Katie Kaps & Lauren Berlingeri
Company Name || HigherDOSE
Job Title || Co-Founders and Co-CEOs
Company Start Date || 2016
Years Living In New York || 10+
Social Handles || @laurenberlingeri / @ktkaps
Website || HigherDOSE
What did you want to be while growing up?
Lauren: As a child I always wanted to be involved in something active. I was always interested in sports and that sort of led to an interest in broadcasting and wanting to be a TV personality.
Katie: I loved sports! I wanted to be a professional athlete. The Olympics were a big deal to me growing up.
What’s the best piece of advice you were given when you were starting HigherDOSE?
Lauren: To be flexible and know that, no matter what you do, sometimes, things will go wrong, and perspectives will have to shift. This was honestly the best advice! I can see now how easily a business owner can get stuck into a particular vision, even when that vision isn’t what’s best for the brand — and make some negative decisions because of it. It’s important to have a vision and go after it, but it’s also important to stay present and respond to your audience as you grow.
Katie: Put in the hard work. As an entrepreneur, you have to be able to learn, grow and operate across a variety of verticals — some of them you might thrive in, others you’ll have to work harder at. It’s different than focusing on one aspect of a business and by different, I mean, it’s much more challenging. Understanding that from the get-go has made things a bit easier to tackle.
How do you define success?
Lauren: When hard work and persistence provide a feeling of reward, that’s success. I try not to measure success in linear terms because then we’d just always be chasing the next bullet point on a graph.
Katie: Success is getting to do something that you love, that’s healthily challenging, every day. Finding out what that is, and then going for it, that is what success is all about. The world is so up and down so it’s important not to define success like you would define a goal.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned since starting out?
Lauren: That people will disagree with you and that’s OK. Being in the “wellness” industry, there’s a lot of contradictions and a lot of people who just don’t agree with what you’re doing—and they can sometimes be pretty vocal about it. At the end of the day, we’re just trying to inspire healthy lifestyles and run a business while doing so. We don’t have any reservations about our mission and we truly believe in what we’re doing, so it’s easy to just shrug certain commentators off. But I think, as a business owner, you’re going to run into conflicts, and you have to be able to address the ones that deserve addressing and neglect the ones that are simply irrelevant hyperbole.
Katie: Setting up a great team is essential. Having employees that you can depend on and people who can also tell you things you might not want to hear, or things you didn’t know you needed to hear, keeps your brand well-rounded and in-touch with reality. Being accessible is part of being a leader. Building a good team and maintaining a good company spirit has played a pivotal role in how we operate and how we’ve grown.
How did you realize there was a need in the market for the infrared sauna experience?
As infrared entered into the hot yoga space, we realized there was a lot we could do here. Infrared is nothing new! Professional athletes have been using it for ages. As people become more and more educated and conscious about wellness and fitness, we realized, the powers of infrared, made accessible to more mainstream audiences, would be great and super beneficial to the market.
What is your go-to motivational quote?
Lauren: Don’t overthink it.
Katie: Pick you battles.
Where did the idea of HigherDOSE come from and how did you approach your partnership in starting it?
Lauren: As a former international model and health coach, I’m what you might call, a self-care addict. I’m constantly exploring new ideas that improve our ability to live healthier lifestyles, but that also make us feel amazing in the process—and I thrive off sharing this with others. My passion for wellness definitely helped spur the overall vision for HigherDOSE, which was initially sparked by an interest in infrared. When I first started delving into the benefits of infrared, I couldn’t get enough. The more I learned, consulting with everyone from doctors to athletes and health experts, the more blown away I was—and the more shocked I was that infrared therapy was still so unreadily available. It's not that the powers of infrared are new, it's that we can now benefit from them in new, modern ways. This excited me… I wanted to combine innovations within the health spectrum with the powers of infrared, in an accessible, inspiring way.
Katie: My career started in investment banking, which led me into the business of startups. I worked in venture capital, and lead strategy and international expansion at Tough Mudder. I met Lauren, through a mutual friend, right when I was in the mood to take on my next adventure. Our vision for the health and wellness spectrum just clicked. So, combining my financing/entrepreneur experience with her nutritionist/health coach background, we teamed up to bring infrared to the masse and create a no-BS, authentic feel-good movement — connecting people with infrared, and other next-level wellness practices.
Do you have a personal motto?
Katie: Sleep on it. When in doubt, a good night’s sleep will always help you find resolve.
Which women inspire you?
Lauren: Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Katie: Women who go after what they want even if it’s not aligned with whatever society has framed for them.
How do you handle situations where you feel overwhelmed?
Lauren: I have to take five and do some calming exercises. Breathing, meditating. Whatever. Anything that works in the moment that helps me calm the F&%K down and refocus.
Katie: Same as Lauren! We’ve learned that stepping away for a moment is the best way to jump in and get things done when work gets crazy.
How do you overcome moments of self-doubt?
Lauren: Just recognizing that you’re having a moment of self-doubt helps you pull yourself out of your insecurities. Without getting too much in your head, checking yourself with the reality of the situation is usually the best way for me to tackle those situations.
Katie: I allow myself to feel those moments, and then, I imagine what it’d be like to: a) overcome them or b) succumb to them. The idea of overcoming them always wins and gives me the confidence I need to try and push forward, even when I’m not feeling like my swag is at a ’mil.
What is the hardest part about being your own boss?
Lauren: I’m not sure! I feel like we’re lucky because we’re a co-boss team. Being able to discuss things with a business partner and vet things out, to me, makes it simpler to handle circumstances “as a boss” than if you were relying on purely one-sighted instinct or outside influence.
Katie: Learning that not everyone is like you. As a business owner, you’re much more invested in what you’re doing than your employees are, so you can’t expect them to put in 150% every time. That’s just not reality. Your job, as a boss, is to guide them with realistic expectations—highlight their strengths and coach them through any weaknesses.
What has been the most rewarding thing since starting HigherDOSE?
Lauren: There isn’t really one mostrewarding thing. The whole process has been exciting and rewarding in many various ways. I guess, the rewards are always changing, which is rewarding in itself.
Katie: Progressing from earlier stages and experiencing the brand grow and continue to expand. Seeing an audience respond to something you’ve worked so hard at is unmeasurably rewarding.
What advice would you give to other women trying to help a community through entrepreneurship?
Lauren: Does it feel like a puzzle without any pieces? That’s because it is. New things need to be given shape, otherwise, they’re not so new…Don’t be frustrated by that. Start experimenting and trying and eventually you’ll have something you can work with.
Katie: Don’t go into situations thinking that being a woman is going to hurt your chances. Change minds and adjust perspectives, but don’t let them affect you in negative ways before they actually are. You jump over hurtles; you don’t avoid the race altogether because you know they exist.
What are some of your goals moving forward either personally or with HigherDOSE?
Lauren: We’re exciting to continue expanding the HigherDOSE brand and defining the infrared experience.
Katie: We want to keep spreading our word and encouraging people to live the high life, naturally. While infrared is a major part of our mission, we have so much more to give and so much more to introduce. That’s what keeps us going. That’s what excites us every day.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.