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HigherDose Brings Saunas Home

The spa’s pivot to sauna blankets is expected to be part of its long-term strategy moving forward, and set the stage for more product launches.

Products with immune-boosting properties have remained a beauty industry bright spot, but not if you’re a spa.

Following the closures of its studios, infrared sauna spa HigherDose saw sales of its sauna blankets skyrocket. “The business we thought we’d be in a year-and-a-half, we did overnight,” said Lauren Berlingeri, cofounder and co-chief executive officer of HigherDose.

The newfound hero product — essentially a sleeping bag retrofitted with infrared sauna technology — was out of stock for five months while the brand waited for suppliers shut down by the coronavirus pandemic to restock.

Berlingeri expects e-commerce to be a central focus of the business moving forward. Even pre-COVID-19, Berlingeri said the blanket sales were growing at 400 percent, while the spa’s locations, which include storefronts in New York City and partners upstate, was growing at 25 percent. “Some people are even happier doing the sauna blanket at home,” Berlingeri said. The blankets are distributed via the brand’s own e-commerce site, Goop, Carbon38 and Bandier.

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The blankets, which now make up between 90 and 95 percent of the brand’s business, and the LED mask, are not the only products they have in development: a new mat is set to launch this fall. “It was always our intention to bring the brand to the masses, and we knew the best way to do that was to make effective at-home products for travel,” said Katie Kaps, cofounder and co-ceo of HigherDose.

The blankets were conceived in 2017, and have been routinely upgraded as technological advancements are said to mimic the in-studio saunas’ effects more effectively. For the third and latest generation of spa blankets, the blanket only lacks the near- and mid-length wavelengths, which Berlingeri said is best for skin benefits. “You don’t necessarily need to have that technology in a sauna blanket, even though it is good,” Berlingeri added.

As the brand shifts to a more product-forward business, though, it is developing a red LED face mask to provide similar benefits. That being said, it’s the immune-boosting claims that are resonating the most with HigherDose’s customer. “The best benefits are from circulation, pain, inflammation, calming your nervous system down. And you get all of those in the blanket,” Berlingeri said.

“If you have a product that genuinely helps people, is authentic, and really works, it’s going to do well,” Kaps said. “It’s the brands that don’t have the best products that are struggling. Every single detail is important, and focusing on one thing is the way to do it.”

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