Tired of the difficulty of wearing and cleaning reusable sauna suits, a Walter Johnson High School alum and former college athlete was inspired to create a more convenient product.
“I would go to the store and spend $25 on these reusable ones, and they would rip on me anyway,” says Kalaii Griffin II, 28, who often used the sauna suits that help users sweat and get rid of water weight. “I remember Googling ‘single-use sauna suit,’ and it didn’t exist. I’ve always been an entrepreneur, my mother was an entrepreneur when I was a kid, and I was like ‘I’m going to create this.’”
So, Griffin set out to design a disposable sauna suit made of eco-friendly plastic…
In 2020, he launched ShredSkinz, a business that sells disposable sauna suits, the same year he graduated from the University of Texas El Paso. Griffin said he originally planned to name the business SweatSkinz but his wife was able to dissuade him from that choice.
A longtime athlete, Griffin played football and competed in wrestling and track at Walter Johnson in Bethesda until he graduated in 2013 and received a division 1 scholarship to St. Francis University of Pennsylvania where he only attended for three weeks before leaving school and taking three years off to go into sales. He later attended Ventura College in California before playing Division 1 football until his senior year at the University of Texas El Paso.
Griffin lived in various parts of Montgomery County in his youth including Bethesda, Rockville and Wheaton. Although he no longer lives in Montgomery County, he said he still visits a few times annually to see friends and family.
Griffin said that in addition to ripping, he found that the reusable sauna suits were also inconvenient to properly clean and dry, which was necessary to prevent users from getting a skin rash. His sauna suits tops can be easily ripped off like a plastic grocery bag and have elastic at the wrists, bottom of the torso and in the hood. They also come in an assortment of colors including black, green, blue and pink.
Although the sauna suits are disposable, Griffin said it was important to him that they have an eco-friendly element. The suits contain an additive that helps them break down faster, he said.
“I want to be [as] eco-friendly as possible and I preach that, I live by that, because at the end of the day, the world is becoming extremely eco-conscious and I think that’s very important for our planet,” he said.
The business, based out of Dallas, has gained popularity through a TikTok account, which has over 184,000 followers and more than 9 million likes.
The brand’s growing popularity may also be attributed to Griffin’s December appearance on the TV reality show Shark Tank. The ABC show is a reality competition that features start-up business owners pitching their ideas to a panel of successful entrepreneurs. During his appearance, Griffin asked for $60,000 in exchange for 20% equity in his business. American entrepreneur Mark Cuban chose to invest in ShredSkinz.
The sauna suits are sold through his website in a five-pack for $25, and Griffin said he also sells to gyms in bulk.
On the show, Griffin said when he first started his business in October 2020, he earned $15,000 in revenue in two months and in 2021, the business earned about $190,000 in sales. At the time of filming the business was a little over $100,000, and projected to make a quarter million, Griffin said on the show.
Cuban, who owns sports team the Dallas Mavericks, seemed impressed with Griffin’s drive and offered him some advice to increase his profits including changing the packaging before agreeing to invest. He jokingly said, “I sweat when I think about it,” in reference to the process of properly cleaning a reusable sauna suit. Griffin said in an interview with MoCo 360, he was shocked when Cuban said he would invest, but was happy and grateful that he did.
He said his primary goal for ShredSkinz is to see professional fighters, such as boxers and wrestlers, using his disposable sauna suit. He also hopes to pass his business to his young son one day and to continue to build generational wealth.
“Having ShredSkinz available for people—whether in their sauna, in their hotel gym or their office gym, or just at the gym—just having a ShredSkinz wherever you go if you need that extra sweat, really need that extra core temperature to rise—that’s what I hope,” he said.
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