Leanne Haining is the creative driver behind the brand & responsible for the creation of Urban Rituelle's divine product collections. She works passionately with the team to develop the brand's new products & is intimately involved with every facet of the process; from concept creation to developing the luxe formulations, designing packaging & the all-important fragrance blending (yes, she is the wonder woman behind unforgettable scents like Mandarin Basil & Lime AND Vanilla, Lavender & Geranium)
The creative energy & exquisite attention to detail invested into each & every product is what gives this Australian owned & made brand its unique and distinctive edge. Here, Leanne chats about the process involved with creating Urban Rituelle products & how she approaches the creative journey.
When creating a brand-new product collection, where do you find your inspiration?
Leanne: I am inspired by my love for nature & the environment, travel, art & design. I am always considering how colours & textures work harmoniously together in the landscape, as well as how colours & fragrance can influence our mood & home environment. Our ranges are designed to celebrate the simple but lovely things that we experience in our everyday lives, our daily rituals. When creating a collection we always ask ourselves, does this make the end user feel-good!
Our latest collection Natural Remedy is inspired by my desire for natural and sustainable bath, body, home fragrance & skin care products that are better for you and better for the environment. I am passionate about making positive steps to protect our precious planet.
Little things like remembering to “Take 3 for the Sea”, saying no to plastic bags, using a keep cup instead of a takeaway coffee cup are little rituals I have made for myself as part of my own sustainability journey. We are embracing our responsibility as a brand and using our voice to encourage others to make changes towards protecting our planet. Every shift, no matter how big or small, can make the world of difference. We all have a responsibility to protect our planet and can constantly challenge ourselves to do better.
How do you decide which products to put into a new collection?
Leanne: The product mix is an all-important decision. We start by thinking about what products work well with the story behind the range & then give consideration to what's emerging in the market; what trends are happening overseas as well as here in Australia. Another important aspect of the decision is the feedback we receive from our customers - we look at what they are currently loving and also what they're requesting. This is incredibly valuable as ultimately; we're creating for them!
How often does Urban Rituelle release new products?
Leanne: We release our new products twice a year to coincide with peak buying periods in the Gift & Homewares industry. The collections are usually ‘launched' at the February & August Gift Fairs each year. 2020 has been very different though, as we didn’t have our August trade fair in Melbourne. We also experienced a few interruptions to our supply chain due to covid, so this year we’re mixing things up and launching our new collections just in time for the festive season!
What does the creation process involve & how long does it take to develop a product, from start to finish?
Leanne: We start thinking about our next range the minute we release our latest launch! The minute the latest samples are finished, we are already onto thinking about ‘what's next?.'
Timing-wise, from conceptualisation to the launch, we allow about 10 -12 months. We start with the overall concept for the range, then consider the products that suit, taking into consideration market trends & customer feedback. Following that, we work with the colours & designs for our packaging, creating a mood board for each blend. Our Graphic Designer Jodie puts together our ideas into an overall design concept. This gradually evolves over time as we painstakingly rework colours, patterns, fonts, labels & papers until we get to the "aahhh, that's it" moment. Next, we go to work on the fragrances & formulations, testing each new product with the team!
We do stringent testing on all of our formulations & fragrances to make sure that we absolutely love each product. Each product is stability tested for 12 weeks to ensure we are 100% happy with the formulation. Once we have the final packaging concept with the final formulations, we go into production & finally, launch it out to the world!
Are there particular ingredients that you love to work with?
Leanne: We love working with botanical ingredients that are super nourishing & truly benefit the skin. Rosehip, Avocado & Sweet Almond oils as well as Shea Butter are ingredients we turn to again & again because they are such skin wonders! However, we love researching new ingredients that are particularly relevant to a range. We spent a great deal of time choosing the natural & organic Australian ingredients for our Natural Remedy collection. It was so important for us that these ingredients, were natural, safe, Australian & effective.
Your sense of scent must be incredible! How do you ‘design' your fragrances & what is the process involved with creating fragrance blends?
Leanne: We start with the story, thinking about the feelings we want to invoke & the journey we want the scents to take you on. Flourish Organics was all about the natural essential oils & the effect they have on our mood, whereas Seaside Story was inspired by our dream beachside holidays. For our new collection Natural Remedy, it was very important for us to use natural essential oils that enhance your sense of wellbeing. There is an endless variety of scents to work with, so we also seek feedback & look at what our customers are loving at the moment .
What is your favourite part of the creation process?
Leanne: I love the project management involved, starting with the conceptualisation, providing the brief, planning timelines & of course trying out the products & fragrances. I also love seeing the packaging samples arrive for the first time, straight off the printer's press! Of course, the big launch at the Gift Fair is super exciting, as I get to see firsthand our customers reaction to our latest product offerings! Seeing the stand fill up with customers & feel the buzz is a fantastic high. I cannot wait until we get to attend another Gift Fair!!