L.RAPHAEL is a luxury brand rooted in “Seven Foundations of Beauty”— nutrition, activity, relaxation, aesthetics, medical, age management, and stress management. The company first launched its vision of science-driven beauty in the form of spas in Geneva, New York, Beverly Hills, Cannes, and Tel Aviv, then expanded into an eponymous skincare line.
When you visit an L.RAPHAEL spa you’re immersed in cutting-edge, non-invasive beauty treatments that feature state-of-the-art oxygen and ultrasound technology. Feeling pampered and plumped, you can then bring L.RAPHAEL’s products home with you to continue their beautifying effects.
I spoke to L.RAPHAEL president Ronit Raphael about her newest product collection, Green Caviar Oxygen, and asked her how she grew a devoted clientele around the globe.
How is L.Raphael Beauty Spa different from other spas?
Ronit Raphael: L.RAPHAEL is about the science of beauty. We are a unique concept where, under one roof, our guests will enjoy the most effective high-technology treatments, spa services, hair salon, and mani/pedi treatments. For our exclusive guests, we do not hesitate to go beyond normal care and provide them with the attention of up to three therapists to ensure that within a minimum of time they can benefit from the same results as a 60-minute care program.
How did you develop your Seven Foundations of Beauty?
I live by the Seven Foundations of Beauty, and it’s in L.RAPHAEL’s DNA to educate guests as to what is best for them through scientifically-based information. It’s only with a holistic approach that you can act on preventive aging or take the proper measures when you want to repair. Stress and unsuitable diets came really damage your appearance.
What made you decide to enter the skincare market?
My story. When I got burned by a chemical peel, I promised myself to not let unprofessionalism take advantage of the needs and dreams of people. I dedicated my life to finding solutions to skin problems with the best team of scientists I could gather. All while sharing the same vision based on the seven foundations and their passion for their work.
Where do you see the brand growing and selling in the next five years?
London, the Middle East, Far East, and probably a few new locations in Europe and the US.
How do people’s skincare and aesthetic priorities differ between LA, Tel Aviv, Geneva, and New York?
It’s a question of time. In the U.S. our guests do not have time to spend on their care programs; therefore, we had to learn to master time management and provide them with as short as 15-minute treatments that would normally take up to an hour. That’s why we will have up to three therapists taking care of the same guest at the same time.
How did you develop and formulate the Green Caviar Oxygen collection that is coming out next year?
I developed this product with Professor Paolo Giacomoni who had previously worked for Estée Lauder for 15 years. We wanted to make something with caviar but knew our customer wasn’t really interested in a product made of fish. Then this new ingredient, green caviar made from algae, came to our laboratory, to which we added oxygen and our most important ingredient, LEC-40. We managed to balance all of those ingredients and they worked together extremely well. Our formula was a combination of insights from our professor, our needs as a brand, and our laboratory.
How is operating spas different from a skincare line from a business perspective?
They are completely different. Our skincare line developed out of our treatments in our medical spa. I started the first medical spa 32 years ago, and when I opened, my clients asked me “How can I maintain my skin after this treatment?” So together with our professor, we developed products that would specifically address their problems. Initially we had three collections in our skincare line, now we have seven. We have two types of customers, teenagers and people younger than 25 years old who suffer from acne, and people above age 38 that feel signs of aging and want to keep their skin younger because they are losing collagen and experiencing sagging under their chin. They don’t want to have surgery but want to keep their skin youthful and glowing.
Did your spa business fund your skincare line or did you seek outside investment to launch?
I never took any investors—our spa and skincare business both grew as an organic business. Every time we open a new spa it’s because we can afford to open a new one. We don’t want to create a new skincare product every six months—we think that’s shallow and confusing to our client—so we add something new every two to three years.
What is your overall growth strategy?
Right now, we’re looking to open two to three more spa locations in Europe and by the end of 2025 we will probably be in six or seven more locations. I’m currently in Cannes at a trade show and today we’ve had requests to open two doors in Russia and one in Ukraine, but that’s not our immediate goal. We want to stay exclusive and a premium brand to be both educators and therapists at the same time.
What has been your biggest lesson as a business owner so far?
Nothing comes fast and everything needs to take time. I started my business 30 years ago and now I know everything needs time to develop. Education is the key not just for our client but also for your team—to grow people around you is a key to success. You also need to be honest with your guests and give them an honest answer when they come in. You need to be strong enough to say, “No we can’t give you a miracle,” but instead teach them that if they maintain consistency and take their time, they will see results.