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Business of Ritual, with Ritual

Updated: Sep 7, 2022

Harvard Business School article: Rituals Strengthen Couples. Here’s Why They’re Good for Business, Too appeared on my LinkedIn feed and it reminded me of a special journey I spent a long period contemplating and researching and testing out the market in a quick and short time. First and foremost, let's not be confused between 'habitual routine' and 'ritual'. Ritual is far deeper than habits and it's with profound intentions and virtue-oriented actions embedded.

We all know how powerful great (or bad) habits are in our daily life. The entire world has been highlighting its importance and gearing towards building well-being by having all the good habits routinely, and wellness in every aspect of our life. The industry experts have been expecting the constant growth of the ‘mindfulness’ industry since 2012 which includes yoga, meditation, and health & wellness businesses. The meditation and mindfulness industry alone was already generating a billion dollars in the U.S. (2015) and including the wellness and spa industry was over 3.7 trillion dollars at 9.2% of annual growth. Well-being has been a global movement and a keyword especially among many businesses from startups to corporate, prestigious business schools, and Silicon Valley. Then 'ritual' came along as a hot topic in the mindfulness and wellness industry.

A mindful lifestyle from a consumer’s perspective: I woke up and brewed a cup of Mindful Lotus tea ($6 for 20 bags). On the subway, I loaded the Headspace app on my iPhone and followed a guided mindfulness exercise ($13 a month for premium content). Later in the day, I dropped by Mndfl, a meditation studio in Greenwich Village ($20 for a 45-minute class), I made my bed and set the Saje aroma diffuser ($89-130) and Calm sound app ($60 a year) on.

Businesses started using the power of habits at an organizational level for a healthier working environment and better productivity. To add the value of ritual in solidarity with business as an additional component requires mindful attention and humane strategy. However, when it comes to running a business of 'ritual' is much more complicated than what it looks like from the distance, from the consumer's perspective.

Mindfulness in business (by existing business case): Arianna Huffington runs a mindfulness conference, a “GPS for the soul” app and a mindfulness corner of her Huffington Post. Chip Wilson, the boss of lululemon, a seller of yoga gear, has set up a website,, that urges people to turn off their brains for 60 seconds by visualizing a dot. (“Power down, power up, and power forward.”). Google offers internal meditation related course of “search inside yourself” “neural self-hacking” and “managing your energy”.

While I was visiting Korea back in the summer of 2017, I and my team at Mind Design Inc. came up with the ritual business idea because mindfulness business was so relevant to the foundation of Mind Design Inc. and I personally had been working on the social campaign of #1thing1day #OTOD with my community group, REbbon International, which encourages global young leaders to do healthy and mindful actions on daily basis. Everything was very timely and we created Mind Ritual with 2.5 million (Korean won) of budget, the new product brand line that is dedicated to supporting and promoting a lifestyle with healthy rituals.

We all knew how significantly rituals affect individuals and communities and how much our modern world desperately needed, but the language we would use and barriers in conceptualization to approach potential markets and people who were not associated with any wellness activities or religious and spiritual backgrounds and interests was extremely challenging, especially in largely multi-cultural societies. So, I started leading my team through our own ritual to explore and find the answers of how to produce and operate 'rituals' in our business products and services; every Tuesday and Thursday at 1 pm was not a meeting but our ritual group discussion for an hour, the spiritual journey in branding Mind Ritual. We would start with a minute of meditation to calm ourselves then brainstormed through open discussions about life, religion, habits, modern pains and struggles, candid beliefs, and experiences that each of us had on a personal level. The deeper our discussions got into, the harder we felt to tackle 'ritual' as a business item because we had to be cautious and respectful, wise enough to deliver sophisticated meanings to audiences and potential customers in an easy and versatile manner, yet resourceful and informative enough to show the depth and authenticity of rituals.

Over the 12 months, we were able to examine the current status of markets, their openness and adaptability through products and brand exhibitions, and other events and meet potential customers by opening up higher accessibility for the public with beginner's meditation workshops, with not much of tangible outcomes, unfortunately. The communication gaps to deliver what we defined and valued in 'rituals' through businesses were not crystal clearly reduced. However, huge parts of the world are still in discovery and examination. So, stay tuned for better and more influential businesses of rituals that are sustainable and genuine for all humans and living beings.
'Rituals' are in re-formation for our generation.


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