Today, I’m joined by Robbie Bent, co-founder and CEO of Othership, a digital and in-person platform at the intersection of physical recovery and mental health.
Othership combines a flagship sauna & ice bath studio with a breathwork-focused mobile app to affect positive change, and address the problem of loneliness and the detrimental effects it has on individual and collective health. Through “peak experiences,” Othership stokes the belonging and interconnectivity that animates the human experience for a more joy-filled life and living.
In this episode, we discuss Othership’s app and studio offerings. We talk about why breathwork, ice baths, and saunas are moving into the mainstream. Robbie also explains how Othership creates social wellness experiences that foster connection and emotional health.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- How to take your idea from concept to reality
- How Othership is scaling its business model
- How Robbie overcame prospective clients’ initial skepticism
- How Othership creates transformative experiences for their customers
Links & Resources
- Subscribe to the Fitt Insider newsletter
- Visit the Fitt Insider jobs board
- View current Fitt Insider investment and get in touch
Robbie Bent’s Links
- Othership’s website
- Follow Othership on Twitter
- Othership is on Instagram
- Check out the Othership app
- Follow Robbie on Twitter
This is a machine-generated transcript. Please excuse any errors.
If you think of the bathhouse, every culture since the beginning of time, outside of North America, has them. The Japanese have the onsen. In Mexico they have the temazcal. Indigenous cultures have the sweat lodge. In ancient Rome they had the the bathhouse. In Europe these are on every corner, and it’s just becoming clear: it’s the best thing you can do for longevity.
Welcome back to the Fitt Insider podcast. I’m your host, Joe Vennare.
Today I’m joined by Robbie Bent, Co-Founder and CEO of Othership, a digital and in-person platform focused on peak emotional experiences. In this episode we discuss the company’s app and studio offerings. We talk about why breathwork, ice baths, and saunas are moving into the mainstream. Robbie also explains how Othership creates social wellness experiences that foster connection and emotional health.
Let’s get into it.
Hi, Robbie, welcome to Fitt Insider. Thanks for joining us.
Thanks. Happy to be here.
I’m looking forward to today’s conversation. I think there’s so much interesting stuff we can get into.
Kicking things off quickly for the listeners, if they’re not familiar, maybe just introduce yourself and tell us about Othership.
Yeah, it’s a dream to be here, man. I’ve been following you for years. I’ve been following health and wellness, and I see the big names like solidcore, Barry’s, and CrossFit, and listening to how these businesses are built. And so it’s kind of a dream things are happening so fast that you invited me. So, a lot of gratitude.
Othership, amazing. What we’re trying to do is create a new way for people to shift their nervous system and control their emotional response. We do that through peak experiences that inspire childlike awe, and also belonging.
So, you think like, “Okay, this is a fitness show, what is this guy talking about? How do they deliver? What’s a peak experience? What does it mean to inspire awe and belonging?” So we’re going to get into that, but it’s basically a combination physical and digital footprint. All of these peak experiences teach you to control your nervous system.
And so what’s a peak experience, breath work, right? And we’ll get into the science around that sauna ice bath, things that are pushing the nervous system, allowing you to ramp up your state or move down your state. And so other shift. Which we worked on, it started as a nice path and in a backyard and then became a garage space.
And it’s one that we’ve just opened in Toronto is a first of its kind custom designed 50%. Massive sound system, crazy stove and four ice baths, also custom designed. And in that sauna and ice, we’ve went a step beyond what exists and created programming. So imagine, you know, this beautiful spa like space that feels like a boutique hotel or Soho house.
And then inside your favorite fitness teacher is guiding you through. Breathwork soundbath meditation’s visualization, vocal, toning. We kind of curate a whole bunch of different modalities that help people process emotion in a community-driven way. And so, you know, imagine a whole group doing breath, work together, bringing up a moment of anger, the lights go out, everybody screams, lets go of that anger together.
But it’s fun. It’s exciting. It feels inspiring. It feels cool. And so that’s, you know, there’s four or five classes a day, which is sort of like a fitness studio. But then at night it’s more like a bar. And so my background, I struggled for a long time with alcohol and drug addiction, and I always wanted a place to go that wasn’t based around alcohol.
So people who are listening, if you go to, you know, Soul Cycle and Barry’s, if you’re into meditation, if you’re into psychedelic medicines, the days of, Hey, I want to go out and have five beers or three bottles of wine, like entrepreneurs, people into productivity. They don’t want that anymore. But also where do you get.
