Rituals and KLM launch powerful partnership with inflight exclusive range from new Amsterdam Collection

NETHERLANDS. Lifestyle label Rituals and airline KLM have announced a partnership that will begin with an exclusive inflight range of cosmetics.

Officially launched on Friday, the collaboration sees the coming together of two respected Dutch brands. Both companies said that the plan is to continue the partnership beyond this initial project.

Scroll down for an exclusive interview with the CEOs of both KLM and Rituals.

Rituals CEO Raymond Cloosterman (left) and KLM CEO Pieter Elbers (right) announced a new partnership between their two companies on Friday. Held at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the launch event revealed a KLM inflight-exclusive range from the Rituals Amsterdam Collection.

The collection

The new range will be available exclusively onboard KLM flights. Launching on 28 October, it comprises a hand foam in economy class, and a hand & body lotion, hair gel and body mist in business class. Travellers in business class will also receive a face moisturiser and lip balm set.

The aim of the collection, said the two companies, is to allow customers to arrive at their destination “feeling fresh, relaxed and ready to explore the world.”

The products are Rituals’ first releases from the Amsterdam Collection. Developed as part of the partnership with KLM, the range is inspired by the 17th century, when Dutch explorers first began to travel around Asia.

The key notes in the fragrance reflect this coming together of cultures: Japanese yuzu meets Dutch tulip. Yuzu is said to help slow premature ageing and boost the skin’s detoxification. Tulip is said to have a calming and soothing effect on dry and sensitive skin.

The two companies explained: “All of the products in this line were designed to create the feeling of ultimate relaxation – both during and after your flight.”

The limited-edition collection will be available in KLM’s amenity sets.

The launch

Underlining the importance that both companies give to the partnership, the collection was launched last Friday (12 October) with a press event at Amsterdam’s famous Rijksmuseum.

Francine Hijmans, an expert from the Rijksmuseum, opened the event with an explanation of the concept behind the packaging. Its blue and white design was inspired by The Lid Vase, an example of Delft Blue pottery from circa 1700. Delft Blue is a historic style of ceramics that emerged after the Dutch exploration of Asia; it was the nation’s interpretation of coveted Chinese porcelain.

“I think there are a lot of similarities between our companies. We both operate internationally, we both put a lot of emphasis on our customer experience, hoping to give our customers an experience that lasts for a while in their minds” – KLM CEO Pieter Elbers.

Rituals CEO Raymond Cloosterman and KLM CEO Pieter Elbers then took to the stage to introduce the collection as well as the wider partnership. It is based, they explained, on shared values and a shared desire to improve the passenger experience.

Next came a modern dance performance, through which the design of the packaging was revealed.

A striking modern dance performance, which represented the coming together of East and West, introduced the Amsterdam Collection. As reflected in the backdrop, the fragrance brings together Japanese yuzu and Dutch tulip.

The Moodie Davitt Report was on location as the sole international media in attendance. We spoke with the two CEOs about the creation of the Amsterdam Collection, and how a chance cup of coffee marked the start of this dynamic partnership. 

The Moodie Davitt Report: What brought Rituals and KLM together?

KLM CEO Pieter Elbers: We ran into each other by chance at a business event and decided to have a cup of coffee together. We had an initial discussion, exchanged business ideas and so on, and we concluded, hey, maybe we could do something together. That was the start of it, and from there we developed the product which is here today.

How do the two companies complement each other?

Elbers: I think there are a lot of similarities between our companies. We both operate internationally, we both put a lot of emphasis on our customer experience, hoping to give our customers an experience that lasts for a while in their minds.

Clearly the experience and the knowledge of Rituals when it comes to making quality products was very appealing to us. And our international customer base and international exposure is appealing for Rituals. And we both share a Dutch history and a Dutch connection and with that we have a wonderful match.

