The first time HigherDose cofounder and co-chief executive officer Lauren Berlingeri tried an infrared sauna, it was less than chic.
“Ten years ago, there was only one infrared sauna that existed in New York City. It was behind a curtain in the basement of a colonics center. The worst experience ever,” Berlingeri said.
She was scouting up-and-coming wellness trends for a previous job when she tried the infrared sauna, and despite the unsexy circumstances, she felt calmer and slept better afterward, she said. So she brought Katie Kaps, a former investment banking analyst and startup executive, to try it, too.
Thus, HigherDose was born.
“When Katie and I went to try the infrared sauna for the first time, we could not believe how amazing our skin looked. It was clear, soft, dewy, glowing to the point where everyone has to say something to you, like, ‘What are you doing for your skin?'” Berlingeri said.
“For all of you that have lived in New York City, you know you need something to calm and relax,” Berlingeri said. “I just knew I wanted to start my business around it.”
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She and Kaps teamed up to open Instagram-friendly infrared outposts in New York. Currently, HigherDose has a location at the 11 Howard hotel, and another in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The brand became famous for users’ “sweaty, sexy sauna selfies,” Kaps said.
Eventually, the duo decided to build out a product line for infrared enthusiasts to take home. There’s the Infrared Sauna Blanket, $599, the Infrared PEMF Mat, $1,095, and the Red Light Face Mask, $299.
Berlingeri and Kaps said the technologies are meant to be “stacked” and build on one another for additional wellness benefits.
The sauna blanket provides a sweaty at-home sauna experience, while the PEMF mat is said to have electromagnetic frequency that is “similar to the earth’s core,” for “calming, grounding [and] relaxing,” Berlingeri said. The red light technology featured in the face mask is well known for skin benefits, but the founders also purport that red light “feeds the mitochondria of every single cell to produce something called ATP, which is energy, which means that every single one of your cells in your body is functioning better.”
While HigherDose has become well-known in niche circles, awareness around infrared is still relatively low, even in wellness circles, Kaps said, referring to a survey of wellness enthusiasts where 20 percent of them reported being familiar with the technology.
To build credibility, HigherDose has partnered with physicians who have “pushed thousands of units of product for us and given us a great seal of approval,” Kaps said. HigherDose saunas are used by athletes looking to release lactic acid from their muscles, as well as regular people looking for soft skin and detox benefits, the duo said. The company has sold more than 100,000 units of its wellness tech, the founders said.
HigherDose has also connected with audiences through podcast partnerships, and partnerships with Goop and The One Hotel.
Going forward, HigherDose plans to focus on longevity, the new trend in antiaging, as well as pair technology with effective but under-the-radar ingredients like magnesium, for example.
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