Current Position: Ariana Basseri is a comedian, writer and dry cleaning heiress. Her parents, Shawn and Nicole, have been in the dry cleaning business for over 30 years and currently own Steamer Cleaners in Sherman Oaks, California.
Basseri, who turned 29 last month, is the “right-hand man” for her father, Shawn. She primarily handles marketing and social media for Steamer Cleaners but is well-versed in the ownership and operation of all aspects of the family business. From the front end to the back end, (top to bottom and everything in between), she can do everything. Well, almost everything. “I can’t say that I’m great at spotting, but I’ve seen it happen,” quipped Basseri.
“I’m in charge of everything with my dad. We work very closely.”
The Family Business: Steamer Cleaners, with its 33 employees, has been serving Sherman Oaks and surrounding communities since the mid-1990s. It is a full-service operation that caters to a high-end clientele and specializes in couture and specialty items. “We’ve done dresses for the Emmys, the Grammys and celebrities,” said Basseri. “We are expensive, and we are high-end because of our focus on detail and quality.”
The company has garnered well-deserved media attention, recognition and numerous awards over the years. Their expanding legion of fans extends well outside of its sturdy customer base.
Basseri is proud of Steamer Cleaners’ commitment to be one of the most modern and cutting-edge garment care specialists in the United States. “We use GreenEarth cleaning and we’re getting the Metalprogetti system so we can be fully automated,” she said. “That’s a big deal because we’re going to be the first cleaners in Los Angeles with that.”
Show Business: While wholly devoted to the growth and success of Steamer Cleaners, Basseri has extra-curricular and creative endeavors. The aspirations, goals and dreams in her sights extend past her burgeoning career in the dry cleaning industry. “I work here for money and I do this for money,” Basseri said of her full-time commitment to Steamer Cleaners. “I feel so lucky and I know it’s a privilege to be able to work with my parents and have a flexible job; to pursue comedy and try to be a famous writer and comedian.”
“Dry cleaning has been the backdrop of my life in every aspect,” she said of her family’s long history in the industry. Basseri has been working at Steamer Cleaners for the last five years and doing stand-up comedy for the previous three years. She has performed at famed and historic venues such as The Comedy Store, The Laugh Factory and The Ice House Comedy Club, to name a few.
In addition to spreading the fame of her family’s dry cleaning business, performing comedy routines and doing shows, Basseri is in the process of writing a pilot that she hopes will lead to a starring role in her television show.
How I Met Your Father: The circumstances surrounding how Basseri’s parents met is arguably a love story for the ages. Shawn was working at a friend’s dry cleaning establishment. Nicole brought in her recently deceased mother’s skirt for dry cleaning and it went missing. As fate would have it, Shawn’s assignment was to break the disheartening news to Nicole. Cupid’s arrows hit the mark and the rest is history. “My dad lost the skirt of my mom’s late mother, so he said he had to marry her,” said Basseri.
Generation Y: As an owner/operator who is also a millennial, Basseri speaks from a position of authority when it comes to attracting and retaining this coveted age group whom many see as the future customer in the garment care industry.
She told a story of a friend who recently had a flood in his apartment and has been living at a hotel. He brought his fluff and fold to Basseri at Steamer Cleaners to alleviate the stress of having to do his laundry. “He got his fluff and fold back and said I couldn’t believe that I have not been doing this the whole time,” recalled Basseri. “He’s a super busy guy and it saves him money and time to have us do his fluff and fold.” Her observation is that more and more young people see the value in not “wasting our time and quarters on bad apartment laundry.”
To acquire the trust and loyalty of her peers, Basseri believes that dry cleaners must make a firm commitment to using environmentally friendly cleaning methods, recycling hangers and bags and giving back to the community. “My generation cares. We stopped using straws.”
Customer Empathy: “I think people freak out, but then I have to remember that clothes are personal,” Basseri said of our relationship with our wardrobes. She says that customers have an emotional connection with their clothes. “It’s the way you see yourself and the way you present yourself,” Basseri said. She believes that clothes are so powerful that we tend to allow them to shape or define our identity. “Nothing is ever just a skirt or some pants.”
Measuring Success: “I get to live kind of a dream life. I get to pursue what I want to pursue. I get to be with my family.”
Personal: Basseri is a Southern California native (she grew up in San Marino and currently resides in Hollywood), who matriculated to the east coast. She graduated with a degree in marketing and communications from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts.
Although currently single, she is using her platform at Steamer Cleaners to affect change in her relationship status. She ran a contest called “free dry cleaning for life.” To win the contest, one lucky man had to fall in love with and marry her. “Honestly, like hardly anyone even tried,” deadpanned Basseri. “The contest is still going on; it’s an on-going contest,” she said with a laugh.