8:00 PM to midnight, you know, you’re a, biohacker you care about longevity. There’s no space. So the space itself is these classes for emotional resilience. And once you’ve done a class, you’re like really bought it. And like, you feel some kind of transformation. You see 15 people around you crying. And you feel like, fuck, this is gonna change my life.
And then at night it’s a social. So it’s a new place to hang out with your friends, new place to host a birthday party, new place to go instead of that dinner or drinks, new place to go on a date. So that’s basically Othership. It’s this, it’s this new style of space, this new style of class. And what we like to say is that it’s going to make, you know, therapy, excessive.
So a lot of my friends, you know, they’re 20, 30, 40 year old range. And like, I, you know, how do you feel? I’m fine. And they’re really addicted to their phone. They would never want to go to therapy, but they do want to work on their emotions. And a lot of them like, yeah, go to fitness class. I’m in Quito. My diet’s on point, my sleep’s on point.
And it’s like, what do you do for your mental health? What do you mean? You know, and I think it’s becoming now cool or normal to focus on your emotions. We want to make that community driven. So that’s sort of the mission. And so it’s a physical space and then also an app. And so I have a background in meditation.
I’ve done a number of 10 day. And for a long time, meditation psychedelics helped me with addiction. And I tried to get friends into those things. And it just was like, you know, I downloaded comm I downloaded Headspace. I used it for a week. I’m sitting down, I have all these thoughts nothing’s happening.
You know, now it’s on my phone. I feel guilty. And so it just, it was a real struggle, especially for a lot of Type A fitness style customers, entrepreneurs, people who are burnt out, they’re always on their phone. Meditation is a really hard first. And psychedelic medicines are illegal. And so through doing Wim Hoff at first and going to these crazy outdoor, you know, massive cold plunge events, started getting really into breath work and saw the effect it can have.
And so our meditation is awareness. Breath work is changing your nervous system state. So like ramping up ramping down on command and under 10 minutes. And so we saw that as like a really nice. Entryway that in a single session, listening to your favorite music, you could change your state.
And so we, we found this way of like, what I think is going to be the future of behavior change, where you have the space you go to socially, you make these friends who are interested in living a healthier life, and then you have an app with daily practice at home, and then you have your community. And so we’re seeing this as like now a massive vision to kind of reduce loneliness and help people make behavioral change.
There’s so many different aspects of health and wellness and, you know, mental. And all these things wrapped up into what you’re talking about and as you’re going through it, I just think of all the trends that have kind of like laid the foundation for something like Othership. Right. It’s like there was a time when yoga and meditation and mindfulness, this was like, so fringe that nobody was doing it, people were, you know, kind of making fun of, people who are doing yoga and the studios that were opening, not like.
15, 20 years ago, like it was not a mainstream thing. And the same thing when you start to think about like the number of people that are focusing on biohacking and keto and longevity, and now emotional resilience and all these things kind of coming together in a way where you. Yeah, we can combine those into a, you know, social wellness experience would be, as people don’t want to drink and like, they want to have these, you know, kind of come together around living a healthier lifestyle, or at least engaging in a way where it’s like, not purely based on drinking or drugs.
So you, you kind of hinted at it a little bit, as you were explaining it, like, oh, this started as like. Backyard garage kind of like one-offs, can you just talk about like how you make that jump from I’m doing this and I’m personally experimenting with, or, you know, forming these habits to like, oh, now I can have the physical locations and the app to actually do this with other people.
Yeah. And it’s, it’s wild. Like I was a tech entrepreneur for a really long time. I worked in the Ethereum ecosystem. that was a wild ride. And, you know, prior to the Ethereum ecosystem, I lost a company. I struggled with addiction. I went through the dark night of the soul, you know, sold my apartment. My car lived back in my parents’ basement.
Just had this really like Rockwell. Moments. And it caused me to search for like, how do I, how do I heal? And at the time, like eight years ago, just wasn’t really clear, like people weren’t talking about psychedelics. And so I went and I tried, you know, rehabs and all kinds of different, counseling and therapy, and finally got into meditation psychedelics.
And right after that, I met my wife who just supported me and kind of started getting me into this health stuff and, and joined Ethereum and my life. Turned around. And so I started being obsessed with, okay, you know, I have this meditation psychedelics practice. I want to teach people. And what happened was I’m because I was sober.
I didn’t want to be in restaurants or bars. And so I’d always go to bath houses in San Francisco. I lived in Berlin conferences, we’d grab like 30 people and like, Hey, you want to go into the sauna? And we were, we were doing this because we’d heard like Dave Asprey, Rhonda, Patrick, I think Rhonda Patrick was the first person I heard, like really promoting it, you know?
