If you are looking for inspiration to start your own business, look no further than Cyndi
Ramirez. The NYC-based entrepreneur began her career with a fashion and culinary-focused blog, Taste the Style. Once it gained a loyal following, Ramirez continued to let chaos fuel her work, by entering into yet another collaboration of two parallels with her latest venture, Chillhouse.
Ramirez decided the city was in desperate need of a place to completely disconnect – whether that means getting a massage, a manicure, or relaxing with a latte, beer, or glass of wine, Chillhouse, is a one of a kind café that invites New Yorkers to “chill at their own will.”
This mix of mediums is exactly how Ramirez initially took off; her blog, Taste the Style, was a mix of exactly what it sounds like: food and fashion. Being unique in the market and the only blog to provide editorials on this combo, it quickly became the ultimate destination for foodies and fashionistas alike.
Today, running a lifestyle blog and café/spa may seem like they’re on opposite ends of the entrepreneurial spectrum, but Ramirez ties the two together and is inspired by both areas–passionate for what goes in her body, what goes on her body, and how to keep her physical and mental body strong even in times of stress.
We garnered an inside glance at Ramirez’s daily routine and even managed to squeeze out some business advice from this chill founder who went from casual blogger to having multiple markets wrapped around her finger.
How did Taste the Style and Chillhouse come to be?
I worked in fashion and hospitality growing up and thought there needed to be a platform that spoke to both industries because as New Yorkers, we’re curious about more than one thing. At the time, there was nothing like TTS and I think we’re still unique in that we strive to keep that intersection alive and well through editorials and features.
As far as Chillhouse goes, it really came to me one day after chatting with my husband about the spa space and what’s lacking. Spas tend to be very unattainable and a place people only think of when they’re “splurging”. We wanted to create an environment that didn’t feel like a spa but you can come out of it super relaxed through different mediums. We landed at two non-invasive services (manicures and massages) paired with a café. Don’t we all need a little matcha with our mani?
Do you have any “start the day right” inspiration for someone who isn’t exactly an early bird but would like to get into a morning workout routine?
I don’t always practice what I preach but just putting gym in my schedule tends to work for me. If I don’t have it on my schedule, I don’t go as often — it’s as simple as that. That routine also applies to my life. I live and die by my schedule and sometimes have to put blocks on my calendar to get through tasks.
How do you keep your energy (and spirits) up throughout long days that include after “office” hours?
I try to stick to a 10am-6pm schedule, but I know some days will be earlier and may turn out to be 13 hour days. But for me, it’s doesn’t always feel like work so I don’t look at how much time I’ve worked. If I have an intense week, I reward myself by not opening my computer all weekend. That goes without saying, there’s no such thing as unplugging fully when you’re an entrepreneur.
After a hectic day, what is your favorite way to unwind or “chill at your will”?
Massage, some wine and a good catch up sesh with my friends who I don’t talk business with at all. I’m so grateful to have best friends who don’t directly work in my industry.
Where do you get inspiration for your street style looks?
I follow a lot of stylish babes on Insta. Don’t we all? They definitely fuel the inspo.
Can you share some insight into your dietary habits that assist in keeping up your stamina during the day?
I’m not a huge snacker, but when I do, it HAS to be healthy. And for lunch, I tend to eat light and never anything gluttonous as it always makes me tired. This is probably not great advice, but I tend to be naughty in my eating for dinner. It just helps me relax and I always say to myself, “I fucking deserve this.” Also, I drink green tea like it’s water.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to run his or her own business on where to start?
I’d say first and foremost, find people who are smarter than you and learn from them. Also, connect with interesting people. I’m so lucky in that I’ve met all tons of peeps, some of which have been hugely important in the most random of instances. My other big piece of advice: find a void in the market and fill it. If you’re a designer, create a strong identity. If you’re a blogger, set yourself apart from the noise. Everyone wants to be an entrepreneur these days — how are you different?
As if you don’t have enough projects going on right now, do you have any new ones in the works in the next year or so?
No “new” ones per say, just expect expansion and more collaborations between TTS, myself and Chillhouse.
As for the future of Chillhouse, do you have plans to expand this unique atmosphere to other locations?
It’s something we’re definitely considering! Only time will tell…
Photography by Cynthia Lee