Finnmark Ltd, based in Spennymoor, County Durham, which counts celebrities and movie stars among its clients, has launched a fully functioning wood-burning sauna using box van from Ifor Williams Trailers.
The company, run by brothers’ Jake and Max Newport, who are still in their twenties, was launched four years ago and evolved from their shared love of Finnish sauna culture.
Their ambition is to make sauna bathing a full-blown event in the UK, as it is in Finland, importing traditional materials from the country and working with some of its best-known brands.
The firm’s constructions cost anywhere from £12,000 to £180,000 (or higher if you have the budget) and are meticulously crafted to be enjoyed over several hours.
Previous customers include TV and film personalities, Olympic sports heroes and Hollywood stars.
Now outdoor enthusiasts will get the chance to try the experience for themselves with the company’s new, purpose-built mobile sauna.
The sauna, which comes complete with dimmable, LED-lit back rest, will be parked up at idyllic tourist spots including the Lake District and at endurance events, cycle races and triathlons as soon as the lockdown restrictions lift.
Jake, 28, who grew up in Cumbria, explained: “A lot of our work is high-end domestic. The problem we have is being able to show people how our saunas are really meant to be enjoyed. We just felt the real deal for us would be to have a properly finished sauna in a beautiful setting next to a lake where you can go for a cold plunge too and see what it’s all about.
“In the UK, sauna use is a really prescribed event, lasting 10 minutes. In Finland, you won’t find any sand timers on the wall at all. It’s about listening to your own body. If you get the temperature and humidity right, it’s nice and relaxing. You’ll not only release endorphins, you will sleep like you haven’t slept since you were a teenager.”
The firm, which also has a sales office in London, offers an array of services from bespoke-designed sauna cabins, sauna installations, indoor/outdoor sauna cabin kits, outdoor buildings and sauna accessories.
They unapologetically place quality and authenticity over price and no expense was spared in the development of the company’s mobile sauna, which was designed to reflect the firm’s values of quality and craftsmanship.
“We’ve seen Ifor Williams Trailers growing up, it’s a brand from our perspective that’s associated with the same values of quality and durability,” said Jake.
“That’s evident in the resale value of these trailers. You can buy a trailer and not do anything with it for two years and sell it for nearly the same price. If you’re putting £30,000 worth of time and materials into something you don’t want the wheels to fall off.”
The Newports consulted distributors Alan Tuer Trailers in Carlisle to find the perfect model and were delighted with the BV127, which suited their needs perfectly.
Unlike its usual designs, the firm used Western Red Cedar wood from Canada during construction because it has a lower density and they wanted to keep weight to a minimum.
Former hi-fi designer Max, 25, Finnmark’s Director of Design, said: “We had to cut one of the steel box section cross members, so we reinforced that area with additional plywood prior to installing the insulation and tile build up.
“We also fitted the flue so that the twin wall insulated section terminates at a coupling just above the flue grommet on the roof. We did this so that we could remove the chimney for ease of transportation and then quickly add it back on for a good draw through the stove and to ensure smoke exhausts at an adequate height.”
Stephanie Foster, managing director at Alan Tuer Trailers, said: “The sturdiness and robustness of the boxvan trailer made this a winning combination for Finnmark and we were delighted to be able to offer our advice. This is a trailer known for its durability and performance and continues to meet the needs of a whole range of businesses.”
Finnmark is so pleased with its new demonstration sauna it is now considering offering mobile saunas as a new product range for leisure companies or private hire.
Andrew Reece-Jones, Design Engineering Manager at Ifor Williams Trailers, said: “The list of ingenious uses of our trailers is growing and we are always amazed at the wonders that can be achieved.
“We’re delighted Finnmark appreciates the quality and road worthiness of our boxvan trailer designs and wish them every success with their new venture.”
Before launching their business, Jake and Max spent a long time researching sauna products and materials in Finland and worked with sauna building companies in the country to understand the unique processes involved in construction.
“We came back with such a taste for the real deal,” said Jake.
“Our main centre of operation is in the North East of England and we’re well-placed to serve the whole country. There are a lot of highly skilled craftspeople here and we can afford to offer a very high quality product at a more competitive price.
“My brother and I come from a very hands-on background. My family in every direction are business owners of some sort and so we’ve seen them working all hours and days from a young age. We’ve always been very practical, we sponged all the information we could in Finland and how to do it properly and worked with local joiners and craftspeople who are used to working in high-end, properly finished industry to show them how to do it.”
The company, which employs 12 office and operational staff and four full-time installers, is in the process of relocating to bigger premises from its current workshop.
“We have an incredible conversion rate because people know what they try at the gym is so far removed from the proper experience. It’s not something we should simply tolerate for 10 minutes after a workout it’s something to be enjoyed over several hours,” said Jake.
“There’s a huge upswing in the amount of research being undertaken in Finland. Scientist and cardiologist Dr Jari Laukkanen, for one, has published a number of scientifically researched journals on the health benefits and impact of proper sauna use.
“It’s always exciting to meet people in the public eye but when you do you’re just calm and professional, the last thing people need to hear is how you’re their biggest fan!
“Max and I take a lot of pride in the work we do. If you pride yourself on being good at what you do, you’re going to end up working for high end clients.”