Interview: Founder of Rituals Raymond Cloosterman on their first South East Asia Flagship Store

Rituals is a renowned brand that epitomises the art of slowing down and finding joy in everyday moments. Helming from the Netherlands, their primary focus is to give you the sense of tranquility and relaxation at-home—offering a range of luxurious products and experiences that promote well-being and mindfulness. Their exquisite collection includes body care, home fragrances, and skincare, all infused with carefully selected ingredients and captivating scents. Rituals encourages individuals to create personal rituals that transform daily routines into meaningful ceremonies and to expand on that, we speak to founder Raymond Cloosterman for more. Finding a home for their first ever South East Asia flagship store in Mid Valley Megamall, he shares more on the reason behind his brand and what inspires him most.


How did Rituals come to be and what was the reason you started the brand?

RC: Early 2000 I was travelling the world for Unilever searching for new insights to strengthen our presence within the beauty industry. After 10 years of operational jobs, running companies, this was a journey of discovery. Meeting various trend gurus worldwide, shopping in cities all over the world, talking to perfume houses and other inspiring people. During that journey I got an idea to start my own lifestyle brand with a completely new perspective on beauty. That’s where I decided to resign and start Rituals Cosmetics. A brand anchored around the idea to change every day routines into more meaningful rituals. Based on the insight that we are living life more and more on automatic pilot and people have forgotten to enjoy little things in life. That is basically where Rituals Cosmetics wants to make a change. In 2000 we founded the brand with 1 store in Amsterdam. Together with a creative team of professionals from around the world, including an anthropologist and leading perfumers from Paris, I started my mission to transform ordinary products like shower gels, shaving foams and home products into a unique experience, inspired by the wisdom and ancient practices from all over the world.


Today we have over 1000 stand-alone stores in over 36 countries and we are the fastest growing beauty brand.

If you could sum up Rituals in three words, what would it be?

RC: Unforgettable, magical, experience.


We try to live up to these three words both on product level and store level. We’re continuously looking for ways to surprise our customer with new products offering a unique experience, e.g. our unique foaming shower gel. 


And our award-winning stores will always be our number one marketing tool, where we create an unforgettable and welcoming experience and bring our customers through an immersive brand and product discovery journey including water island experience or a hand massage underneath our iconic Sakura tree. 

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One click on your website makes it obvious that Rituals are always thinking of the planet as well—where does this passion come from?

RC: It has been our passion since the beginning to create beautiful and innovative products to help people improve their wellbeing whilst taking care of the planet at the same time. Managing the paradox of creating luxury products while being conscious of the planet too, has always been part of our journey.


At Rituals, we always want our products to be as beautiful as possible, but at the same time, low on materials and recyclable. In order to realize this, it takes a lot of hard work and brainpower to think of sustainable solutions without losing our brand identity and luxury quality. In a way, the B Corp assessment has acted as a catalyst to streamline our efforts and to take on that challenge.

We offer an extensive range of refill products for our body care and home collections. As an example, I am very proud of the refill option for the day-and night creams and our body creams and fragrance sticks. By supporting this eco-chic refill concept, you show you care for the environment. For example, when choosing our renewed Namaste Glow Day Cream refill you reduce your carbon footprint, by saving 74 percent on CO2, 69 percent on energy , 75 percent on water and even reduce 72% waste! The Ritual of Namaste collection truly embodies our belief that respecting the power of nature results in respect for the natural beauty of your skin.


What products do you see Malaysian consumers gravitating towards most?

RC: Our Malaysian consumer base truly resonates with our brand philosophy and is looking for ways to improve their wellbeing with carefully designed products with unique fragrances. It would not surprise you that our worldwide bestseller The Ritual of Sakura is also the nr. 1 favorite collection here. Especially the foaming shower gel. Next to that the first responds on our men’s collection are extremely positive. And lastly, our premium home category has received lots of love, showing a strong growth in the recent years, with the Private Collection as the favorite. People often find moments of escape in their own home and with 4 carefully developed fragrance ranges, this collection has something for everyone.

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Why Malaysia as the location for your first South East Asia store?

RC: I’m very excited to launch in Southeast Asia and it truly marks a new milestone for Rituals. The company is extremely successful in Europe, but we are not there yet in terms of achieving global brand status. Rituals is one of the fastest growing beauty brands in Europe. With over 1000 stores in Europe, it is now time to expand into Asia where I got inspired to start the brand. My dream is to bring our philosophy of slowing down and finding happiness in the smallest of things to different parts of the world and to build a truly global lifestyle movement.


We see a huge market opportunity in Southeast Asia and Malaysia in particular. The beauty and personal care industry in Malaysia is sizeable, fast growing, diverse, and vibrant. Malaysia is an attractive market given the opportunity both among relatively young local consumers as well as being one of the top destinations among international travellers. The retail experience in Malaysia is second to none providing our brand the opportunity to offer the customer a best-in-class omnichannel experience with our unique store concept. Plus, we also observe a big trend in an increasing importance and focus on wellbeing and self-care in general, globally as well as in Malaysia specifically. 


Self-love and self-care for many come in the form of their own comforting skin and body rituals, what would be an example of yours?

RC: My favourite personal rituals: I start the day with an ice-cold shower, it is a true wake-up call for my body and mind. Playing a lot of sports is also a way of relaxing for me, for instance playing tennis or a round of golf and after that, a nice sauna. But the best way for me to unwind is having a nice get together with my wife or best friends after lighting all the candles in the house and the fireplace.


Do you have any tips on how others can build their own rituals at home?

RC: Just like our philosophy, I would advise to literally try finding happiness in the smallest of things. It can be as easy as taking a moment of reflection when brewing your first coffee in the morning or, like I do, light all candles when you come home after a long day of work. Find what makes you happy, try to incorporate that and be grateful for it every day. 


What would you recommend to a first time user of the brand?

RC: If I had to choose one product that everyone should try at least once in their life, it would definitely be our signature foaming shower gel: the product that started it all. The unique gel formula that transforms into a soothing foam when coming in contact with water is the best way to experience a moment of relaxation. 

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When it comes to a collection, The Ritual of Sakura is our worldwide best-seller. Inspired by the Japanese tradition of Hanami, The Ritual of Sakura inspires you to find the beauty in every moment. Celebrate each day as a new beginning with the delicate scent of cherry blossom and nourishing rice milk. For the optimal experience, go for the classic Rituals 4-step routine. Experience the delicate softness of the cherry blossom on your skin as you massage in the Foaming Shower Gel. Next, get rid of the past and create space for a new beginning by renewing your skin with the Sugar Body Scrub. Then, savour the moment as a reminder of your new beginning while treating your skin with the Body Cream. And lastly, imagine sitting under the cherry blossom tree while the petals fall down around you and spray the Hair and Body Mist.


What has been your favourite product to incorporate into the home and why?

RC: That would be the recently launched rose gold candle from our Private Collection with the scent of Suede Vanilla. And also the Ritual of Sakura Parfum d’Interieur, the room spray. After an extensive cooking session and cleaning up the kitchen I spray 4/5 times and everything is perfect again.


All about creating the best, most relaxed experience at home, where do you find your inspiration to create such products?

RC: 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 actually likes to go shopping. Which is in fact an important part of my job; to recognize 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 realize this with a team of very talented and creative people. We have lot’s of fun and we are very passionate about creating beautiful and innovative products.