The Interview: House of Kalmar founder Karen Ruimy
The wellness industry experienced a huge boost during the pandemic as consumers looked for ways to improve their overall health. According to research from McKinsey and Company, the global wellness market size is at over $1.5 trillion dollars and this figure is only set to increase over the next few years – the same study also found that four in 10 consumers consider wellness to be a top priority. Although wellness is seen as a relatively new concept by some, its roots can actually be traced back to 3000,1,500 BC. Ayurveda (which was originally started as an oral tradition) is one of the world’s oldest healing systems. It strives to create harmony between mind, body and spirit and each regimen is tailored to each person’s needs as its theory states that all areas of life can impact an individual’s health. The belief that harmony can be attained by all is what inspired former banker Karen Ruimy to launch the House of Kalmar and Kalmar Wellbeing in 2019 and 2022 respectively.
Ruimy’s desire for solitude while working in the corporate world of finance led to a passion for spiritual wellbeing. “I started feeling energies and had metaphysical experiences that made me want to learn more about spirituality, my connection to the world, my soul and the messages I was feeling and receiving,” she says. Soon after devoting her life to her soul’s calling, Ruimy quit her career in finance to explore the greater connection she could sense and decided to dedicate herself to spiritual healing, writing, dance, music and philanthropy.
The inspiration for launching Kalmar was centred on self-connection. “On my spiritual journey, I came to realise that if we want to feel a sense of pure joy, calm, inner peace or (self) love, then we need to deeply connect to ourselves as well as the present moment,” Ruimy says. Kalmar was born out of a desire to empower consumers with the tools to help them connect with themselves and set intentions on how they want to feel. Ruimy describes Kalmar as “a tool to instantly lift your energy and mood.” She believes that Joy, Calm, Peace and Love guide every element of our existence and each of the brand’s signature scents reflect this.
Each scent was created in partnership with world-renowned perfumer Tom Kosmola. “I wanted to truly capture our four emotional soulstates and deliver instant mood changing effects, “ Ruimy said. With a mix of natural extracts and synthetically safe fragrance compounds, each individual ingredient was chosen for its purpose, potency and energy has been designed to shape consumer’s self-care rituals. Each product in the brand’s offering awakens the senses, promotes soul connections, enhances the mood and nourishes the skin.
When the brand first launched, they were targeting a vibrant cross-section of individuals from all over the world of every age, from every culture. “What our demographic shares is a potential belief in the power of intuitive listening and a willingness to invest in their own emotional wellbeing - they are what Kalmar calls ‘the modern goddess’,” Ruimy said. Ruimy has been able to draw on her own spiritual journey to understand what consumers want from a wellness experience. “It’s been wonderful to create a movement of wellness that makes a difference in people’s lives. I believe that people all over the world want to feel complete and understood. The concept of intention setting has resonated with a lot of our customers as they look for ways to improve the quality of their lives through wellbeing,” she said.
All of the treatments Kalmar offers have been created to balance, harmonise and nourish energy through the power of mindfulness, specialised massage techniques and alternative therapies. “It’s a sensory journey that starts with a guided meditation followed by visualisation and intention setting,” Ruimy said. Treatments can be experienced in 60 or 90 minutes and the customer can decide how often they feel they need them, which all depends on the energy balancing needs of the individual.
Kalmar’s ethos is centred on empowering people which is why they have created a community that is a safe space for people to go when they need support finding a moment of Joy, Calm, Peace or Self (Love). “We also encourage our community to come and experience a full energy balancing experience at The House of Kalmar and to use our energy balancing products every day by setting an intention using daily rituals and mantras that promote self-connection,” Ruimy said. The brand also offers a variety of free tools to help their community connect to the four soulstates through blogs, meditation videos and social media posts – they also have a team on hand to answer any questions community members may have during their wellness journeys.
As consumers gravitate towards products and services that promote mindfulness, it’s clear to see that the realignment of mind, body and soul remains a priority in a post-pandemic world. “I still think we are in a period where people are lost. It’s difficult to truly know who we are and what we want, so realigning the mind, body and soul is the pathway to truly discover yourself and understand your needs, emotions and desires,” Ruimy said. Ruimy defines wellness as “anything that adds value to your being.” It can be incorporated into our daily lives depending on our own personal preferences. “My top tip is to listen to your body and relearn self-love in any form through an activity that will fulfil you deeply - yoga, meditation, long walks and dance are all great practices but you need to find the right one for you!" she says.
The wellness trend is here to stay – there are multiple gaps in the market for brands like Kalmar who want to understand the unique needs and expectations of consumers. “The past couple of years have been extremely difficult and they’ve made us all realise the importance of taking care of ourselves in a way that goes beyond the physical - people’s consciousness is evolving to a holistic vision of their lives. They are slowly but surely discovering life’s true meaning,” Ruimy said.
Ruimy’s advice for budding wellness entrepreneurs is to believe in the idea or vision they are bringing to the table. “The wellness industry is crucial to people’s lives so if you know your idea will help people, just go for it! Stay true to yourself and trust your intuition and don’t second guess yourself. The most important thing I learned when creating Kalmar is that I am the creator of my own reality. I can decide what I want to do, who I want to be and most importantly, how I want to feel.”