In 2016, Katie Kaps had a big idea.
She wanted to create a spa business in New York City, but as with everything in New York, she knew it had to have a twist; it had to be unique, different and better in order to stand out. And that is exactly what she came up with:
A spa experience where infrared light was the star of the show.
“We were really ahead of the curve when it came to infrared,” she says. Infrared rays are natural and comfortable, similar to the light from our own sun. Indeed, HigherDOSE says that,
“The infrared experience totally feels like soaking up the summer sun, it’s warming, stimulating and relaxing, and just like the sun, infrared rays release natural, yet effective doses of serotonin within the body. Serotonin is a powerful happiness chemical in your brain — so, a release serotonin means a boost in your mood and increased feelings of happiness.”
Not only does a light bath of infrared give you a natural high, but it is equally great for curing muscle pain, and detoxifying the body of impurities. It’s akin to getting the benefits of a workout without working out.
No wonder HigherDOSE spas were so popular.
But of course, what the HigherDOSE team never expected – indeed what none of us ever expected – was a pandemic. In their case, “almost overnight,” HigherDOSE had to shutter nine locations.
What do you do when your physical, experience-based business is closed down without notice? Well, if you are one of The Adaptables (like the other creative entrepreneurs in our PayPal series), you adapt.
And that is exactly what Katie and her team at HigherDOSE did.
They immediately pivoted to direct-to-consumer e-commerce, focusing on selling what had been a small piece of their business up until then – at-home, infrared blankets.
With everyone at home and stressed out, especially last year at the beginning of the pandemic, the demand for a product like the HigherDOSE infrared blanket – something that could de-stress people and give them an at-home spa experience – “ skyrocketed.”
Sounds simple maybe, but it was anything but. Katie and her team had to do a lot of things right, and make a few mistakes along the way, before their physical business could transform into a mighty digital one.
How did they do it? Check out my interview with Katie to find out!
Steve Strauss is a senior small business columnist at USA TODAY and author of 15 books, including The Small Business Bible.