The founder and face of Chillhouse, a beauty and self-care brand with flagship locations on either side of the Atlantic Ocean, wants to make a self-care routine affordable to more than just those with the luxury of time and money. Cyndi Ramirez-Fulton remembers the not-all-that-long-ago Goop days when the idea of wellness and beauty was only one afforded to six-figure incomes and up.
“Chillhouse has flipped that idea on its head,” Ramirez-Fulton says. “Self-care is for everyone. I think we’ve built a space that people were really, really needing.”
Chillhouse is both a physical location and an incredibly successful product brand. The company’s biggest success to date are its long-lasting press-on-nails, but there is a growing list of nail, skin and body, and lifestyle products as the young brand continues to evolve.
While the products may not break the bank, Chillhouse has sought to create a high-end experience for its brick-and-mortar customers. Along with its flagship store in New York City’s SoHo district (where customers can partake in face, nail, massage, and infrared sauna services), Chillhouse opened a second location in Paris. Housed within Galeries Lafayette’s Wellness Galerie, the official opening coincided with Fashion Week in Paris in September 2022.
“We’re excited to see if we can be part of shifting and shaping trends in the heart of fashion,” Ramirez-Fulton says. “I’m curious if we can get the Parisian to love nail art and press-ons as much as we Americans. That’s a personal fascination of mine, and it’s been a very fun project to take on.”
It’s important to consider just how young of a brand Chillhouse is. Its press-on nails launched in August 2020 and were immediately picked up by Urban Outfitters. “Urban [Outfiters] has always been really quick to jump on interesting brands,” Ramirez-Fulton reflects. “That’s part of why I love them, and it seemed like a perfect match for us right out of the gate.”
The press-ons have been such a success that they’re nearly outselling Chillhouse’s brick-and-mortar services. It’s an incredible accomplishment for a brand that was initially concerned more with creating an experience rather than a product.
“What we prided ourselves on was our one-on-one interaction with our clients,” Ramirez-Fulton says. “You have a curriculum in place and a relationship established. With products, you don’t get to have that one-on-one interaction with every person that comes in contact with your brand, so it can be a little scary. You need to make sure that whoever is selling your product is doing your brand justice. But to be honest, I can’t believe we’ve made it this far this quickly.”
Ramirez-Fulton jokes that she dropped out of fashion marketing school twice. As the daughter of an aesthetician, Ramirez-she “Frankly, I was a bit of a party girl,” she admits. “I bartended for several years, and I loved the hospitality space. But the hours were killing me and weren’t what I wanted from my life.”
She was able to wrangle a valuable internship in a fashion technology consultancy through a connection that was willing to take a chance on her. It was her first and only full-time job, and it would set the tone for the rest of her future. Two years later, Ramirez-Fulton would make the leap into entrepreneurship.
It took a few tries, but Chillhouse would come to life. It’s not just a location, it’s not just a product. Ramirez-Fulton created the Chill Times, a media branch of Chillhouse where subscribers can learn about beauty, health, and wellness. It had to go into hibernation during the pandemic, but the founder is hoping to bring it back with a broader focus. “I want it to be a giveback element and incorporate more mental health resources,” she says.
The founder and CEO continues, “I think it’s important for brands to have more substance than just what they’re selling. There are so many conversations we can have with our community, and that’s why I’m excited to build a new hub for it and get it back into the world.”
Chillhouse is already on the right track. Ramirez-Fulton says that seeing the different shapes, shades, and backgrounds of the people at its physical locations reminds her that there needed to be a more inclusive and holistic place for people to learn about beauty and self-care, a place they could afford to visit. “I want people from all backgrounds to feel at home walking into a Chillhouse,” she says. “You don’t need to feel guilty about having a bad day or not taking care of yourself today. Sometimes what you need is a conversation, not a facemask. We want to be able to be that place for people.”
Succeeding in Business and Love
Cyndi Ramirez-Fulton and her husband, Adam Fulton, are business partners who built a blossoming business (and a family) in the middle of a pandemic. The power couple met while working in hospitality and have nurtured a way of working that works for them both.
“It took us a long time to get to a good place as business partners. We have complimentary skills which make us good partners. He’s not aware of some of his flaws, and I have no flaws, she admits, laughing, “but I think we’ve made this work very well.”