crucial as we’ve learned that this helps create a connection with our customers. People fall in love with our philosophy and products because of our most valuable marketing asset – our stores.  
We always try to create an unforgettable experience in our stores, welcoming you with a warm cup of tea, followed by a hand massage at our water island. We also offer our customers the time and peace of mind to learn about the different products at their own pace in our stores.  

The travel-retail industry is also an important channel for us when it comes to building our brand across the world, as this is where people discover new brands.

5. Focusing on innovation & new ideas

“We believe there’s an absolute need in this modern day and age for more relaxation. Not only physically but also mentally. We even believe it all starts in the mind. Which is precisely why we consider it an absolute necessity to offer a space where people can relax and recharge their mind and body.
This is why we created The Mind Oasis, a unique concept that offers the world’s most effective, science-based techniques for mental relaxation to help you recharge and reset your mind and body. It’s a place where you can get a taste of mental relaxation and experience what it can do for you.”

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