The Sunlighten team feels an awful lot like a family most days. Which, I guess, makes Connie and Aaron Zack the mom and dad of this eclectic bunch?! I’ll probably get some grief for that statement. Let’s just say they’re like our really cool brother and sister.
Connie Zack, co-owner and Chief Sales Officer of Sunlighten, started the business in a basement in 1999. Her husband and co-founder Aaron Zack is the company’s CEO. Together, the Zacks have led Sunlighten to tremendous growth since those basement days.
Before starting Sunlighten, Connie held positions at Procter & Gamble ranging from Alternative Marketing Manager, District Pharmaceutical Sales Manager and Gastrointestinal National Manager. During her 11 years at Procter & Gamble, she made her way into the P&G Leadership Group, a collection of elite staff groomed for future executive positions and onto the P&G Women’s Board, a mentoring program for junior-level female staff.
The Beginning of Sunlighten
In the late 1990s, though, Connie started thinking about making a big change. A change involving infrared saunas.
“My brother suffered from debilitating chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia. It was really bad. He could barely get out of bed. I was so concerned because I saw this healthy young man destroyed,” Connie explained. Infrared sauna therapy was recommended to him for detoxification. He purchased a sauna and cured himself.
Amazed by Connie’s brother’s response to infrared technology, the idea for Sunlighten was hatched. The Zacks immediately knew that the business could be profitable but they were most excited by the life-changing possibilities they could offer their customers.
“We hear from so many customers who suffered terribly from auto-immune disorders or pain or arthritis and who are completely transformed and restored to health by regular use of our saunas,” says Connie.
Amazing Company Growth
Eleven years later, Sunlighten is the leader in the infrared sauna industry. Aaron credits this largely to the substantial resources they have devoted to research and development. From the start, they have remained on the cutting edge of technology, demonstrated this year with the launch of the award-winning full spectrum infrared sauna, the mPulse.
Sunlighten saunas have been featured on several big-name, national television talk shows and medical shows. And even used in a clinical study conducted by researchers at the University of Missouri-Kansas City which showed that regular 30-minute infrared sauna sessions lower blood pressure.
While many doctors and health care providers recommend Sunlighten saunas, the Zacks are infrared sauna’s strongest advocates. Both use Sunlighten saunas for relaxation, keeping fit and trim and detoxification. They were instrumental in establishing a partnership between the American Heart Association and Sunlighten due to infrared sauna’s heart-healthy attributes. A portion of Sunlighten’s proceeds are donated to the AHA each February (Heart Health Month).
The Sunlighten Family
I mentioned the Sunlighten “family” at the beginning of this post. And it’s true. The Zacks are really committed to the people here at Sunlighten. In the current economy, many companies are cutting back on benefits in an effort to keep overhead down. Aaron and Connie have made sure that Sunlighten’s associates have a menu of benefits that most other companies envy.
Empowering wellness is more than just the corporate tagline or slogan. Those words are reality in the Sunlighten offices. Several years ago, Sunlighten moved its offices into a large, former newspaper building. The entire facility was renovated with an eye on being environmentally responsible.
Sunlighten has an active recycling program, motion lights and a white rooftop to keep air conditioning costs down in the summer months.
Add those things to an on-site chef who makes delicious, healthy meals every day for employees who take part in the meal plan, an on-site gym, an on-site day spa (also open to the public) and an on-site child care center and Sunlighten is an amazing place to work. Connie and Aaron feel that these offerings encourage associates to lead a healthier lifestyle and allow them to focus on work while at the office, not worrying about how to handle those other things during their work day.
We’re all glad to be on their team!
(For those wondering who the Zacks root for during football and basketball seasons, Connie graduated from Indiana University and Aaron graduated from the University of Missouri. The Zacks have two children and live in Leawood, Kansas, not far from Sunlighten’s suburban Kansas City headquarters.)