Let’s sell some hot tubs in America
Kirami has opened the door to the US market by launching a sales pilot with Almost Heaven Saunas – a company founded in 1998 as a hot tub company that soon evolved into a barrel sauna company.
“In 2019 we were acquired by the Harvia Group but continued to operate under the Almost Heaven Saunas brand “, says Rick Mouw, the company founder, and continues:
“Today, we sell barrel saunas, indoor saunas, cabin saunas, sauna accessories, Harvia heaters, and soon – Kirami tubs! “
Americans, saunas, and hot tubs
Rick fondly remembers his own first true sauna experience with the Harvia sales team in Finland many years ago: smoke sauna, hole in the ice, birch branches… the real deal! Nowadays Rick has his own wood-fired sauna that he uses 4–5 times a week.
“I love it. I like the relaxation and the burst of steam from the water on rocks.”
For most Americans, there are still things to learn about saunas.
“They are learning the difference between a traditional sauna and an infrared one, and between wet and dry saunas. Most hotels and health clubs do not get their saunas hot and do not let you throw water on the stones, so there is much to learn!”
For Finns, sauna is a holistic experience with hot and cold temperatures, food and drinks, and fellowship with others.
“Americans see sauna as an event: in, out, and done. Their typical way of relaxing is time for family, barbeque, and a nice cold beer. In the summer Americans love the outdoors, beaches and boating!”
When it comes to hot tubs, Americans are very familiar with electric spas, but the barrel style wood-fired tub is an untapped market.
“The hot tub is a great compliment to the sauna experience, and one which we will promote as a great add-on to the backyard sauna experience.”
Same philosophies and ideas
Almost Heaven Saunas and Kirami are today part of Harvia Group, but that’s not the only thing they have in common.
“I wanted to meet Mika Rantanen because I heard so much about him! Once Kirami became part of the Harvia Group, their hot tubs became a natural extension of our current business that can be sold alongside our saunas, so it was time to meet Mika. I think we share the same philosophies and ideas with Kirami, so the cooperation will be great! “
Rick fondly recalls his Kirami visit in Finland in October 2021.
“I was treated to saunas, hot tubs, great food, and wonderful insight on the Kirami products. The visit was very productive, and I was treated very professionally. And, I have some new great friends! “
Have a sauna like a Finn and say “löyly”
Rick from Almost Heaven Saunas (US) had a genuine Finnish sauna experience in Finland with friends from Kirami – and with ‘löyly”’! See the Kirami FinVision sauna in action and hear what real ‘löyly’ sounds like.
Holland, town of the Tulip Festival
Almost Heaven Saunas has a sales office in Holland, Michigan, and a new state-of-the-art sauna factory in Lewisburg, West Virginia. The company employs nearly 60 people and manufactures nearly 10,000 saunas a year.
Rick lives in Holland, which is a town of approximately 50,000 people. The surrounding area has nearly 200,000 people. Holland is known for its Dutch heritage.
“We have an annual Tulip Festival which has parades, millions of tulips, and hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world! We are also a large manufacturing community, with many larger companies supplying the auto industry, office furniture industry, and large amounts of tool and die work.”
In Finland, Michigan is known as the state where lots of Finns emigrated in the early 20th century. Are there any Finns or people with Finnish roots living in the Holland area today?
“No, we don’t let any Finns into our city. Of course, I’m joking! Actually, the upper part of Michigan does have a larger Finnish population, as does northern Wisconsin and Minnesota. As a result, there is more of a sauna culture in these areas.”