Building Traditions of Warmth and Wellness 

In distracted, divided and noisy times, urbanites around the world are rediscovering the restorative benefits of the world’s many sweat bathing traditions.

Sauna Society Outfitters was established in 2017 by John Pederson and Rodney Buhrsmith to bring the wellness benefits of sweat bathing to life throughout North America with sauna experiences, trainings, and product development.     

About Us

Since building his first sauna in 2014, John Pederson has hosted thousands of guests at venues he has either created or managed throughout the Twin Cities.

He discovered his passion for sharing the mental, physical and social benefits of sauna in 2015 as the official host of Little Box Sauna and went on to found the nation’s first Sauna Co-op, the 612 Sauna Society, in 2016.

He co-founded Sauna Society Outfitters in 2017 to inspire and equip a Sauna Society renaissance beyond the Twin Cities.

John Pederson is the Founder of the 612 Sauna Society Cooperative, a Member-owned 308B Sauna Co-op (the nation’s first) serving the Twin Cities Metro area. John discovered Sauna and Sauna Society as an exchange student in Helsinki in 2004. He started his first sauna build—a mobile Sauna-tiny-house called The Firehouse—under the guidance of SauanTimes Founder Glenn Auerbach in December of 2013 and opened the doors to family and friends the following winter. He embraced his role as the neighborhood “sauna guy,” hosting over 1100 guests for small back yard gatherings before becoming the official “Sauna Meister” of the Little Box mobile sauna in 2015. John Founded the 612 Sauna Society Cooperative in 2017, where he currently serves as the Chief Firewood Officer and sits on the Board of Directors.

John graduated from the UW-Madison School of Journalism with Honors in 2005 after internships with NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!” and “To the Best of Our Knowledge” programs. In 2006, he moved to Indonesia to start the country’s first student-run radio station as a Fulbright Scholar in Sumatra. He moved back to his home state of Minnesota in 2008 and served as the first Communications Strategist for Seed Savers Exchange from 2010 – 2012 before joining the Mighty Mo Design Co. as the Director of Operations in 2013.

He joined the Musicant Group in 2016 where he he oversaw placemaking and Community Management projects around the city before his passion for sharing sauna society became a full-time vocation.


Rodney Buhrsmith joined the build team for The Forge mobile sauna in 2016 after building many saunas of his own. In July 2017, Rod and John Pederson created and built an ambitious original mobile sauna design with AWH Architects for Omar Ansari, owner of Surly Brewing Company.

He co-founded Sauna Society Outfitters (SSO) later that year as a platform to build partnerships, programming, services and infrastructure to share the authentic Sauna experience.

As a business development professional for East View Companies, Rod’s work with SSO  focuses on increasing the impact of programs and partnerships.

He has two children in college and lives in the Tangle Town neighborhood of Minneapolis with his wife.  His dog Vancouver is often by his side.

With formal education in International Business at Georgetown and Entrepreneurship at Louisville, SSO provides him an opportunity to contribute his passion for business growth in a way that aligns with his love of building and entrepreneurship.

Hot Box: How Minnesota Millennials Are Leading A Finnish Sauna Renaissance

Forbes – February 2018


The sweat life of urban saunas in Minnesota

City Pages –  April 2014