Saunatimes interview series continues.
Please welcome Kristine, owner and founder of Saunagoods. Kristine is all about sauna whisks.
Yes, you are right, in Finland the sauna whisks (also broom) are called Vihta or Vaasta, in Russia they call them Veniks, in Latvia we call them “pirts slota”, in other Baltic states – Estonia and Lithuania the whisks are called in their own names and in their own languages.
Why to use sauna whisk? Well, here, in Northern Europe the sauna without whisk is not imaginable. Massage with sauna whisk boosts blood circulation in the body and produces a substance that kills harmful bacteria. The essential oils from leaves effects as natural body lotion, the skin gets soft and gentle. Moreover the massage with sauna whisk has also function of aromatherapy. Experienced sauna goers use sauna whisk as the second part of their bath procedure. First, they go into the steaming room to open all the pores of their body and cleanse themselves from toxins. Afterwards they take a shower. During this time sauna whisks are soaked in a little tub of water (30 minutes in cold water and afterwards 2 minutes in hot water). Then, after a short rest, a person goes back into the steaming room and starts the beating with sauna whisks all over the body. After the steaming room with sauna whisk there’s nothing better than dipping oneself in a cold-water pool. The difference of temperatures will give you an immediate blood rush and will keep you in high spirits for a long time afterwards.
The manufacturing period is very short: sauna whisks are made during the summertime, usually from June till the middle of July. In this period tree leaves are rich with essential oils and aroma. However the cutting and manufacturing period for every kind of sauna whisk may vary. For example, the maple and oak whisks are longer lasting if made at the end of July.
Our sauna whisks are 100% hand-made by Latvian native. After the tree twigs are cut, they are tied on using thin pieces of natural linen string and dried in well ventilated barn. When whisks are dry enough, they are individually packed into bags that provide the whisks with air circulation and protect from mustiness. Individual bags also make whisks more convenient to store and ship. When we receive the order, we put the whisks in carton box and ship them with regular post (USPS in US) from Latvia to other countries. By the way! Great news! Starting from November 2015 our sauna whisks will be available also locally in US – in our online store www.saunagoods.com
How do you ship them? You offer 16 varieties. I have to ask, how come so many and how do you manage that inventory?
Tell us a little more about you, Kristine. How long have you been at this? Is this your full time gig? Where do you live and do you get to sauna regularly? If so, where and how?
I have started this business in 2008 with making birch and oak sauna whisks only. At the very beginning it was my hobby only. I have spent winters in Austria where I was working as a ski instructor in Alps and I`ve spent the summers at home – in Latvia. As I have grown up in countryside I have always been connected with nature and I always loved the nature, so, I just started to make sauna whisks in my free time. People who tried them where satisfied, they came back to me again and again and so the requests grew up. It was really not intention to make the business out of it at the very beginning. But it is my full job now. I really really love my job!
I spend the summers in Latvia. Starting from May when we prepare for new manufacturing season till the end of August when all the whisks are packed, it is a really hard and intensive work. The rest of the year we sell what we have manufactured. Winters I spend in Florida, where my boyfriend lives. Thanks to him I have changed my winter location from Austria to Florida – from total winter to total summer 🙂 The love to nature follows me everywhere – in Florida we have created a garden where we grow tomatoes, a lot of different types of greens, cucumbers, watermelons etc.
I am going to sauna almost every Saturday when I am in Latvia and I always use different sauna whisks. In summer I cut fresh twigs from the trees right around the corner, I mix them according the mood and feelings I am in at that moment. It is a creative process. In winters I use sauna whisks made by SaunaGooods.
During the sauna session I also drink natural sauna tea that I have collected in local meadows.