17 May 2021|Latest Posts, Launching a business, Meet the Successful Founder
Meet the founders of HigherDOSE: Lauren Berlingeri and Katie Kaps. Lauren, a former international model & health coach, joined forces with Katie, an investment banker turned entrepreneur & startup strategist, in 2016 to launch HigherDOSE infrared spas across New York City.
With unique, complementary backgrounds and a shared vision of the wellness industry, Lauren and Katie have scaled their in-person spa business into a pioneering wellness-technology company. The team is bringing advanced wellness technologies (from infrared to PEMF) to living rooms everywhere and igniting a movement of supercharged self-care.
Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?
HigherDOSE is a wellness technology brand based in New York City. Our mission is to ignite vitality, by bringing the power of nature indoors. We create at-home spa systems that are inspired by nature and powered by technology. Our products (which include an Infrared Sauna Blanket and PEMF Mat) are designed to naturally stoke a healthy DOSE of your brain’s feel-good chemicals (Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, Endorphins).
How did the idea come to you for the company?
We met through a mutual friend at the perfect moment: we were both in the mood for our next adventure, we instantly clicked around a shared vision for the future wellness, and our different backgrounds (Lauren coming from nutrition/health coaching, Katie coming from financing/startup expansion) created the unique alchemy needed to kickstart an authentic feel-good movement powered by an advanced technology that was not yet being harnessed by the masses: infrared.
When Lauren, working as an international model and health coach at the time, first discovered infrared, she began consulting with health experts to learn more. She was blown away by its benefits and shocked that the technology was not more readily available. Katie, who was leading strategy and international expansion at Tough Mudder at the time, saw the opportunity and had the entrepreneurial know-how to help supercharge that vision. With that, HigherDOSE was born.
How did you achieve awareness?
We launched HigherDOSE in 2016, opening several spa locations in New York, all featuring state-of-the-art infrared saunas. Our community fell in love with the technology and we emerged as a real leader in bringing infrared to the masses.
But it wasn’t just the technology that was new. We were transforming expectations around the modern spa experience. We merged the moods of a nightclub and a health club, encouraged friends to come DOSE together, and grounded all our self-care strategies in science & technology. Our retail locations proved that people were hungry to go deeper in their wellness practices, paving the way for our line of powerful at-home spa systems that makes up the core of our business today.
How have you been able to gain funding and grow?
We secured our first angel investment of $50k in early 2016, allowing us to open our first spa-location on Bowery. We proved the concept and were profitable in the first month. We took this approach to all future funding: gaining investment by demonstrating sincere community interest and proof that our products really work. Off the success of our in-person spas, we raised $1.2mm in 2017, and used this capital to launch our first Sauna Blanket. The demand for the Sauna Blanket has paved the way for future product lines.
What are the key successes?
Our business has grown 400% since we made the decision to pivot from location-based spas to D2C products in 2020 – led by a massive demand for Sauna Blankets during lockdown. We count this as a key success, not just because of the exponential growth, but because we were able to deliver super-charged self-care systems directly to our customer’s living rooms during a year when people needed it the most.
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
When the pandemic hit, we had to close all our HigherDOSE locations overnight. As with many businesses, this was a challenging moment for us. But it offered us the opportunity to step back and pivot intentionally. We recognized a sky-rocketing demand for at-home wellness products, with everyone spending more time at home – and we already had our popular Sauna Blanket available.
So, we leveled up our digital ecommerce experience and began to invest in new product innovation. In this transition from a retail-experience brand to a D2C ecommerce company, we found ourselves grounded in our original mission: to be a wellness-tech pioneer introducing transformative products to the masses and bringing the healing power of nature indoors.
What are your plans now/for the future?
We have several exciting product launches on the horizon. Our design philosophy is inspired by the earthly elements and their powerful benefits (infrared imitates the healing power of the sun; PEMF is like taking a walk in nature). So, you can expect a suite of magnesium-based bath products coming soon, designed to connect our customers to the healing power of the sea. As we continue to grow, it’s all about getting back to the basics of nature that everyone is craving right now, by harnessing advanced technology and innovation.
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
Test out your ideas before you invest. Entrepreneurship is about experimentation, iteration, and being resourceful. Prove the concept first. Today, we are excited about new HigherDOSE product categories and the expansion of our at-home spa systems – but, first, we had to prove that our community loved the infrared sauna technology as much as we did.
Can you share your top 5-10 tips for entrepreneurial success?
1. Preserve your energy. You are going to need it!
2. Don’t be afraid to pivot. Challenges and roadblocks can lead to powerful breakthroughs.
3. Get guidance from people who have done it before you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
4. Know what advice resonates and what doesn’t. You don’t have to follow all that you receive.
5. Find a business partner you believe in. And make sure you both believe in what you are doing. These bonds will help you push through the many challenges that will arise.
Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most?
1. Our friend Ben Greenfield is a leader in longevity, achieving peak performance and being limitless. We’re inspired by his expansive expertise and lucky to have him on our team.
2. We love the fitness movement Taryn Toomey has built via The Class – and the way she advocates for ‘self-study’ to transform the body and mind.
3. We look to Dr. Joe Dispenza when it comes to the neuroscience of change, rewiring our brains, and harnessing inner energy to enjoy happier, more fulfilled lives.
5. We love how SolidCore founder Anne Mahlum built a fitness empire by combining pilates and strength training: by bringing these effective practices to the masses with a modern spin and a bold perspective.
What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?
Nikola Tesla said, “If you want to find the secrets of the Universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” We think he was on to something.
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