Rituals CEO Raymond Cloosterman: There are a lot of complementary elements. We’re both international. We’re both into giving people a wonderful experience. We’re both offering top-level products. So if you look at this and you look at the company values, which are quite similar, it’s a very good base from which to start working together.

How did you go about creating the collection?

Cloosterman: When we decided to work together, we wanted to create something very special for this occasion, so we went back to the drawing board and started to look for ancient stories.

We ended up here in the Rijksmuseum (partly because we are both sponsors), and we thought, let’s go back to the 17th century, where ancient Asia met old Europe at the beginning of a very prosperous century for the Netherlands.

We took inspiration from that time frame and came up with ingredients like Yuzu and Tulip and we merged them into an amazing fragrance made by a few of the leading perfumers in the world. That was the basis.

Then we came back here into the museum, looking for inspiration for design from that same time frame. And we ended up with The Lid Vase, part of which is now used as the design on the special Amsterdam Collection.

Elbers: The vase itself is from the 17th century. It’s a time when Dutch sailors were exploring the world and finding their way into Asia, and also in a way a time when East and West were meeting. The vase is Delft Blue and the design is taken from an Asian (Japanese) concept. All this is very applicable to our companies, where people travel, where people have an experience, where cultures are meeting. So a lot of thoughts and stories are coming together here.

“The fact that the two of us are together here means it’s more than just the amenity bags, or just some personal care products. It really is, for us, the start of a partnership.” – Pieter Elbers.

Where do you see the partnership going?

Elbers: Today is really the start. And the fact that the two of us are together here, the fact that we’ve launched with an event like this, it means it’s more than just the amenity bags, or just some personal care products. It really is, for us, the start of a partnership.

As I said on stage, we’ll be opening our new lounge next year at Schiphol Airport. That’s going to be our new flagship lounge, coinciding with our centennial, so it’s very meaningful for us. In the lounge, people want to feel at ease. 65% of our customers are connecting at Schiphol, a huge number of them are coming from all over the world and connecting here, so if we want them to feel at home, we should let them feel at home. And the experience of Rituals helps us to do that.

Cloosterman: This is a gorgeous fragrance and we’re very proud of it, and we want to do more with it. Maybe onboard, maybe in the lounge… there are many, many more opportunities and we are very motivated to take this into a whole collection – a full Amsterdam Collection – and we’re working on that.

Rituals in travel retail

Rituals is a Dutch brand, but it was created with a global mindset and with an aim of becoming truly global. In recent years, the brand has built on its strong presence in Europe with expansion into the Americas and, more recently, into Asia and the Middle East.

Rituals, explained the company’s Global Travel Retail Director Neil Ebbutt, has always seen itself as more than simply a beauty or cosmetics brand. “We talk about it as a luxury lifestyle brand, which can connect with many people,” he said.

Ebbutt also stressed that Rituals is “not here just to push product off shelf”. The brand philosophy encourages customers to take a little time to themselves; to indulge in the calming, relaxing ‘rituals’ from which the brand takes its name.

Rituals believes that this concept is highly relevant to the modern frequent traveller. As such, travel retail has become an important channel, and Rituals’ approach is both targeted and holistic.

“We hope to slow your journey down and make that journey a little bit more special.”

“We’re here to try and connect with the traveller on every leg of their journey,” explained Ebbutt. “To create touchpoints whenever they’re travelling… from the airport to the hotel, on an aeroplane or a cruise… We hope to slow your journey down and make that journey a little bit more special.”

Another important aspect of the Rituals philosophy is the idea of affordable luxury. “We’ve challenged the status quo,” Ebbutt explained. “Why does everything that looks or has the perception of luxury need to be expensive? In terms of our store concept and our product offer we think we touch the world of luxury but it’s there at an everyday affordable price.”

On the KLM partnership, Ebbutt commented: “We’re a Dutch brand. We have our roots here. And it’s important for us to be connected with other iconic Dutch brands.

“KLM is a beautiful airline. We’re proud to be able to announce the partnership.”


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