The Story of Modtub: From Humble Beginnings to Innovative Cold Plunges

In the heart of Texas, where stories are as vast as the plains, the tale of Modtub began with two brothers and a dream. Jesse Hodge and his brother Sawyer, the masterminds behind Modtub, embarked on a journey that transformed their lives and brought a fresh perspective to the wellness industry.

Discovering a New Path

Jesse Hodge started his professional journey in accounting, a field chosen more out of responsibility than passion. His brother Sawyer had a background in supply chain management. Despite their stable careers, both felt a yearning for something more fulfilling.

Jesse’s turning point came during a particularly grueling tax season. "I wouldn't say there was a specific moment," Jesse recalls. "But my degree in finance and my work in accounting made me realize that to advance further, I would need more study in the field. The prospect of returning to school lacked appeal, so I was primed for a change."

The Birth of a Business

The idea for Modtub sprouted in Jesse’s garage, where he began refurbishing used hot tubs as a side business. With a knack for finding good deals and the skills to refurbish them, Jesse’s garage operation quickly took off. "I knew the brands to look for, what problems were easy to fix, and what hot tubs would be profitable," Jesse explains.

The business was simple and profitable from the start. Using a $500 trailer and minimal investment, Jesse was able to turn a profit quickly. However, the scalability of refurbishing used hot tubs was limited, as it depended heavily on the availability of used units.

From Hot to Cold Plunge Tubs 

The pandemic brought significant changes to the hot tub industry, affecting supply chains and consumer behavior. Jesse and Sawyer initially thought they had an advantage due to their vertical integration with a manufacturer. However, the market quickly shifted, and their initial plan to dominate the hot tub market fell through.

During this period, Jesse saw a cold plunge product on "Shark Tank" and had a revelation. "A cold plunge tub is even simpler than a hot tub," he says. "It’s just a tub, a pump, a filter, and a chiller." With his expertise in hot tubs, Jesse realized he could easily create a superior cold plunge product.

Innovation in Cold Tubs

Modtub’s innovation came from a simple yet groundbreaking idea: using large, insulated coolers for their cold tubs. These coolers, originally designed to keep ice and water cold for extended periods, turned out to be perfect for the application. This approach revolutionized the cold plunge market, making the product not only more efficient but also more affordable and durable than existing options.

"We weren’t the first to do insulated cold plunges, but we were the first to use plastic in this way," Jesse explains. The decision to use plastic over the more commonly used acrylic was a game-changer. "Plastic is more durable, lighter, and easier to move than acrylic, and it retains cold temperatures exceptionally well."

The innovation didn’t stop at material choice. The use of insulated coolers provided a superior user experience. These coolers are designed with high-quality insulation, which means they can maintain the cold temperatures needed for effective cold plunging without the constant need to add ice. This efficiency reduces both the hassle and the cost for users, making cold plunging more accessible to a wider audience.

Joining the Cold Plunge Community

Jesse and his team quickly became active members of the cold plunge community. They were not only selling a product but also immersing themselves in a movement that was gaining traction for its health benefits. Cold plunging, or ice baths, were celebrated for their ability to boost mental clarity, enhance physical recovery, and provide a unique form of stress relief. The team at Modtub saw firsthand the profound impact their products were having on people’s lives.

One story that particularly stands out to Jesse is that of a woman whose husband suffers from Parkinson’s disease. She discovered that regular cold plunging significantly alleviated his symptoms. "She was almost in tears, thanking us for how much our product had improved his life," Jesse shares. This heartfelt testimonial underscores the genuine benefits that cold plunging can offer, beyond just physical wellness.

In addition to this touching story, Jesse and his team have received countless messages from athletes who use cold plunges for recovery, wellness enthusiasts who swear by their daily ice baths, and even regular folks who have found a new way to rejuvenate their minds and bodies. The growing community around Modtub has become a source of inspiration and motivation for Jesse and his team, reinforcing their commitment to providing high-quality, accessible wellness solutions.

By participating in community events, engaging with users on social media, and continually learning from their customers, Modtub has fostered a strong, supportive network. This engagement has allowed them to stay ahead of trends and continually innovate based on real user feedback and experiences. The sense of community and shared purpose has become a cornerstone of Modtub’s success, making the journey all the more rewarding for Jesse and his team.

Looking Ahead

As Modtub continues to grow, Jesse envisions expanding beyond cold plunges into a broader wellness company. "We’re at a crossroads," he says. "Do we focus solely on cold plunges, or do we expand into other wellness products like saunas, supplements, and fitness equipment?"

Jesse is passionate about wellness and sees Modtub as a stepping stone to helping more people on their wellness journeys.

Words of Wisdom for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Jesse shares some insightful advice for those looking to start their own business. He stresses the importance of getting product feedback early. "Don’t spend too much time strategizing without testing your ideas in the market," he advises. He also recommends keeping your day job for as long as possible, as everything often takes longer than anticipated and bootstrapping can be crucial.

Moreover, Jesse emphasizes the necessity of viewing problems as opportunities. "Business is all about solving problems," he says. "If you can’t solve problems, you won’t succeed."

Balancing Act

Balancing the demands of entrepreneurship with personal life has been challenging for Jesse. For the first two years, Modtub consumed his every waking thought. However, he has since found ways to create balance, such as not having work emails or Slack on his phone. "This summer, we’re taking a mini-sabbatical with the family in Colorado to make up for lost time," he says.

Jesse believes that while work-life balance is tough, the flexibility of being an entrepreneur allows him to be present for his family in ways a traditional job might not.

Wrapping Up the Journey

And so, from a small garage in Texas to becoming a leader in the wellness industry, the story of Modtub is a true testament to the spirit of innovation and determination. Jesse and Sawyer Hodge have shown us that with a little ingenuity, a lot of hard work, and a passion for what you do, it's possible to create something that touches lives and makes a real difference.

Their journey reminds us that even the simplest ideas, like turning a cooler into a cold plunge, can lead to extraordinary outcomes. It’s about seeing possibilities where others see limitations and having the courage to take the plunge—literally and figuratively. So, as we reflect on the story of Modtub, we’re reminded that dreams really can come true, especially when fueled by the heart and soul of Texas grit.

That’s the story from here in the Lone Star State, where the innovative spirit of two brothers continues to inspire us all.