We started Urban Rituelle in 1999 from our home, selling handmade soaps at a local Sydney market. Fast-forward to 18 years later and we are proud to be a successful, award-winning international business that is 100% Australian-made. It’s a great feeling knowing that we’ve created some truly wonderful products over the years that make our customers feel amazing!
Here we take a trip down memory lane, sharing some highlights from over the last 18 years…
See the world, fall in love & start a business!
After initially meeting in southern Turkey and exploring the fragrant filled bazaars of the East, Leanne and Scott returned to Sydney in 1995 filled with inspiration to produce and sell a unique range of vegetable soaps, candles and body care products. Their travelling experiences throughout the Middle East, India and South East Asia restored an appreciation of life's simpler pleasures and this experience was translated into a desire to create a range of products that enhance and celebrate everyday rituals.
What was born was a little brand called Urban Rituelle, emerging from the creative pool of
an inner city Sydney designers market. At the time, Leanne was studying a Bachelor of Visual Arts in Ceramics under Japanese ceramicist Mitsuo Shoji. Leanne has always drawn visual inspiration for Urban Rituelle collections from her love of art, travel, fashion, textile design and graphic imagery.
The success of the product launch led Scott to take the plunge and leave his employment within the film industry, to pursue with Leanne, their common goal of establishing a company with international brand status.
It all started with soap!
The first product released was our popular Vegetable Soap range, which was first sold at Glebe markets in Sydney, in 1996. It wasn’t long before the demand for the product outgrew the facilities in the family home, where each soap was hand wrapped and packaged, and the timber display units lovingly assembled. This range remains one of our most popular products today, with 12 beautifully-scented fragrances currently available.
From the simple soap bar, over the years our luxurious collections have grown to include premium soy candles, fragrance diffuser sets, lip balms, hand & body care, body washes, organic products, personal fragrances, organic cocoa butter soaps and men’s aromatherapy skincare.
Originally, simple and minimal packaging was designed for each product, but now, as much time is devoted to researching and developing packaging concepts, as new fragrances and formulations.
Celebrating Life’s Simple Pleasures
Each and every collection released over the years has truly embodied the Urban Rituelle philosophy of celebrating the very simplest of life’s pleasures to heal the heart, nourish the skin and recharge the body. To this day, our collections of indulgent bathing and home fragrance products have always offered a welcome escape from the everyday.
Trade Fairs... so many Trade Fairs!
Exciting new products, fresh packaging and fabulous fragrances have always been launched twice annually, to coincide with buying seasons. That means countless hours of planning, set up and of course, lots of caffeine! It’s always a great feeling to launch a collection after months of planning, and even better when the collections are loved by our customers!
All product and packaging is designed in-house, headed by Leanne as Creative Director. The designs are unique, original and innovative, with a modern Australian influence. The products are carefully formulated in Australia using the highest-quality ingredients available, ensuring a premium standard that exceeds our customers’ expectations. The rigorous testing procedures and stringent quality controls we have implemented are the reason Urban Rituelle is synonymous with Australian-made, exceptional quality.
Establishing international brand status: Australian made with global appeal...
Urban Rituelle products are currently distributed to over 1000 homewares and lifestyle boutiques Australia wide. Today we have established distribution in international markets including New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Leanne and Scott regularly travel overseas to ensure they are aware of overseas trends and forecasts. Significant time was spent in Asia as well as the U.S., where they visited the best retailers in the world, researching new design concepts. Their travels also include visits to their overseas stockists and distributors. The result of this exposure is an Australian Made product with global appeal.
The growth over 18 years, Leanne accredits to listening to customers and researching the market.
“We have listened to our retail customers needs and watched the local Australian gift industry grow and develop into the sophisticated market it is today. It is because of this that we have grown from our humble beginnings, developing a business out of our own home, to a company that supplies our products worldwide.”
Greatest highlights and challenges...
Anthropologie, one of Leanne’s favourite retailers in the USA, placed an enormous order for their 200 stores nationally, which confirmed that we were manufacturing an Australian made product with global appeal. Winning Best Product in 2014, 2015, 2017 & Best Stand 2016 at the Reed Gift Fairs has also been a massive highlight!
Interestingly, the greatest challenge we have faced was exporting our products to the USA, which meant coordinating 80 USA sales reps, managing different time zones, and exhibiting at 8 USA trade fairs annually, all while running our Australian operations with a 6 month old & 2 year old. AND then the GFC hit! This sure taught us how to get back up, once you've been knocked down!
Environmental & Corporate Responsibility
At Urban Rituelle, we have always been firmly against animal testing. All of our products are proudly 100% cruelty free and are never tested on animals. Our products contain sustainable, natural ingredients that are ethically sourced and harvested.
Urban Rituelle is an environmentally aware company. Taking care over our ingredients and packaging is always fundamental in the development process. Products are manufactured using packaging that can be recycled, including PET plastic bottles, glass bottles and cardboard box packaging.
We are continuously researching new methods for manufacturing and we are committed to adapting environmentally friendly techniques even though they are often more costly. We have also begun the process of reformulating our existing products as new ingredients become available in our manufacturing process.
Here’s to all the memories, and creating many more!
Thank you for being part of this amazing journey so far – we can’t wait to see what the next 18 years have in store!
Scott & Leanne xx