And that’s where I heard about Wim Hoff and was kind of like. Yeah, a third date, me and my wife, she’s like, let’s go and do like the sauna. And so we went to one in the back of a strip mall and we’re like, this is fucking amazing. And so, you know, through that learned about Wim Hoff got into cold water, did the breathwork training and my shower didn’t go cold enough.
So we ended up just bootstrapping an ice bath in my backyard, myself, and like five of my best friends, my wife, and three others who are now our co-founders our co-founding team. And every night we would just have people over ice bath fire, and like things started to shift. We thought it was like a health practice.
And then we saw it’s actually a meditation practice because. The neuro epinephrin and the brain triples. So you’re, you know, you’d have a lawyer who has looked at their phone every 10 minutes for like the last 20 years. And they get in there and all their to do lists, just fade, like someone doesn’t care about spirituality is just like, wow, I’m I’m here.
I’m like present. I’m thinking now about my daughter and my emotions, like what is happening? And so then we realized, okay, maybe it’s a meditation practice. And then as we saw groups of people like hanging out, we kind of felt like, well, this can actually be a class. And so we started experimenting with like sound bowls and different aroma therapy and essential oils and different meditation techniques in the cold and dunking your head and, you know, getting to shivering point letting go and maybe screaming and then breath work.
And, you know, then it went from, okay, we Elyria 300 neighbors. Coming every day and just hanging out in my backyard, I’m drinking coffee and where I’d go out and there’s a crew just hanging out. It’s okay. This is cool. And so the winter comes along and we’re like, okay, what are we going to do? So I had a freestanding garage.
It was just like a woodworking shop. As we put in a sauna, a cold plunge and like our own coal punch that we built and a tea room. And. My sister came, she said, okay, I think you could just like put this on mind, body and people will start coming. So no, like didn’t really think too much about it. No permit just kind of hacked together, like a little landing page with the mind body booking app.
And it grew to, 2000 people just through word of mouth. And so like little side project doing 20 grand a month while I’m working at a theorem and we’re just loving it. Like people are starting to date, they’re becoming friends and the classes get more and more elaborate. So, you know, we go in the sauna, turn out the lights, everyone brings up a moment of anger, as I mentioned, and like screams and then shares like what they were angry with.
And. Like people, you would never expect, you know, the nerdy engineer, archetype, like sharing his feelings, the like gruff biker type guy, like sharing about what love means. And so we just saw it kind of opened. Open something and people, and it gave us the passion to like try to make something bigger. And so, you know, next thing that happened COVID hits.
And so obviously we have to shut down. And so we’re all like super bombed, like, is this the right thing? Oh my God. People need this more than ever. And so we started offering the same breath work we were doing in this space online. To our community for free. And we just, every day, you know, new breathwork session and we kind of invented one for Friday nights, cause people were like feeling at home.
So we would put on like really good electronic music where it was kind of like a dance breathwork and. Went nuts. You know, people like, oh my God, I want the recording. So we put the recordings on YouTube. It became a course. people were paying for the course and then they, you know, we got to a thousand users and a hundred grand revenue and people were like, can you make this an app?
I use it every day. And so we were kind of like, okay, well it’s COVID or our physical businesses on. Let’s see if we can make an app. And the cool thing about it. My partner is a musician and DJ, and so it’s really music driven and, and what makes it accessible is like your breathing to the music. So for a lot of people who struggle to meditate, you’re just listening to this music that you would, you know, do while cooking or walking and you follow along and you can either boost your state, like press the gas pedal or.
Press the brake. And for many people who have never been able to meditate, they got it. And so we launched the app and then when the first vaccine came out, it was like, okay, our community is super pumped. We’ve got thousands of people that are just. In love. Like, if it feels like a movement, you know, it feels like their lives are being changed and it’s having such an impact.
And so we’re like, let’s go like, it’s time. Let’s, let’s get a space let’s open. And we timed it perfectly. So right. As the restrictions lifted, we opened three months ago and the space is like triple our projections. It’s full the community we had. We had two weeks ago, we put out a call of like, Hey, winters.
Let’s get the community together for free cold plunge and 500 people showed up for an outdoor winter. Breathwork cold plunge, I think is the largest one, like actual ice bath in the world. And everybody was in a giant circle with like drone footage. And people were like, man, I can’t wait. Like this is, this is it.
This is healthy socializing. And this is community. And so you have more and more excited than ever, but it’s just so nice. Cause it all happened. Organically, whereas like other startups. So it was like, oh, I want to make money. I’ve got to push, like, what’s the business model. And this one was just, you know, the five founders, it’s all our passion stuff we do every day.
We just were kind of like, you know, trying to help people. So it’s been so organic.
