Beauty Brand Building: Penny Grivea, MD at Rituals, Talks UK Growth Plans

Penny Grivea

Penny Grivea

Premium lifestyle brand, Rituals, is better known in Europe than the UK, but Penny Grivea, Rituals Managing Director, intends to change all that.

Having spent her career in beauty retail, PR and marketing, including Selfridges and Harrods, Penny believes the time is right to spread Rituals’ particular style of holistic beauty to UK consumers.

I recently caught up with Penny at the launch of Karma, the summer limited edition collection of bath and home fragrancing products.

How would you describe the Rituals brand and where it fits into the beauty markets?

Rituals is a premium lifestyle brand and our aim is to offer customers the ability to disconnect from their everyday stresses and routine. Customers love experiences and convenience: they love to be pampered and to slow down.

The company’s culture is reflected in everything we do. I think it’s a perfect fit into the beauty market as it’s a holistic brand that has bath & body, home fragrances, men’s, fragrances, skincare and make-up.

Soulwear (loungewear) does well for Rituals, even though it’s not a key category. It is an important focus and shows we are more than just a beauty brand.

What are your hero products and why?

We don’t really have one hero product. We sell a Ritual. So if you like a particular smell, we have something from bath & home to car fragrance in the same fragrance.

Our shower foams are our cult products as they are very innovative.

Rituals was the first brand to use the specific pump technology, the first to have a shower foam that changes from a gel to a shower foam and the first brand to link bath & body with home fragrances.

Customers love our body creams, fragrance sticks, candles and hand creams which have beautiful packaging and accessible prices. We conducted a market study and amongst competitors we ranked number one in sensorial experiences.

Who buys Rituals?

Rituals is for every age. Our core customer is 25-45, but because of our price points, we have customers as young as 16.

Which are Rituals biggest markets?

The Benelux, Germany, Spain and Sweden are markets where we have over 480 stand alone stores and a successful business growing by 20% in 2015.

The importance of the emerging markets like the UK, US, France and Switzerland, are instrumental to the global success of the brand. These markets are growing at a very fast rate. So watch this space!

What are your plans for Rituals in the UK in terms of distribution?

London is a key focus and we’re looking to open another 5-10 stand alone stores.

We are also looking to streamline our wholesale business as less is more. I want our teams to focus their energies on the initiatives and lines of business that drive turnover and profit.

Will you be introducing in-store treatments into any of your accounts?

We have launched a beautiful spa in our gorgeous store in Amsterdam Leidsestraat, which is doing really well. In-store treatments is something I would like to introduce in the future.

I hear that Rituals’ holistic ethos extends to its employees and working practices. Can you explain this and why you think it’s the way forward?

What attracted me to the brand was the quality of the product and the people I met and work with on a daily basis. Everyone in our headquarters in Amsterdam lives and breathes the brand and it’s the same formula I use in the UK.

We have fantastic products and have brought on some passionate people and that is key to success. We want to ensure that people are happy because if they’re happy in themselves they will be happy at work and hence be the best they can be and deliver.

Rituals has a Me-Time policy where our head office staff are encouraged to spend time out of the office in an inspiring environment of their choice, where they can be strategic, look at the bigger picture, ensure they are on track on big projects and look at there they need to break or bend the rules.

If you want to lead the way, you need to do things differently.

I also encourage everyone to do one thing a week that frightens them because that’s how they grow.

What is your vision for Rituals?

My vision is for the brand to be a household name in the next 5 years by opening more stand alone stores in key locations which will help brand awareness.We will build strong relationships with our key wholesale partners to make Rituals desirable and more in tune with our customer wants.

We intend to lead the way in the “mindfulness” arena.