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CEO Corner: HigherDose’s Lauren Berlingeri & Katie Kaps on Wellness Tech
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CEO Corner: HigherDose’s Lauren Berlingeri & Katie Kaps on Wellness Tech

Berlingeri and Kaps started HigherDose in 2016 after seeing a white space in the wellness tech space, growing it into a market leader

Katie Kaps and Lauren Berlingeri founded HigherDose in 2016 to bring high-tech recovery tools to the masses. Some of the brand’s most popular products include its infrared sauna blanket, red light face mask and infrared PEMF mat. HigherDose also recently inked a deal with Sephora, and a has a brick-and-mortar presence in New York City.

As it continues to grow, HigherDose is looking toward strategic partnerships and activations at major events, including the upcoming Paris Olympics.

Athletech News spoke with Berlingeri and Kaps to discuss the early days of HigherDose as well as how the brand has grown and evolved since its founding. 

The following conversation has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Athletech News: Can you each tell us about your backgrounds and how they have influenced the decision to found HigherDose?

Katie Kaps: My career prior to founding HigherDose lies heavily in the business world. I studied at the London School of Economics and spent over a decade on Wall Street working as an investment banker for Merrill Lynch. I then led business development for Tough Mudder and am proud to have held a role in growing the company at an exponential rate. Both Lauren and I are passionate about wellness, entrepreneurship, and innovation, so founding a company of our own felt like a natural next step for us. 

Katie Kaps (credit: HigherDose)

Lauren Berlingeri: My background is rooted in the lifestyle and fitness space. I had a successful career in modeling and hosting, and decided to expand my expertise and earned my certification in nutrition and health coaching from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Through my experience in the wellness industry, I discovered the power of infrared technology and saw an opportunity to bring this technology to the masses.

Since founding the brand, we’ve experienced meteoric success, and we attribute this to bringing a fresh perspective on biohacking and the cutting-edge innovations we’ve been able to develop that are transforming the spa business. Our combined areas of expertise have been a real asset when it comes to growing the business: I oversee product innovation, brand storytelling and education, which is complemented by Katie’s business and marketing acumen.

ATN: What gap did you see in the market that made you confident HigherDose would become a success?

KK: In 2016, the white space for wellness technology was massive. While infrared therapy existed in European spas, there was no accessibility through products or distribution in United States spas. We recognized the value in healing-heat therapy for longevity and took a bet that consumers would as well. Furthermore, biohacking has been a primarily male-dominated industry for many years, so coming in with a fresh perspective from a female lens has certainly earned us an edge in the market. 

LB: HigherDose offers premium products inspired by the healing power of nature with science-backed infrared, PEMF and red light therapies developed to boost longevity and vitality from the inside out. The “Dose” in HigherDose signifies dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins, so we’re able to consistently grow our product offerings by harnessing these technologies in innovative ways and educating consumers about their benefits. 

Lauren Berlingeri (credit: HigherDose)

What has HigherDose’s growth and evolution been like since its founding? 

KK: From 2016 to 2019, we focused on brick-and-mortar growth through seed investment and strategic hospitality partnerships with the likes of Equinox and 11 Howard in New York City, which allowed the brand experience to scale throughout the tri-state area.

Quickly, we saw the development of a cult-like following of celebrities, athletes, medical professionals and biohackers who championed the efficacy of “getting high naturally” and catalyzed viral social media posts with HigherDose’s iconic neon-meets-nature aesthetic.  While locations were hot, we also saw potential to take the brand’s mission of accessible longevity even further by developing at-home, portable technology.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, we made a decision to pivot and accelerate the DTC business, developing further products that allow consumers to “Dose” anywhere they are. This proved to be incredibly successful, resulting in 10x sales growth year-over-year, while opening the door to retail partnerships including Sephora, Harrods, Blue Mercury, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Best Buy.

Today, not only are we extremely proud of the retail partnerships we’ve spearheaded but also the awards and accolades we’ve received from customer testimonials and our media coverage. The brand continues to grow exponentially through e-commerce, retail and wholesale while maintaining the position of the #1 self-care “lifestyle” brand with a passionate community via content, events and ambassador programs.

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credit: HigherDose

ATN: What are the biggest challenges and opportunities for at-home wellness companies?

LB: Since we’re pioneering products that harness emerging technology, we experience challenges educating the mass consumer concisely about our science-backed efficacy and how each unit works.

The opportunity is bringing wellness technology to the masses. HigherDose’s mission is inspired by the fact that there are more saunas than people in Finland because that country’s residents are educated about well-being.  The opportunity here is expanding upon that notion, making empowered self-healing and longevity accessible to the masses with efficacious products.

credit: HigherDose

ATN: What’s next for HigherDose? 

KK: We will continue to expand DTC portable wellness technology products that support longevity, vitality, sleep, skin, recovery and detoxification. Stay tuned for announcements coming this spring!

LB: We’re also expanding through strategic partnerships with top retailers, brands, and talent. With markets like wellness tourism growing 30%-plus year-over-year, our portable products allow the HigherDose experience to travel well!. Look for us at this year’s Paris Olympics hosting recovery activations for female Olympic athletes.

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