“ Only by realigning the mind, body and soul can we find peace within ourselves. ”
Kalmar is founded by writer, dancer and spiritual healer, Karen Ruimy.
Born in Morocco and raised in Paris, Karen spent eight years working in the finance industry until, at the age of 28, she experienced a spiritual awakening. Since that moment, she has been devoted to her soul’s calling – and that trajectory has carried her through spiritual healing, writing, dance, music and philanthropy.
It’s a trajectory underpinned by a passionate pursuit of self-discovery and wellbeing. Now, in Kalmar, Karen has created a complete wellbeing experience which allows others to access some of what she has made her life’s work - realigning the mind, body and soul through energy and intention-setting, allowing every individual to move forward on their own unique journey to wellbeing.
“I wanted everything about Kalmar to be a mix of luxury, wellness and spirituality. It’s a way of being, a way of seeing life.”
Karen, what does wellbeing mean to you?
Wellbeing is a holistic concept, for me. It starts inside, with really knowing who you are. It’s a connection to your deeper self, to your intuition. From there, you connect to your physical wellbeing, in sacred time for yourself: downtime, solitude, meditation, dancing. The food you choose, the people you choose, the activity you choose. It’s also emotional awareness, spiritual work and possible healing. Everything is part of wellbeing. I don’t think one part is more important than the other, but also when one is not going well, everything goes badly.
What drew you to scent, of all the senses?
Scent was always really important to me. Scents have a potency to disconnect you from the energy you are in and to connect you to something else. If you choose the right one, the effect is amazing. It’s easier than reading a book, or trying to meditate – it’s almost like music, which can lift your spirit in a second. It has been proven that scent can carry you, instantly, to another energy.
How did you go about creating the scents for the soul states?
I spent a month working with a nose, and these scents, the soul states – joy, calm, peace and love – imposed themselves on me. I tried to create different combinations, but it always revolved around these four feelings. So it made sense to me to compose Kalmar around these states, and to allow people to create them for themselves.
Tell me about the scents.
They are based on the most important energies of your life. Joy was the scent I wanted to put on in the morning – it’s the key to having high energy, vibrancy – so we created something very citrusy, with different herbs. Calm is the basis of your stability, and enjoying who you are; we created something with lavender. I said, why don’t we imagine ourselves in Provence, at the end of the day? The sun is coming down, you feel a calmness coming to you. And for Peace, we created the smell of a forest. It’s more about a connection to Mother Earth, to the universe. Love, self love, loving others, was all about flowers, rose, patchouli, hibiscus. Very soft.
We decided to go on this journey with candles, oils, creams. It took me so long to create them because I spent so long on the materials. I wanted people to be able to create rituals, to connect to this energy inside themselves.
How can we set intentions using Kalmar’s scented products?
You have a choice of energy at every moment in your life. You can choose positivity, or you can choose negativity, Society is always pushing you towards negativity, always telling you, ‘you should do this’, but we have the power to stand up for ourselves, and say ‘I’m choosing a positive moment. I’m choosing to be who I am.’
Intention-setting is crucial to Kalmar. All of the products have scents which trigger different energies. They give you the opportunity to create a ritual for yourself – a Calm Shower, or Peace balm for when you are on the train and you need that moment. Intention-setting is really the definition of our products.
What is the inspiration behind Kalmar’s collection of resort wear?
I wanted to make beautiful clothes to wear to relax in. I was born in Morocco, and in my culture we all wear kaftans at home. They’re very beautiful, they’re very gracious. They allow you to relax and be feminine and be gorgeous. Kaftans are about honouring femininity, but also about embracing all kinds of women’s shapes and forms.
What I love is the connection to the fabric, and how it moves with your movement. Kaftans are about releasing all of the obligations we place on ourselves and our bodies. You are being served by the fabric of that kaftan. You’re being loved by the dress, rather than needing to fit into the dress. Do you see the difference?
You were born in Morocco; your family moved to Paris when you were seven. What influence has your native country had on the way you see the world?
