The founder of Chillhouse on translating Instagram into real life, self-care in small business, and how to work with your partner without killing each other.
AS TOLD TO GOSSAMER
I’m the owner of Chillhouse, a café and spa on the Lower East Side.My husband, Adam, and I opened it last March, but we came up with the idea about a year before that. We were trying to get massages one day and there weren’t really any options that spoke to us—everything was either super expensive or almost unethical in how cheap it was. We realized there was a void, at least in Manhattan, in approachably priced massages.
We started brainstorming how to create a cool, new, spa-like environment or place of relaxation, and came up with this trifecta of a wellness café, nail art studio, and a massage boutique. I think we had really good timing in opening when we did. The last year has been exhausting for a lot of people. It wasn't intentional; we just happened to realize what was needed. I think we saw the wellness space as a little too holistic, and almost a little too spiritual. We wanted to make it much more—not necessarily mainstream—but approachable and easy for anyone to digest. I recently had my friend who works in sanitation come get a manicure and a matcha. We want Chillhouse to be a place that is accessible to all. I think the people that are already into wellness already know where to go. This is just something a little more for everyone.
My day-to-day kind of runs the gamut, anything from dealing with operations on site to thinking about what the future holds for the company to hiring and decor. Like any small business owner, I kind of have my hands in a little bit of everything.
We just launched our first products in store: Chill Blends. They're adaptogen powder blends that people can mix up and consume at home, and we'll be going national with those in the next couple of months. From there, we'll see. I can't really divulge too much, but we'll be launching other products that will essentially bring the Chillhouse experience into your home.