Sauna Launch!

Finally, it’s sauna season! 

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who came out to celebrate The Little Red Sauna private launch party. The weather was perfect with some evening rain thrown in to get everyone in the sauna mood. The music from Caroline Cotter was tranquil, O'Brien Wood & Iron LLC got to stoke the fire with Brant & Cochran, The Portland Hunt & Alpine Club provided Scandi-inspired noms, and everyone enjoyed cold brews from Foulmouthed Brewing and Paleta Guy's delightful popsicles after an evening sweat. Even all the happy doggos behaved. I could not have asked for a more perfect evening.

Some things learned:

  • It might be advertised for four to six people, but eleven people can fit in the sauna, depending on how much they like each other and how much they like sauna -- some people really do.

  • Popsicles are 100% the best way to compliment a sauna session cooldown.

  • Children love sauna, especially little red saunas that remind them of cozy playhouses.

  • Rainy days are the best days to embrace sauna and the outdoors.

  • A dog in a sauna is one very special pupper.

The first of many community popup sauna parties start on Sunday, October 6. Come learn about how regular saunas in nature and a little cold water therapy can give you community, digital detox, and improve your mood, sleep, and overall well being. Find more details and book your bench seat through our events page.

Now booking sauna rentals for fall and winter. Email Hannah for more information.

Hannah Hamalainen
The Build

The sauna build - what a story! In early 2018, I had a great idea and a design on paper, but over the past nineteen months it transformed into something better than I ever expected. So many people and local business partners came together over the last few months and in the eleventh hour. Together we created Maine’s first mobile wood-fired sauna.

I started working on the build on my own with help from the Maine Tool Library & the Resilience Hub. Then Mat O’Brien with his gangbuster business O'Brien Wood & Iron LLC showed up, along with his team Ethan Lavendier. It was important to us all to get this project done right the first time with locally sourced and sustainable materials. Maine eastern white cedar for the interior walls and benches was sourced from Tweedie Lumber. Friends from Monson Slate/Sheldon Slate in Monson, ME made the last-minute stove barrier. The City of Portland took our calls and meetings.

Sanding, painting, cleaning, packing. Prepping, driving, unhitching, grinding. Chopping, hauling, whittling, sweeping. Towing stuck trucks.

Thank you for the late nights, flustered emails and text messages, and all-hands-on-deck attitudes. I’m so glad to have such special mentors, entrepreneurs, friends, family, and neighbors come together.

Hannah Hamalainen
Life after Top Gun + Summer Sauna Tour

Amazing. There have been few times in my life I feel I can say that word and mean it for it’s true defintion: Awe. Wonder. Great beyond expectation. This is the feeling I am left with after four months of Top Gun. These are the entreprenuers who support each other, listen when needed and give advice when asked, celebrate each others successes, and empathize with work-life balance challenges.

The Little Red Sauna had it’s finest pitch at regionals, and while we did not make it to the showcase, we were lucky to see two fearless Portland entreprenuers Sticky Sweet and Hornet Watersports move on. We — the whole Portland group — felt nothing but pride and compersion for Sticky Sweet when they WON the 25K prize! Be sure to check them out this Summer 2019 as they open their first store to compliment their already successful icecream grocery retail business.

We have lots in store this summer. Soft launch summer tour of Maine + five weddings, three festivals, and a family reunion. Be sure to check back to see how we’re doing. We’ll be at the Old Port Festival, Portland Pride, Midsommers Festival, and a handful of other events.


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What goes into a pitch (or Top Gun update)

If you google “pitch deck” or "how to pitch investors", you’re going to find thousands of Silicon Valley opinion pieces written by male TechStars. Not the greatest fodder for reading nor always appropriate for a Maine audience. Thankfully, the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs’ Top Gun Maine program has done a lot of the work in pitch practicing for us, by aggregating information and giving us forums to practice and finetune our pitch. In March we had a live pitch demonstration from Kristel Hayes of Fibher, a custom apparel company. We’ve been working on our 1-minute, 3-minute, and 5-minute pitches in preparation for the Top Gun Portland Top Gun Pitch-Off & Showcase. It’s humbling, painful, and great learning experience to pay attention to your body and your visual cues.

A few things learned:

  • Gender matters. Statistically, investors are 60% more likely to invest in male-owned companies than female entrepreneurs. Women own 39 percent of all businesses in the US, but female entrepreneurs get only two percent of venture funding.

  • Practice, practice, practice.10x times a day or more. Record yourself, and practice in the mirror.

  • Earn the attention of your audience. An investor should love your business in the first 5 minutes.

  • If you want advice, ask for money. If you want money, ask for advice. To succeed, you will need both.

  • Prepare for the unknown. Every investor will focus on different aspects of the business. I found this Y Combinator flashcard-style interview pitch deck preparation to be helpful  

Up next: I’ll be pitching the Little Red Sauna at the Portland Top Gun Pitch-Off Event on May 9th, 2019!