Yeah, I can say the, video of the group cold plunge is pretty epic. I know you had sent that around. I don’t know if it’s available just like online or whatever, but folks should check that out if it is. and I can speak to, you know, I’ve tried I journal, which is kind of a different practice and. I tried to meditate, but I always felt like, like I’m doing it, but I’m not sure that anything’s happening.
And I think that’s, as I talked to more and more people, you know, some folks have that experience as well using Othership and doing breath work, not to just like totally pump the app, but you actually. Like you feel the difference. And so when I do it, I’m like, oh, I know that that worked because I just felt whatever change inside of me is you talked about the nervous system and the behavioral change and the shift, like it’s pretty evident.
So it’s hard to, you know, not say like, oh, I don’t know if this worked or what, what was the reason why I did that? Or should I keep doing this? But thinking about, so now it all comes together. You have kind of the physical space. And even at this point, you know, 500 people are meeting up to take the cold plunge.
And even as we’ve talked about a little bit, it’s almost like people are already making like a little mini pilgrimage to come see you in the space. and Toronto, what does it look like as you think about like building. go-forward with a brick and mortar locations and the in real life experience. now that you kind of have that momentum at your back.
Yeah. So the first thing was like, this concept doesn’t exist, right? It’s like this idea of emotional wellness using the hot and cold is the container. And nobody’s doing this in north America. So it’s a, it’s a, you know, fully open opportunity. And if you think of the bath house in general, Every single culture.
Since the beginning of time outside of north America, you know, the Finnish Japanese have the onset in Mexico, the 10 Pascal indigenous cultures, the sweat lodge in ancient Rome, the bathhouse in Russia, the banya like, you know, in Europe, these are on every corner and it’s just becoming clear. It’s the best thing you can do for longevity.
Like it’s legitimately up there with fasting as the best. You can do for extending health span. And there’s tons of research on this from David Sinclair and Andrew Huberman. And so it’s like, okay, the opportunity is vast. And for us we’re like, well, you know, I’ve spent a lot of time exploring, like how do we launch in the U S we just hit go this week.
We’ve hired an amazing national broker. And we’re exploring spaces in both New York and LA with a goal to open in both like pretty much ASAP. And we have this really unique thing we do is these. Breathwork concerts. And so they’re also a first of their kind, and the idea was, you know, you’re out on a Friday night and you’re going out with 12 friends and everybody wants to party and it might be weird to go to a space sober.
So you kind of need something. And so we throw these concerts with like amazing musicians where you’ll come in, you’ll meet, you’ll do a group share. You might do a bit of journaling. You put on a blindfold. And you’ll breathe along for 90 minutes to your favorites fat. And it will cause a state change, emotional release.
It will create space. It’s almost like a psychedelic like, experience, but it’s very safe and accessible and we’ll, we’ll show up with, you know, a number of facilitators. And then afterwards, everybody will. And the experience happens sober. And so we’re going to LA in two weeks to do a 10 of these shows with the intent that like the shows are just free.
It’s something we can give to the community there. It builds a hype and we get a thousand emails. And then with those a thousand emails, we gift the app to everybody who comes and just like, Hey yeah, like take this app, you know, it’s going to help you. And it makes a nice touchpoint with our brand. And then around that, it starts to see.
The building of real community for the physical spaces. So my goal in the end, my vision is like this exists in every major city. There’s a community channel. Like what we’re seeing now is our top hundred members. The magic moment is yes, the ice bath and the sauna and the classes. But if they also make. A new friend there and that space, something really special happens.
And same. You see this with like CrossFit, right? It’s like such a good, solid community. Cause people come all the time. So now we’re using Discord and we’ve onboarded our top 200 members. People who’ve come like once a month, four times a month, 12 times a month bought a 20 with people. Who’ve already come 50 times in two months.
And so we put them all together. We throw these VIP parties where it’s just free and everyone comes into discord. And now you have your crew, you know, as people are sharing their. Cold punch times the different classes they went to. so the goal is to replicate that where you have. You know, 30 of these spaces, you have this app for your, at home time where you can tap in when you can’t go to the space and then you have this community.
So, you know, you’re in LA, you come to New York and it’s like, I really want to be around people who are healthy and like, you know, who are into meditation and psychiatric medicines and biohacking, like where do I find my crew? Because if you think about social spaces, like sports games, bars, concerts, these are all driven by alcohol.
And for the longest time, alcohol was like the lubricant for. Events and like that’s changing now. And so if it’s changing and people don’t want alcohol, what do you do? And that design space is, is empty because it just, there hasn’t been enough people. And so in the last 10 years, I’ll use all these things you happen are growing at exponential scale.
