Five Minutes With Chillhouse Owner Cyndi Ramirez

New York City is a place that prides itself on being able to give you what you want at any given time, but it’s never seen anything like Cyndi Ramirez’s new venture Chillhouse. Nestled in the middle of the bustle and hustle of the Lower East Side, the vaporous, plant-filled Chillhouse gives customers exactly what its name entails―a place to escape and, most importantly, chill. It’s a cafe serving up matcha and ube-bey lattes. It’s a nail salon with nail art inspired by Matisse. And, it’s a massage parlor offering everything from an express 25 minute session to a 50 to 80 minute ‘Hangover Cure’. A one-stop shop for New York City dwellers to have a moment to unwind and unplug, even if they only have 15 minutes.

We caught up with the Ramirez to talk about her ideal relaxation space and how Chillhouse came into fruition.

How did you get into the self-care and beauty business?

My mother migrated here from Columbia and I grew up watching her build her spa businesses and I was helping run some of them when I was younger. I also went to school to be an esthetician. I didn’t really do too much in the beauty industry throughout my 20s, I explored other career paths, but I did simultaneously end up partnering with a team to create an anti aging moisturizer called DAILE. My husband and I – we’ve been running bars for the last three years and one day it just hit us that we really should do something different. We realized there was a void in the massage space and the relaxation space in general, that’s how Chillhouse evolved.

What did you find that was missing in the relaxation space?

The spa world always felt a little boring and sterile. When Adam and I started looking into just the massage world in New York we looked at what things would have to come together in order to create an environment that was relaxing but also not super pushy in the way that it forces you to relax. How do you create an environment that’s kind of not going to stress you out even more upon arriving? For us, it was adding the cafe element, where it’s like oh you can just come in and have a drink. Start there.Then, get yourself a really nice manicure or some nail art. And, then if you’re really really looking to relax we have massages. Our hashtag is #chillatyourwill and it’s so fitting because that’s exactly what we want you to do, there’s no pressure to do anything, it’s just like this is your space to unwind and we have different ways for you to do that.

What don’t you like about the word ‘relax’?

It’s so dictative. It’s such a command word. We actually just printed out these fun little tees that say “Don’t tell me to ‘relax’” I think it’s such a dirty word. The word chill is a lot less obnoxious, it’s a little more of our generation’s word anyway.

How do you want your customers to feel leaving Chillhouse?

I’ve heard from a couple of friends that they felt inspired when they left. That’s what I want people to feel leaving anything I do, especially with this space. I want people to feel like they can come in and either feel inspired by their manicure because they got some amazing nail art and it’s inspiring them to create something or because they had the most amazing matcha latte and their brain is fueled up and inspired to go start their own business. At the end of the day, that’s my biggest goal.

When you’re not working, what do you do to unwind?

Working out for me is my time to relax too. It’s my time where I am forced to put my phone away. Same with getting a massage or doing yoga, anything that allows me to completely detach for an hour. Definitely, yoga, spin, I do a lot of SoulCycle, any kind of studio classes I’m really into. Also, getting massages, I get massages at least once every week and a half.

Image courtesy of Dillon Burke

Words by Tahirah Hairston