Founder Focus: Katie Kaps & Lauren Berlingeri of HigherDOSE
What was your eureka moment?
Lauren: I have an affinity for extreme fitness challenges and experience working at Aloha (a wellness startup) which led me to discover the infrared sauna. As the star of Woman vs. Workout, I’d taken on incredible athletic challenges (from Navy SEALS training to motocross) and, given the demands of the work, was always looking for ways to recover and feel better. I found that diet and exercise was not enough, so I turned to alternative health practices to give me an additional ‘boost’. One therapy I discovered that stood out above the rest because of how amazing it made me feel was the infrared sauna. Also, when I started working for Aloha, I decided to write an article on infrared and couldn’t believe the documented health benefits (deep detoxification, stress relief, calorie burn, skin improvement, etc). I spoke to many experts in the field and everyone seemed to agree that the infrared sauna was an extremely healing modality with no downsides. So I decided to team up with Katie and start a company around infrared!
What is your elevator pitch?
Katie: We bring the healing power of infrared to the masses through our NYC based spas and our at-home infrared sauna blankets.
How did you test your idea?
Katie: We raised less than $100,000 from friends and family to open our first spa location and prove out the concept. We were profitable within the first month.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start a business on their own?
Lauren: Times get really tough so make sure you’re passionate about the idea and not just doing something because “it makes sense”. Most of my friends who start a business for purely rational reasons haven’t made it. The concept needs to bring you joy in and of itself otherwise there might not be enough to keep you going.
Do you have a mentor or are you one?
Lauren: No mentor, just surrounded by a great community of thought leaders, entrepreneurs, experts and healers.
Katie: I’ve had the opportunity to work for some amazing entrepreneurs (Will Dean, Tough Mudder) and celebrities (Adrian Grenier, Entourage) who have helped me learn how to grow businesses. Specifically, I learned the Lean Startup method from Will Dean and it’s my #1 rule of thumb for entrepreneurship.
What’s your plan B?
Lauren: No plan B. But I know what I want to do after HD. I would love to launch my own charity focused on teaching kids how to thrive by giving them tools and techniques like mediation, yoga, breath-work, nutrition, and community.
Katie: Go into academia.
What is the most worthwhile investment (time, energy, money) that you have made?
Lauren: Expanding my family. Just had twins and just like a business, the hard work, attention and dedication couldn’t feel more rewarding and fulfilling.
Katie: Working in investment banking at Merrill Lynch right after university. The experience was harrowing but it gave me incredible skills and set me up to have an amazing career.
What one failure are you glad you experienced?
Lauren: I failed at being an extreme sports host. I was offered a role as sports broadcaster by FoxSports, and I just knew I would be awful at it because it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing as a host.
Katie: I wasn’t able to bring a failing brand (Churchkey Beer) back to market. I learned a lot about team dynamics and how crucial it is for a startup team to be ‘in sync’.
What is coming up for your Brand?
Lauren: We’re launching additional devices (i.e. a red light mask) and a consumer product line.
What book would you recommend that everyone reads and why?
Lauren: How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Katie: The Lean Startup! It’s the one book every entrepreneur should read.
How do you find balance in your daily life?
Lauren: The infrared sauna!
Katie: Meditation and hot/cold therapy.
If you’d like to know more about HigherDOSE and want to check out their sauna blankets click here.