And so I really see a world where there’s like a bedrock for people to hang out and then a community for those people. And so that’s kind of the expansion plan is like, you know, New York, LA concert tours. Bringing everyone together and like making it accessible for them.
The flywheel as you’re describing, that certainly makes sense. As you think about powering that and what does it look like to potentially onboard them and engage them and how they’re staying engaged outside of. Physical locations or maybe when traveling. but an important part of all this, as you think about continuing to expand is, what does the business model look like?
How do you continue to monetize? And so when you’re talking about something like, you know, things that come to mind, boutique fitness studios, or a CrossFit. Pretty clear with the memberships and the build-outs and they have the instructor training, right? So all that is very replicable from place to place. Are you kind of approaching it that same way in terms of like, Hey, this is how we build out and develop the location. This is how we train and onboard instructors. And this is what the classes can potentially look like as you continue to grow.
Yeah. So we have legit like hundreds of pages of training documents. My partners are just experts in this. And so they’ve built an entire training program from scratch, combining things from. Holding space, you know, emotional trauma response. If somebody goes in the icebound and starts crying, how do you hold that space from, you know, breathwork techniques from like choosing your music in your class from making people feel safe.
We have an emotional coach that like trains all our people. So we’ve been really obsessed with this idea. Like I used to do landmark form training and just really like this idea of like personal growth. And it’s kind of in our DNA as people who started with. Meditation and therapy and being at rock bottom and trying to get better.
And so one thing where I see our businesses, not as a franchise business scale and quick scale is not as important to me as product. Like I want to look back in 10, 20 years and have the impact of like, you know, a Barry’s bootcamp has had and whatever you say about berries, the quality of every location.
Is on point, the instructors are on point that when they go into a space, they own it and it’s top quality. And so I really want to maintain that in our DNA because what we’re doing, I think is so important for the user. And so like we take the training, the design, for example, of our space, we went to 70 bathhouses, worldwide, took notes from each one, we looked at like four.
Different sets of tiles for like how they feel on your feet. Are they too slippery? Are they comfortable? Can you be in here in bare feet? What is the smell? My partner, Harry designed custom incense and smells for the space. So like every, we, we did this art review where each of us wrote down our 15 star experience from like you open the door.
What does the door feel like on your hand? You know, what is the greeting people use? What are the, what is the it’s just so. We’re so in love with the product and care so much about the results. And like the designer was like, I’ve never seen a hundred page design, brief, like, what’s wrong with you guys.
You’re insane. But then she loved it. She liked, cause it shows like how much you care. Then the employees, you know, our, our crew mates, we call them our super, just, they know it’s like so important. and so I think in terms of scaling, we’re thinking about like training everyone in Toronto, you come up for two weeks, a hundred hours.
Training program, just like, you know, Where it’s half on personal development and half on hot, cold breath work, holding space. And then the classes, how it works. It’s so cool. Like we allow people there’s things they have to master, but then they can bring in their own creativity. So we have like a Chinese medicine expert come in.
And he made a Chinese medicine class. So it was partly sauna ice bath, but then Oregon massage. So it was one hour self Chinese medicine class. And so we’d like to leave things, leave room open for creativity. If you’re a hypnotist, perhaps you could do some self-hypnosis along with the hot and cold, if you’re a meditation expert, a meditation class.
So there’s some allowance for people to be creative, but then also very, the brand itself has very clear guidelines and core values. So. The session was like inspire. Right. Inspiring Oz, like our main thing. What does that, what is that? It means like, making people feel like they did as a child before all these crazy things, it’s like the magic and wonder of being a child cellular commitment, which is it’s hard.
You know, the ice bath people are probably listening. Like, what’s this guy talking about scary, like who wants to do that? It’s, it’s tough. It’s about like the work and that’s what it takes to transform. And then it’s building. So being in community, you know, going through this stuff together, which is important.
Cause I think a lot of mental health now it’s oh, I went to this clinic on my own to see a therapist. Why can’t I go and like improve together? And so those core values, that’s how we hire. That’s how we promote, you know, that’s how we train. That’s where we give our shout outs. so that’s kind of how I’m thinking about the.
Yeah, as you’re talking about this, and you mentioned like maybe somebody listening, who’s like, man, what is he talking about? and I’m sure you encounter that a lot. And as you know, I’m thinking about both. You know, kind of personal experiences doing some of these things and certainly you describe it.
