Totally cool: Gold Coast business that uses chills to soothe your ills

How taking the plunge has paid off for this Molendinar company

Odin Ice Baths Founder Jono James

Odin Ice Baths Founder Jono James

Odin Ice Baths Founder and Designer Jono James was born with a terminal illness and given 10 years to live. Now, aged 35, he’s not only smashing health goals but business goals with his million-dollar Gold Coast company.

Odin Marketing Manager Shelby Russo-Vooles, 27, and James’ life partner, said he was born with cystic fibrosis – an intense lung condition which affects the cells that produce mucus, sweat and digestive juices.

“The doctors told his parents not to try anything because there was no point,” Russo-Vooles said.

“But his mum quit her job and spent her whole life finding ways to keep him healthy.

“That’s how he ended up falling into ice baths. He started with saunas and ice baths were a natural progression.”

So happy was James with the results, they made him “feel like superman”.

At 35, Jono James has defied all odds

“He ended up finding something that worked for him. His health is really good and you wouldn’t know he has cystic fibrosis,” Russo-Vooles said.

“Jono is a big believer that the body is highly reactive to something and you just need to find something that works for you.

“He does a sauna and cold plunge very single day.”

Odin Ice Baths – which hand manufactures everything on site for ice baths and hot tubs – operates two warehouses at opposite ends of Molendinar.

One warehouse is utilised for cutting, welding and polishing metal and the other for woodwork, plumbing, electrical, assembling and packing.

“A few years ago, Jono was making them in his mum’s single car garage and started making prototypes and that’s the very early start of the business, but we’ve been properly trading for the past 18 months,” Russo-Vooles said.

“Business is booming. We are in the right place at the right time. After COVID everyone wanted to get into fitness and wellness and ice baths seem to be what everyone is talking about.

“They are great for recovery and rejuvenation. Our main customers who buy them are everyday Aussies.”

Ice baths offer numerous health benefits. Photo by Jenelle Stafford

According to Odin’s website, overall health benefits of using these products are said to include:

  • Immune system support
  • Increased blood flow
  • Reduced chronic pain
  • Boosted metabolism
  • Better sleep

Cold plunging has been said to benefit recovery by:

  • Lowering inflammation
  • Reducing muscle soreness
  • Boosting performance

Meanwhile, mental health benefits include:

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  • Boosting energy
  • Elevating mood
  • Practicing discipline
  • Increasing resilience

Odin claims to manufacture the world’s only plug-in cedar ice bath which makes its own ice, sanitises itself and regulates its temperature to zero degrees.

Russo-Vooles said she and James loved the Gold Coast lifestyle and having an online business made it easy for them to work there.

“We don’t want to move anywhere else or do business anywhere else,” she said.

“Jono surfs once a week, we live near the beach and take the dogs for a walk.

“A lot of our suppliers are on the Gold Coast or Brisbane so what we need is right next door. Molendinar is quite a hub and we get heaps of customers just walking in.”

Odin Ice Bath

The name Odin borrows from Nordic mythology surrounding the concept of someone taking an ice pick and jumping into the ice.

The company employs more than 30 staff in its Gold Coast headquarters which exports tubs to the United States, New Zealand and Europe.

Russo-Vooles said future plans were to expand on the global market.

“At the moment the Australian side of things is going fantastically and we can’t keep up with our sales,” she said.

“Jono has learned to take life by the reins and make every day count.”

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