Ryan Duey, Co-founder & CEO of Plunge


When Ryan Duey’s float therapy studios closed during the pandemic, having time to kill meant exploring new territory. Unsatisfied with cold plunge options, he and his co-founder built their own. Since then, his company Plunge has scaled to over $80M in sales.

Ryan joined us to discuss the motivations behind the brand, why cold plunging has caught on, and the brand’s entry into the sauna segment.

How did you get the idea to start Plunge?

Ryan Duey: When COVID hit the world, it closed our float spas, Capitol Floats. With the newfound time, we looked at the market for cold water therapy and realized there wasn’t a single affordable or visually appealing product we’d be happy to have at our homes.

Sparking the idea for a cold plunge, my co-founder [Michael Garrett] started building and designing the first product in his garage, and from there, we took our first steps to share it with others.

How did you grow it into a company?

RD: We initially sold 20 to our float spas. We sent an email about the project to gauge interest and ended up hand-delivering every single unit.

From there, we reinvested all the money we made on the initial run to start building more and more. We set up an ecommerce site and got a ton of traffic very early on, especially from the domain name we chose. After buying TheColdPlunge.com for $10, we were first-page ranking on Google within the first couple months of our business, all with no paid spend.

That initial spike helped us grow. And when we focused on influencer marketing, it made us appear even larger than we were. Taking it one step and one day at a time, we were suddenly shipping hundreds and thousands of cold plunges all over the world.

Why do you think cold plunges have emerged as a daily ritual?

RD: I think cold plunging has gained in popularity for several reasons.

First and foremost, it just works. The feeling afterward for anyone who gets in is indisputable — everyone feels incredible. So, when you can refine that feeling, you naturally want to share your experience with others.

For most, this experience has impacted their life positively, and very few things in this world can do that, especially in such a short window of time — a cold plunge is two minutes.

When you mix that with the current state of the internet, where you can share that immediately at mass impact, it explains why cold plunging has taken the world by storm.

How do you reach your super-user?

RD: In this day and age, multiple channels are important to reaching your core customer.

There is the paid acquisition side—the Google or the Meta—that makes you show up on the internet. Then there’s the organic side, which is partnering with influencers and other brands that have overlapping customer demographics, then shaping a strategy that knits it together.

But, the most important part of connecting with our core customers is through our current customers — they’re the greatest spokespeople you can have. Through exemplary customer support, tech networks, and a world-class experience, we aim to make it a no-brainer for them to share what they think of the product and the company with the world. That’s the exponential effect of taking care of our core customers.

Are cold plunges for everyone?

RD: Overall, I think cold plunging can be for so many different people, for so many different reasons.

But, I also think it’s important for certain individuals that have certain ailments to check with their doctor. Specifically for people who have heart conditions, it’s important to remember that this is a stress on the body. I think of it like working out. If you have a certain ailment, you’re not gonna push it that hard; you need the ease your way into it.

But in that regard, I think physical fitness and movement and working out is for every human — and cold water is very similar to that.

What’s next on the roadmap?

RD: We are always on a mission to disrupt ourselves, developing products that are serving areas that we’re not currently in. Case in point: our commitment to the sauna category, particularly the dry high-heat saunas.

Basically, across our product range, from a price standpoint, from a use-case standpoint, or from a size standpoint, we’re trying to find something that fits a customer no matter their situation.

Launching internationally is also a big part of reaching more customers this year and beyond, as well as the development of our app, which ties our whole ecosystem together.

An endless pursuit, we’re excited about rolling out new features that create a more cohesive experience from the moment you enter our site to the time that you’re cold plunging or using a sauna in your home.

If you’re interested in having your company featured in our Q&A series, send an email to team@fitt.co.

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