The owner of Massage Williamsburg, Rachel Beider, 32, takes a therapeutic approach to massage, specializing in pain relief and prenatal care. “New York City is stressful,” she says. “There’s an energy and you can thrive on that, but it can be exhausting as well. We aim to be a sanctuary where people can relax.”
Eight years after opening Massage Williamsburg, having served over 14,000 unique customers and clients, Rachel Beider will be expanding her business and opening a second location on Greenpoint Avenue aptly titled Massage Greenpoint.
“The medical side of massage, physical therapy, can be cold and less approachable,” says Beider. “And spas seem to be pushing products, and playing corporate music… I want to do something different.”
Having moved to NYC from Detroit 15 years ago to study photography at SVA, Rachel Beider initially worked as a photo assistant, though “photo work is inconsistent,” says Beider who has also worked as a dog walker, nanny, retail, associate, a bevvy of “NYC jobs.”
One day, as a young graduate, Beider posted a missed connection on Craigslist for a boy she made eyes with on the L train. Luckily enough, Rachel and the boy reunited and shortly thereafter took an extensive trip through Southeast Asia where they studied and practiced Thai massage.
It was on that trip when Rachel Beider, who has scoliosis, discovered her love for massage as therapy and subsequently applied to and attended the Swedish Massage Institute in NYC. And while the relationship with the boy didn’t quite work out, Beider graduated from the Institute and opened a single treatment room in a studio on Wythe Avenue: Massage Williamsburg.
“WilliamsburgMassage.com was taken, “ says Beider. “And I was teaching myself all these SEO tactics, ya know, to have your key words in the domain, and I saw that MassageWilliamsburg(.com) and MassageGreenpoint(.com) were both available so I bought them.”
Beginning with just the one private room and treating all the clients herself, Beider’s business grew quickly: within five months she added another three rooms and now has nine treatment rooms. Massage Greenpoint will include another eight treatment rooms in a suite at 37 Greenpoint Ave between Franklin and West.
“When you’re booked solid, there’s only a couple things you can do,” says Rachel Beider. “You can raise your prices, or you can expand.”
Beider, who lives in Greenpoint with her boyfriend and her dog, Winston, secured a five-year lease for the Greenpoint Avenue location.
“Greenpoint Avenue has a lot of cool stuff right there,” Rachel says. “Yoga, pilates… but perhaps it’s underserved by massage therapy.”
Currently employing four front desk staff and 30 massage therapists, mixing fulltime positions and contractors, Beider anticipates doubling her staff with Massage Greenpoint.
Demolition and build out at the Greenpoint location began last month and Beider expects to be open in August. “Mid or late August,” she says. “We’ll have to let the paint dry.”