How important is it that you are conveying some of the more kind of intricate or science-backed, aspects of this, you know, because there is a lot in terms of research that’s being done, and you mentioned a bunch of different folks who are kind of pioneering the space and talking about it. And so there’s that aspect about learning and understanding and continuing to kind of lean into the science, but then there’s the, you know, when you go to Barry’s bootcamp or when you are, I also kind of liken it to, you know, kind of better for you food and beverage brands.
They’re not like pushing that fact on you, that they are better for you, but they’re trying to kind of like slip it in there and blend that together. So it’s like, yes, it is better, but it’s still. Good. Same thing with, you know, the boutique experience. It’s an amazing experience. You have community, you have the outcomes and the results, but yeah, there is a lot of kind of science that goes into it.
How do you think about balancing those two things?
So I think the science can be external to the experience. So if you think of your customer journey, right, like they’re seeing your Instagram. So on a real, you can talk about the science. They’re seeing an email funnel. So you can have a video describing that generally in the experience itself. We don’t talk too much.
We’re just like, all you need to know now is that this is extremely good for you. It’s going to reduce inflammation. It’s going to improve the immune system. It’s the number one thing you can do as, as discussed by like leading neuroscientists longevity specialist in the world. So we just get that point across that, like the science is there and that’s usually enough within the experience.
Now, something I think is really important about this in general is a lot of times. Wellness can be non-accessible. So when you get into the spiritual, the dogmatic, some of the woo stuff, which I’m all for, it can turn people off. And so we took a different tack and just said, you know what? The experience will speak for itself.
You go into a two minute ice bath, you’re going to feel it. You may have, you know, you may release trauma. You may start to cry. You may feel super alive. And so that in itself, Need to be explained. So what we decided was look, we’re going to be very science-based in all our communication. Every instructor needs to know what’s happening at the cellular level and both the hot and cold, but we’re also going to then infuse the experience with like fun.
And that’s really the main thing is that, you know, all these points of design. Inspires awe. And then the final thing where we really decided to be specialist is in emotion. And so everybody understands anger and guilt and shame and compassion and gratitude. So when we’re teaching, we’re talking about, emotions that are universal and moving away from a lot of wellness that has been religious or spiritual based.
And we found that that way it’s accessible for everybody. So if you want to bring a spiritual practice to it, great, we invite you to enjoy, but it’s very much. Non-prescriptive. And so I think it’s kind of something new versus 10 years ago, where I’m the coach, this is the way follow the rules. We’re just like, Hey, this is how we use the space.
Everyone uses it differently. These are the options. This is the science, here’s the facts. And like you use the space on your own, you know, if you want to come in for a completely silent in the dark meditation. Great. If you want to come in Friday night for a dance party. Awesome. If you want to like me personally, I love the upper classes, so I like really deep breath work, the screaming, the vocal toning, like the loud electronic music.
I like getting hyped. That’s that’s my vibe. But then there’s people that come in and do Tai Chi and sound and, and, you know, are more into the silent introspective vibe. And so we’re trying to allow, so here’s the building blocks and here’s the invitation and you make of the journey, what you will, and we feel that’s more in line with where the world is going.
Yeah, I think it makes a lot of sense. How have you, to this point. You know, if you think about going out and potentially trying to raise money or going out and meeting with maybe brokers as you’re getting into some of the larger cities or even. Consumers users who are encountering this and you for the first time, you, you, you mentioned like you don’t want to be prescriptive and you, you don’t necessarily want to push the science or even the Wu wellness aspects of it.
How do you kind of deal with that initial pushback? Or how do you combat that? You know, maybe somebody’s initial response, which has to be like, ah, this isn’t for me, or this is kind of too far out there.
So it’s funny because I’ve been selling this vision for three years. And when I started, it was an ice bath and a backyard, and I went to every restaurant, every personal trainer, please, man, you got to come. It’s amazing. You know, and, and just like Hawking your wares. Like, come on. Like, I know it’s, it’s changed my life. And so a lot of people resonate who could see themselves as like, oh, I used to be a partier. I used to be addicted. I used to be an entrepreneur. I had. Okay. Like, I’ll come, you know? And so they really resonated with that, but it was a grind. And then it’s like, try this. Breathwork it’s a web platform with like a few downloads and people are like, what are you talking about?
And I’m, you know, Hey, this is changing lives because I was seeing the people who came like, you know, I’m really passionate about addiction. And there’s a number of friends I had who were struggling with drug use and are sober now. And like messaging me saying this actually changed my life. And I will do this for the rest of my.
Weekly. And so, you know, kind of saw, I knew it would work like our whole team knew, but you’re telling people and you’re like, yeah, we’re going to do these 50 person sauna classes. And I guarantee everyone listening now is like, what is this? Talking about like, what is the sauna class? I’ve been to one at my gym.
