Inspiring People

How Chillhouse Founder Cyndi Ramirez-Fulton Went From Building Bars to Launching Super Chill Spas

Chillhouse Founder Cyndi Ramirez-Fulton

Since moving to New York City a few years ago, I’ve been asked one question in particular, over and over again: “What is the best place for a gel mani in NYC?” My answer to that question has always been the same, ever since I stepped into the chic and welcoming self-care sanctuary that is Chillhouse®. The ultra-modern nail, face, and body studio is lined with pastel interiors and offers “ChillPill ℠” massages, relaxing facials, and of course, Instagram®-approved nail art. (There are even trendy CBD-infused lattes and other beverages available for sale at the front desk!)    

Chillhouse is the brainchild of New York City native Cyndi Ramirez-Fulton, who is the ultimate cool girl and a soon-to-be mom. Her creative direction and management has clearly resonated with choosy New Yorkers, as there are now two Chillhouse locations: one in a quaint spot on the Lower East Side and another on a bustling corner in SoHo. In just two short years since she first opened her doors, Ramirez-Fulton has basically mastered the art of building a successful spa business. 

With Chillhouse being my to-go spa, I couldn’t wait to sit down with the 30-something founder. On a cool, breezy evening in January, Ramirez-Fulton and I met at the new, airy SoHo flagship and discussed all things chill, treatments, self-care, and success over a cup of (my favorite!) lavender “Chill Me Out Latte.” I quickly learned that she was born into the business: Her mother was an esthetician and owned a small spa in Queens, New York. “I was always surrounded by this sort of environment,” she shares. “It was a much smaller space [than Chillhouse], but she was and still is an esthetician — and she's always had her own business since I've been a little girl.” 

Despite this, Ramirez-Fulton’s interest to build her own spa did not come until much later on. Before becoming a spa owner and self-care aficionado, she and her husband worked many years in the restaurant and bar industry. Impressively enough, Chillhouse was Ramirez-Fulton’s first foray into the spa space — the previous nine businesses the Ramirez-Fultons managed were all bars. Like many businesses, Chillhouse was born out of a personal need. It all started when Ramirez-Fulton and her husband were trying to get massages in the city and their options were split down the middle. “The options were either high-end or low-end, and we didn't love what our options were,” she recalls. This inspired them to find a way to create a space that appealed to them, from both a price point and a design approach. Lo and behold, there was not anything like Chillhouse in the market. “There still isn't,” Ramirez-Fulton notes. “We're very unique in that regard.”

As a super fan, I can attest to that. The environment is extremely unique — millennial budget-approved, with massages starting at just $48 dollars — and just what a busy New Yorker needs after a long day of work or after a weekend of head-pounding nightlife. Notably, the Chillhouse spas exude notes of Palo Santo & ChillTM (a custom Chillhouse candle), and of course, peak self-care vibes, which Ramirez-Fulton also gives off effortlessly (despite being a few months pregnant during our interview). “At the very core, self-care is really about finding those moments to take care of and prioritize yourself,” she says. In creating Chillhouse, her goal was to provide her customers with services and techniques to experience self-care in their own way.

Clearly, Ramirez-Fulton is onto something here — and many millennial New Yorkers (and other spa owners!) have noticed, as she’s continued to expand her empire and add new services, such as custom Dermalogica® facials and infrared saunas. She even mentioned they are looking into expanding and adding more locations. Keep reading as she shares more details about building a business, humbling advice for finding yourself, her favorite Chillhouse treatments, and how she sees the future of medical aesthetics treatments.

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