Q+A: Siobhan Towey of Dumbo Wellness
Offering customizable massages tailored to client needs, DUMBO Wellness is a one-stop shop for relaxation! We stopped by to chat with owner Siobhan Towey about her newest wellness space and why she's spent a decade based in Dumbo.
Tell us about yourself? Why did you start DUMBO Wellness?
I went to theater school and when I was studying, we would always do shiatsu massage warm-ups in the morning which was awesome. You'd go to school and your first period would be to get and give massages. But really, I'd always been interested in the body, and how the body moves in physical space and on stage -- massage therapy was related. It also made sense as something I could do while also acting. I could do this work part-time and still have time to do theater in the evening. Then when I had my daughter, things changed and it became too expensive to just do my art so I really delved into massage therapy and found my own space.
The client comes in and we figure out how best I can help their situation - it's a very tailored service
What do you offer at DUMBO Wellness? What sets you apart?
In terms of services I would broadly say we offer massage therapy but there's so much that goes into it. I describe our main service as a custom massage because it could be anything from a pregnancy massage to a deep tissue massage to cupping. The client comes in and then we can discuss and figure out how best I can help their situation.
It will be 15 years this October that I've been a Licensed Massage Therapist and practicing massage. Experience and the time we take with our clients is a major thing that sets us apart. We're very client-centered, and really the more bodies you work on the better you get. We've all worked on a lot of people!
You have a great space here - what was the inspiration behind it?
The space was a major consideration for creating DUMBO Wellness. Dumbo has always been a very creative place and originally the home to artists. That definitely spills over into DUMBO Wellness. My husband, Jason Gandy from Aardvark Interiors, and I took this into account, using the vaulted ceilings and the colors of exposed brick and incorporating that into the overall design of the woodworking, cabinetry and curved edges of doors. I wanted it to feel good when you entered the space.
You've been based in Dumbo for a long time - why did you initially choose to set up here?
We've been in Dumbo for nine years, and in this space since 2018. We're coming up on a decade in the neighborhood! I originally set up here in Dumbo because there was a space that fit. My husband used to have a woodshop studio in the neighborhood. His friend took it over and turned it into a gallery and art studio called Rabbithole where we'd have art shows. At Rabbithole there was this little room that was basically a storage room but it had this awesome skylight to the street and it felt very Dumbo. You'd find these cool little random spots you didn't know were there and so I saw it and kept telling my friend to give me this room until he did. It was this hidden away little sanctuary. It just sort of fit in perfectly to how Dumbo was then. So it was really that space that made me choose Dumbo. And I really love Dumbo. I love that you get off the F train and have this incredible view, and that in between clients I can go walk by the water.
I also knew that the neighborhood was going to expand. I've seen the neighborhood change a lot, and the clients have changed too. It used to be a lot of creative and technology types like editors - people on computers all day who then need help with their shoulders and back. They're still here of course, but now there are many more residents. I also get a lot more people now who come from Cross Fit and Equinox, as well as a lot of new moms looking for postpartum massages.
I knew I had to expand as well. When I started looking for a new spot, I initially wanted something small-ish, but that doesn't really exist in Dumbo. So, I took this space and divided it up into four different studios. It's not just Dumbo Wellness here, we also have an acupuncturist and a psychotherapist. We're all separate businesses, but it's nice to have complementary businesses. It's good for the client too - we work together and partner to help them.
DUMBO has always been a very creative place and originally the home to artists. That definitely spills over into DUMBO Wellness.
And finally, what is your favorite place in Dumbo?
I love anywhere by the water! The West Elm coffee place is one of my favorite spots. I also love Celestine - you think it's going to be super fancy but you go and every one who works there is lovely. It's such a nice place to stop by at the end of an evening and have a glass of wine and some food. I've been taking pilates with my neighbor Zarhcos which has been helping me too.