Like it doesn’t exist. And so it was just building it. And so what we did to start, we just gave free sessions. You know, we went out to a thousand people. We knew in our network that we knew were like cool people that matched our three values and we just sent them passes and said, you know what? We have this experience, the first two weeks were just completely free come.
Not only that we’re going to invite people and gift them with a $200 gift certificate on your behalf. And so everyone we’re saying like, Hey, send us three or five friends that you think match these values. And so we scaled our concept from the garage. 2000 members just through like gifting. And then from there, the word of mouth took over.
And so imagine an experience you show up on a Friday night and it’s a couples plunge we did on Valentine’s day. And you have you and your partner in the sauna breaking down your barriers, thinking about the best moment you did for the other person and the time when they supported you the most, then you go on the ice bath together, you do an eye-gaze you lock in and you say, I love you.
I forgive you. Thank you. Then you warm up with a hug and people are like, Like, I didn’t even know that this was a possible thing. And they were like, man, I was going to go out for dinner with a bottle of wine. This is the most connected. I felt like every single couple crying. And so you think of what happens the next day at work?
What do people say? You know, they’re not saying like, oh, the science and it’s skeptical. They’re saying like, I just saved my relationship. And so it’s just, what we’ve seen is people come in and the space is beautiful. They want to share naturally. And so it just has been something that I’m actually shocked at how fast and how.
Much people want to share. And it’s just a Testament to when you give people an experience that is truly exceptional and transformational, like they’re going to talk about it. You know, I was in, I’m going to one tonight actually is my favorite session. My favorite facilitators, it’s called the rose thorn bud.
And it’s a classic meditation technique where, you know, the rose is the best Monier year ice ball with rose essential oil, waving a towel around you’re smelling it. You’re doing breath work. And then it’s the. Something you want to let go, the song goes completely dark. And so you’re bringing up your most challenging moment and then they’re playing a gong.
So it was just, whoa, whoa, whoa. And then, you know, it’s like, okay, we’re all gonna scream and let go together. And you see people in there who are like 65 year old retirees, you know, you see investment bankers, you see everything and everyone’s in together screaming. And then all of a sudden candle light comes on and it’s your bud.
So beautiful music is playing. And it’s your attention for the year? You walk out of there and you’re like, what just happened? And you tell everyone, you know, cause, cause there’s no such thing as like an emotional regulation space that’s done in community. Like it doesn’t exist. So it’s been really interesting because it’s almost impossible to get somebody to understand this just like via a podcast.
But as soon as they see it on like Instagram, they’re sharing it. As soon as they do it, they tell everyone they know.
Yeah, I believe that. And I, I’ve kind of seen that firsthand in terms of some of the videos and the content that you’re putting out on Instagram. When you think about, as we get towards the end of the conversation and you know, one of the other things I wanted to ask, and maybe the answer is. Fairly obvious, but you know, for someone like myself, I’m in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, there’s not places like anOthership.
I have used the app, in terms of. where to start, how to engage or how to learn more, not specifically about Othership, but just in general, about like down this path that they hear you talking and you’re like, yeah, this is super interesting. I would like to maybe learn more or experience this, but maybe don’t have direct access to it.
What do you kind of say to those people?
So the first thing is reach out. You know, my, my Twitter is open for DMS. It’s at Robbie bent one. And so we talk a lot about. Our obsession is not enlightenment. There’s a lot of stuff that exists there. Our obsession is your first step and it’s making it accessible and fun and community driven for somebody.
Who’s just like, Hey, I’m overwhelmed, you know, and it’s okay. You don’t have to even admit your feelings. It’s just, I’m on my phone all day. I work 12 hours a day. I have demands with my family. I’m always busy. Like if that’s you, and you’re thinking like every day I wake up, I’ve got my a hundred tasks.
It’s never off that. I’m looking at social media or your nervous system is so. So I’m obsessed with this. Like what is the first step for that person? And so I think the first is, you know, you’re in Pennsylvania, you can download the app, you can use it. There’s a free trial. You can start to test what it feels like to create space.
And so whether it’s with breath, work or meditation, or just a walk, you know, once per day, start to notice what it feels like for 10 minutes. Phone away creating like a little tiny bit of space. The next thing you can do is like change your nervous system state through exercise through hot cold. So, you know, can you afford a, infrared sauna in your house?
If not, is there a gym nearby where you can do a sauna little hack is, you know, putting in your headphones and you can actually do our breath work in the sauna for like a bit of an added boost to kind of really feel the change. And the third is like, what’s simple as cold. You know, morning shower, turning your shower all the way cold.
