It often feels impossible to find time to workout while also prioritizing your overall health and wellness. However, at HigherDOSE, you can achieve your health goals while also attaining a natural high—all from the comfort of an in-house sauna.
Co-founders Lauren Berlingeri and Katie Kaps founded HigherDOSE, a unique spa-like sauna that gives customers the chance to sweat out toxins while getting a mood boost and skin treatment, with the help of infrared technology. Berlingeri and Kaps sat down with SWAAY to discuss how they navigated through the health and wellness industry as female entrepreneurs to bring their vision for HigherDOSE to life.
Berlingeri was first introduced to infrared technology while working for a health and wellness startup. After learning from a medical professional that infrared saunas offered the same results as a workout, while simultaneously putting your body in a state of healing, Berlingeri decided to experience it firsthand and was instantly hooked. Upon researching everything surrounding infrared technology from its benefits to safeness, she concluded that infrared saunas were going to be the next hottest trend.
Despite infrared saunas becoming increasingly popular at the time, it was still quite the challenge for Berlingeri and Kaps to prove how and why their vision would be successful, in order to get their business off the ground. When asked what were some of the difficulties they experienced as female entrepreneurs when seeking out funding, Berlingeri stated that, "Proving out the concept, before gaining outside capital and without any money, was obviously a very difficult hurdle to overcome." However, the co-founders were not the least bit deterred by the challenges. In fact, it fueled their entrepreneurial spirit and drove them to approach their brand in a more meticulous manner.
HigherDose Co-founders: Lauren Berlingeri and Katie Kaps
"One thing we love about being entrepreneurs is being scrappy and resourceful, and that's exactly how we've approached HigherDOSE from the get-go." Berlingeri stated. She also credited family and friends who believed in the duo's vision for contributing towards HigherDOSE and inevitably helping Berlingeri and Kaps raise the $90k required to open their first location which, in turn, rapidly proved out their concept, and got the ball rolling.
While the help they received from family and friends allowed them to hit a major milestone, it was ultimately Berlingeri and Kaps' individual backgrounds that best prepared them to embark on this new business venture. Berlingeri was highly educated on topics regarding health and wellness after having worked as an international model, health coach and wellness spokeswoman. She also received a certificate as a holistic nutritionist and health coach from The Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Her well-rounded background in the health and wellness industry, as well as her knowledge of trends and products in that particular market space, proved advantageous towards building the foundation of their company.
Berlingeri also credited her inquisitive nature for preparing her for the journey of starting a business. "I'm constantly exploring new ideas that improve our ability to live healthier lifestyles, but that also make us feel amazing in the process—and I thrive off sharing this with others." She stated.
While Berlingeri brought the vision to the table, Kaps brought the entrepreneurial know-how as the woman in charge of executing their mission. Kaps' career began in investment banking which later expanded into the business of launching and developing startups. She also had an extensive career working in venture capital, and lead strategy and international expansion at Tough Mudder. In addition to her own personal fitness and health interests, Kaps expressed that her previous careers significantly contributed to her ability to grow the company.
"I bring to HigherDOSE a combination of financing and entrepreneurial experience. As a team, our presenting/developing balance works well. It gives us this no-BS, well-rounded point of view." Kaps explained.
Together, their combined experiences and unique skill sets have transformed HigherDOSE into the successful business that it is today. Infrared saunas which were once exclusively accessible to those who could afford to have one installed into their homes, are now accessible to anyone at any of the HigherDOSE locations across New York City as well as in Connecticut and New Jersey. Their infrared blankets are often sold across the country as their customer base has been steadily increasing. While their products and services alone have attracted loyal customers, Berlingeri and Kaps have also grown their fanbase by utilizing social media and creating a sense of community.
HigherDOSE's Instagram page is certainly visually appealing, to say the least, with their main aesthetic leaning towards the sexier side of their infrared sauna experience. Their unique mood depicted across their Instagram page has customers fully engaged to the point where they often tag the company in photos of themselves during their personal visits to HigherDOSE locations, maintaining the same visual and aesthetic appeal in their photos as the company's.
Courtesy of @higherdose
"Our HigherDOSE fans love to share their own experiences and with that, our growth has sustained really organic vibes. We also put time into what we're saying. We aren't posting just because we can, but we're generating messaging with substance and value for our audiences." Berlingeri explained. "It's the difference between selling products and selling an inspired lifestyle. We use social media like a mini blog, unlike other companies who use it with a more e-commerce-driven content cadence."
The company has managed to attract a wide range of customers partly through social media and partly through their own personal experiences. Berlingeri stated that their customers typically range from athletes to health-conscious professionals and even models. They see both men and women from every generation. "Our customers tend to be busy people, from professionals to creatives, who favor fitness but understand the importance of recovery…we meet a lot people embracing today's proliferation of self-love mantras. With that, we love how dynamic our customer-base develops." Berlingeri said.
With HigherDOSE expanding their business, fanbase, and service lineup, the future of the company certainly looks bright. "Of course, our concept was born with our first service being infrared saunas, but we've got so much more happening and we'll continue to roll out new and exciting things to both our current and aspirational customers." Berlingeri said.
As the co-founders reflect on their entrepreneurial journey of transforming HigherDOSE from its concept phase into a successful business, they each offer one piece of advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs looking to break into the health and wellness industry.
Lauren: "Now's the time to do it. The excitement surrounding the industry is just that: exciting. Don't get bogged down in the eye-roll of the "trendiness" of our current era of wellness awareness, jump in. Just be authentic about it. People are more and more aware of the difference between genuine brands that approach making money with respect for their consumers and those brands who simply care about the bottom line. Transparency is essential. "
Katie: "Research before, during and always. Research everything you can and be an expert in what's happening in the industry and why."