Living in Morocco is super sensual. You are born into a culture where simple things are very important. Celebrations are important. People are important. Food and nature are important. It was a simple life, connected to real values. When I moved to Paris, it was all about creating a place and an existence for us in a society that was built on intellectual success. Coming from Morocco,
I had a drive to succeed, but also to create a voice for myself as a woman. It was
something that was very strong in me; I felt the injustice of a woman’s role in Morocco. I always really worked hard to have a voice, and I felt the best way to do that was to be in a professional environment where I could really make a difference. I was attracted to finance, and I became a banker and a broker. I felt the power! I felt it, and it was really what I wanted, at that moment.
You quickly rose through the ranks at your company, but after eight years in finance, you experienced a spiritual awakening. How did it happen?
It was an accumulation of little things. I realised time by myself was exactly what I needed. I was so hungry to be in solitude, reading, visiting mystical places. I was going away for weekends alone. I didn’t think of it as meditating at the time, but I was meditating, in my own personal way. I started to feel energies, which, when you’re not used to it, is a bit like ‘Whoa! What’s going on here?’ and I had some metaphysical experiences. I wanted to know more about spirituality, my connection to the world, my own soul and the messages I was feeling and receiving. I was not all interested in finance anymore. So I quit! I stopped everything.
For three years I lived like a monk, writing, reading different masters, working in Paris. Then, I started to feel the desire to share. I met a publisher in spirituality, and we decided to create my first book, The Angel’s Metamorphosis. It was magical for me.
You started dancing flamenco professionally when you were in your mid-30s. Have you always had dance in your life?
Music and dance were very natural to me. I’ve been a natural dancer from a [young] age. I played piano at school, but in my family it was just something I did for fun. I would never have believed that I could become an artist. I didn’t consider it as a profession, but I always trained in flamenco. It was a calling, a very strong one. Morocco and Andalusia are two lands that are quite close, in terms of culture.
How do you feel when you perform?
Dancing, for me, is about two things: it’s one way of expressing my art, my soul energy. I’m a dancer, and my soul needs dancing. But secondly, dance is the best way for me to be grounded to this life, connected to the sensuality of it. Being very spiritual, sometimes you’re a bit up in the air. My body needs to be grounded. It’s not only the physicality and the technicality, it’s about connecting the senses, the soul, the body, clearing the mind. For me, it’s a holistic way of life, more than an activity. When you put the music on, it’s about more than moving. It’s about connecting to a higher energy. For me, being on stage is totally a sacred moment. I’m not myself; I’m in another world. It’s exactly like when you go high in your meditation, or you’re feeling connected to something higher. It’s an incredible moment.
How do you envision Kalmar’s impact on the women who choose it?
I want to give women permission to be wild and free in their self-expression, to be strong in who they are. At this moment in time, women need permission to do that – to be connected to their deepest selves. Kalmar allows you to be who you are. It gives you strength. It gives you power. It gives you inspiration.
The Kalmar Woman
It may have been founded by one woman, but Kalmar was not created with one woman in mind. It caters to a vibrant cross-section of individuals from all over the world, of every age, from every culture. What they share is a potent 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’.
So who is the Kalmar woman? She is intelligent, warm and self-assured. She radiates an energy and warmth which comes from understanding and being entirely at ease with herself. This authenticity to her own truth allows her to draw on and contribute to the world around her. She has an endless and open curiosity: she never tires of travelling to new places and learning new things from the people she encounters along the way, whether that be a new Ayurvedic recipe or a meditative tool. What’s more, she relishes the opportunity to share these learnings with the people she surrounds herself with, whether in her relationships or her vocation. She is passionate about what she does, and she does it wholeheartedly, upholding the highest standards and enacting the role of a leader among her peers.
The Kalmar woman is in touch with her sacred femininity and enjoys her sensuality through her clothing, her products, her rituals and practices. She is drawn to quality in all things, from food to fabrics, and she takes pleasure in investing in timeless, ethically and sustainably produced objects over disposable trend-led ones. Her style, both in clothing and decor, is vibrant, timeless and elegant; she’ll wear a simple but expertly tailored white shirt in the city, with the same charisma with which she’ll choose a colourful kaftan by the beach.
She’s open to change, and she’s changing all the time. Spirituality, for her, is a belief in a greater presence, and she never tires of learning about it, developing her own soul connection through reading, meditating, therapies, and a series of daily self-care rituals.