You’re going to triple their up and effort in the brain is responsible for mood, attention, vigilance your body saying, Hey, be aware. So it’s like that morning coffee that morning, kick that feeling of being alive. And what I want to get across is that. In that 10 minutes of walking or exercise. And most people listen, probably know like exercise, that feeling of flow state.
And that’s why they love it. I go for a run every day. I’ve got to do my CrossFits because of that feeling. You get that feeling. It comes from, you know, being an artist, playing sports, a hot cold. And so whenever you can weave those moments into your. Go for it. So I would listen again, like which of those things can I weave into my day?
Is it a cold shower? Is it a sauna locally? Is it, a walk, you know, is it doing a bit of breath work and then that’s one piece and then the next piece is finding community. So most cities now it’s popping up, like in Toronto, there’s three separate communities. One’s called Unbounded. That’s expanding nationally.
Now let’s check them out. They’re really cool. And they do outdoor cold plunges in the lake, like minus 12. And. Like multi hundred person community getting up and doing this together every day. And it’s like, it’s got that CrossFit level. Like fervor and belief. And so if you’re in Pennsylvania, like, are there like, is there a Wim Hoff, Facebook, is there a cold plunge, like warriors group and start going out in the mornings with people and it’s free, you know, there’s no cost at all.
And so if you’ve got this cold practice that you’re doing a couple of times a week, a little bit of breath here and there, a nice walk, that’s a really good starting point. And then the one thing I would say on top of that, and we’ve talked about this as these transformational experiences. And so you can imagine you’re always on your phone for almost everyone now, you know, social work, Slack distractions, every time you look and you see that notification that email your body and brain doesn’t know that it’s not real stress is your fight or flight nervous system.
Jacks up blood flow goes to your brain. Cortisol releases, your breathing patterns, deteriorate. And that’s our state. We’re in 90% of the. When we’re in that state, we’re not in our emotional state, the parasympathetic that’s the state we’re in, you know, blood flow to the organs. We’re eating, we’re laughing.
We’re looking into someone’s eyes, we’re having sex. We’re like engaging. That’s where like life’s fruits are and in our society, because we’re so obsessed with doing we’re just so jacked up. So it’s how do you help? Move into that state and to do that, you need, what’s called dopamine fasting and it’s just time away from screens.
And so if you’ve got your, you know, your, your daily habits dialed in, like, I know you do the next step is can I take a week? And in nature, no fall, just go out there with a book. You know, it’s not like a weekend trip to Vegas to blow off steam. That’s like full stimulation, right. It’s kind of, can I reduce incoming stimulation?
And I think if you do those. And realize how you feel like go away for a weekend, be in a cabin and bring a favorite book, bring nothing else, go with your partner and go for walks. And if you do that in a month and notice how you feel, that’s like step one. And once you’ve noticed it, you know, then you’re like, okay, there’s something here that I want to do more of
Absolutely. I think there’s a lot for folks to take away there and, and dig into. And I know we’ve already covered quite a bit of ground here today. I tried to get to, you know, not only the concept. Lucian, but where it’s going with the brick and mortar side, and also then some of the kind of habit forming to bring it back around to like, Hey, what does this actually mean? How do I do it? How do I make sense of this in my life as like, kind of like a normal person who wants to experience these things?
In wrapping up here, you mentioned folks hit you up on Instagram or Twitter, or just reach out. For anyone who wants to learn more about Othership and follow along with what you’re doing, where would you direct them?
Yeah. You can put the website in the show notes, Othership.us. And then we have an Instagram for our breathwork app. It’s Othership.us/app, and Instagram for our physical spaces if you want to look at them. Last week we had someone drive all the way from Seattle. He heard about me on a podcast and was like, “I have to go do this.”
He’s staying in Toronto for two weeks going every day to the space. So if you want to come to Toronto, come down. As a help request for the audience, we’re aiming to launch in LA and New York, looking at spaces now. I’m going to kick off a fundraising process, soif there’s any interest reach out and let’s chat.
Yeah, check it out. Folks hopefully hit you up and fall along with everything that’s going on. It was awesome getting the chance to do this on the podcast. Looking forward to following along and seeing how things play out. Excited for everything you have going on.
Yeah, I just really, again, appreciate it. It’s kind of a dream. It’s like a milestone when like you follow someone for a long time and then it starts to happen. It just really feels like my dreams are coming true. So, the excitement to be doing what I love, to help people, and to meet you and get your support, yeah, it feels just amazing, man.
Yeah, it means a lot. We’re stoked to get you on here, and excited to share the conversation. Hopefully other folks check out Othership and keep tabs on what you’re doing.