Kirami on a trip to the USA to promote sauna

 Wellbeing from Finland event in Los Angeles | Kirami - Warmer feelings.

Photographer of the event ©Sami Laitinen


Mika Rantanen and Konsta Katajisto travelled to the USA in September 2023 as Kirami's sauna ambassadors. The trip included the Wellbeing from Finland event at the Consul General's residence in Los Angeles and meeting new potential retailers in and around Los Angeles. The duo came with a sauna, a hot tub and an outdoor shower, lots of sauna stories and a keen interest in the US market.


On 21 September 2023, a Wellbeing from Finland event was held at the Consul General of Finland's residence in Los Angeles to promote the export activities of Finnish sauna companies on the West Coast. Preparations to participate in the event started at Kirami already in spring.

Kirami presented its products at the Wellbeing from Finland event in Los Angeles | Kirami
Kirami presented its products at the
Wellbeing from Finland event in
Los Angeles.

- In March, I attended a market research webinar on sauna-related topics organised by Business Finland, where I was asked if we were interested in participating in the event. We were interested and decided to join in," Konsta says.

In addition to Finnish companies, the event was attended by local media from California, social media influencers, companies and individuals interested in sauna, and Honorary Consuls of Finland. Mika and Konsta brought a Kirami FinVision®  -sauna and outdoor shower as well as a Tiny RC hot tub.

- We introduced Kirami and our products to those who were interested and told them about Finnish sauna. Everyone who wanted to could also try out the sauna, shower and hot tub, and there were plenty of people willing! Especially the social media influencers had come particularly to test the products," says Konsta.

Mika and Konsta tell us that the most challenging part of the whole event was planning what to bring and how to get the stuff from Finland to the site.

- The event itself was the easiest part: you just had to talk to people. Afterwards, of course, we've been thinking about what we learned and how to make the most of the trip," concludes Mika.


It was worth participating!

The Wellbeing from Finland event was the first event organised at the Consul General's residence to showcase large products such as saunas and hot tubs. Mika considered participating in the event a great success for Kirami.

We received really good feedback on our products ​​​​​​​| Kirami - We stood out!
We received really good feedback on
our products - We stood out!

- We received really good feedback on our products: their appearance, quality, finish and user experience were praised. We stood out!

Konsta also considers it a good and worthwhile participation.

- After the event, there have been discussions with potential partners and sauna shops have been opened. We learned a lot about the US market and about working with logistics companies, for example, both of which will be useful for the future.

One of our goals for the USA trip was to meet potential retailers and partners. Before the trip, a wide range of contacts were made and meetings arranged.

-I used Google and LinkedIn to find out who in the Los Angeles area was involved with saunas. We made as many appointments as possible and invited some of our partner candidates to the Consul General's event. And it went well: it seems that partnerships and also project-based collaborations are on the way," Konsta says happily.



What do they know about sauna on the other side of the Atlantic?

The popularity of sauna varies widely across the United States. It may be familiar in areas where many Finns have moved to in the past, such as Michigan, but almost unknown elsewhere. One important lesson learned from the trip and the event was how to talk about sauna to people with very different levels of knowledge.

- In the USA, sauna is not yet very familiar to people other than those who want to become retailers, and they may have strong preconceptions as well - for better or worse. Individuals, such as the social media influencers we met, on the other hand, have heard of sauna but may not really know what it is. So it's worth talking to everyone in a more simple way and providing more guidance than in Finland," Konsta points out.


Everyone who wanted to could also try out the sauna, shower and hot tub, and there were plenty of people willing! | Kirami
Everyone who wanted to could also try out the sauna, shower and hot tub, and there were plenty of people


Perceptions of the sauna vary a lot, and the sauna as Finns think of it is relatively unknown.

- For some people, a sauna can be an infrared cabin in the corner of the living room, where you can sweat for a while. The infrared sauna is sometimes even a tarp-walled unit that is put away after sweating. For others, the sauna is a really hot room in which to do nothing, or a warm room where you can read a magazine, for example. Barrel saunas are perhaps the closest thing to what we in Finland think of as a sauna, but even in those saunas the heater is really hot with just a few infusions done," says Mika.

In the USA, and especially in California, the positive thing for saunas is the strong wellness trend and the sauna boom that has started with it. The concept of a sauna linked to wellness is a familiar one, and saunas are often found in gyms and fitness centres. When people start thinking about getting their own sauna, it is often because of the health benefits.

- And when you have your sauna in your own yard, you realise that it's nice anyway, not just useful," laughs Mika.


Finnish sauna with spices from the target country

Kirami wants to take Finnish-style sauna and sauna culture to the world and stay true to its own style and Finnishness. At the same time, we at Kirami remember that the culture and needs of the target country must be respected and that you can adapt the sauna to suit the relevant market. In the United States, for example, it is good to have a sauna that suits a busy lifestyle.

Finnish sauna with spices from the target country | Kirami FinVision® -sauna
Kirami FinVison® -sauna: Finnish sauna
with spices from the target country.

- Not everyone should be forced into a purely Finnish sauna culture. For example, you can offer Finnish saunas for export to the USA, but with an American twist, something that stands out from the rest. It could mean having a sound system, changing colour lights and a screen on the wall where you can watch ESPN sports. They appreciate convenience and comfort, so there's no need to make it too difficult," says Mika.

Fortunately, Kirami products are already designed to be easy to buy and use. With a little modification, they are very well suited to the US market.

- We already have the right idea: we aim to make the sauna as easy to buy as possible, always ready and carefree. The sauna comes as a complete unit to the yard, can be turned on by pushing a button and all parts are easy to clean," Konsta says.


Read more about what was written in the US media about the Wellbeing from Finland event and the saunas:

North American Sauna Society: A Sauna Event in Los Angeles, by Eero Kilpi, Ph.D.

The Knockturnal: Finland’s Famous Sauna Culture Has Arrived in Los Angeles


Watch the Kirami Wellness from Finland video,

- From the Wellbeing from Finland event in Los Angeles.