It is in 1999, during a seminar at the Chinese Pagoda in Paris, that Dutchman Raymond Cloosterman, who then worked for Unilever, had the idea to create a daily, holistic concept inspired from Asian rituals and combining body and home cosmetics.
A range was developed in coherence with the brand’s philosophy: transforming each daily gesture into unique relaxing moments. Today, it counts almost 400 products – body and face care, makeup with precious stones, tea, candles, home perfumes.
If it took several years for the first store set up in Amsterdam to find its own customers, after seven years, the store is now successful, which made it possible to open more and more points of sale over the past few years, first in the Netherlands, and then in Belgium, throughout Europe, in the Middle East, and in Brazil.
Rituals is now present in 25 countries, with more than 400 points of sale and 1,000 stands. The brand also distributes its products through the selective channel, e-commerce, and travel retail – about fifty airports and 4 to 5-star hotels. It has positioned itself as an “affordable luxury brand” and reached a turnover of 250 million euros in 2014.
France has answered the call
Reinforced by an annual 30% growth that confirms the strength of the concept and by the high turnover of its e-store, which already existed in France, Rituals finally decided to try and enter the difficult French market in May 2015, with a first opening on Rue Vieille du Temple, in the Marais quarter of Paris. Two new points of sale were inaugurated at the Italie 2 shopping mall, in the south of the French capital, and in Boulogne, west of Paris.
“We have very positive feedback in France. Our results are much beyond expectations, with a higher turnover than what we had estimated. That is why we have planned to open 12 new wholly-owned stores in Paris and across France in 2016”, Sandrine Mignaux comments. Lyon and Lille are top of the list, and so is the large, 143m2 point of sale under the new canopy of central mall Les Halles, expected for the beginning of April. “We have been widening our ranges with makeup and home clothes, so we intend to open larger areas. None of our future stores will be less than 70m2. It is important for us that all references are gathered in the same place to give a thorough image of our concept”, Sandrine Mignaux explains.
In parallel, the brand is present with a gift offering in all Sephora stores in France, and is negotiating with a department store chain.
The purchase experience in store is one of the main levers of the brand, which combines an environment full of noble, warm materials with a very personalized reception: customers are offered a hand massage and tea. “Empathy and kindness are the main criteria for recruiting our sales force,” Sandrine Mignaux specifies. Word-of-mouth is enhanced by the customer experience and the qualitative and natural positioning of affordable products, and will be facilitated by several publicity events organized throughout the year.