Q&A with Wendy and Erik Skaalerud, developers of Orangetheory locations and INNGI Float
What is your story as a couple?
Wendy: We met when we were 13 years old. My friends and his friends ran in a similar circle. We dated as seniors in high school in Denver. We both kind of traveled our paths in our 20s. We always had a connection, ever since we met. We reconnected and got married when we were 32 years old. We’ve been married for 14 years. We have two boys, 12 and 13 years old.
Erik: As a family, we love to travel. Our boys definitely have the bug. We like going to the mountains, hiking, skiing and spending time together.
Why did you want to invest in Orangetheory Fitness?
Wendy: We have a consulting and lending business and through that we built relationships with founders of Massage Envy, European Wax Center and Orangetheory Fitness, which we got fortunate to be in on. Orangetheory provides a platform of accessibility to the masses — it provides a place where all walks of life and fitness goals can work out together. We were the first area representative for Orangetheory in Colorado — we now have 26 locations with more than 23,000 members and expect to have 30 locations by the end of the year.
Erik: Our goal was always to contribute to other people. Orangetheory is a product that is designed around a lifestyle. It’s a full-body workout, using a heart rate monitor, endurance, strength and power. It’s nice to know where you are — if you have a target, you go somewhere.
What made you develop your latest business, Inngi Float?
Erik: When I was younger, my mom had a friend who was a neurosurgeon and a marathoner who used float tanks. I always thought it was an out-there thing but I was interested. Floating gives you a pause in your day for an hour to restore mentally and physically. We know so many people that run nonstop.
Wendy: It fit into our overall vision of what services we want to provide to people. I don’t look at it as a luxury; I look at it as a necessity. We are planning a second location in Denver, which will open sometime this summer. We have a national rollout planned.
What makes Inngi different than other float tanks in the industry?
Wendy: Our cleaning mechanism. The standard is more like a hot tub in the industry — the water stays in pods for multiple uses. The water in our tubs, which are from Budapest, is 100 percent evacuated, filtered, sterilized and cleaned after every use. It’s as good as it gets. Cleanliness is critical in this industry.
What are some of the benefits of float tanks and who is your target demographic?
Erik: It’s physically restorative; it’s quieting and provides mental recovery; it decreases inflammation. It’s like meditation on steroids. It’s magical to let your body have the space to heal. There is so much magnesium sulfate in the tub, which many people lack, that it pushes it into the body.
Wendy: We see high-functioning CEOs, people with PTSD and chronic pain; kids that have overstimulation; elite athletes. It helps with anti-aging and weight and hormone recovery.
How is it managing two different types of businesses?
Wendy: It’s great to get back into the building part. We are more builders than operators. Overall, it’s been really wonderful and a great experience for us. We have two other business concepts in mind — we are always looking to grow in health and wellness. We want to take Inngi to a national franchise level and continue growing Orangetheory.
Erik: It’s been really fun building Inngi with my wife. It makes the highs a lot higher and the lows a little bit easier. Wendy is the implementer and I am the dreamer. We both share the visions and creativity.