Steamer Cleaners is a family-owned, eco-friendly dry cleaning business started 32 years ago by husband-and-wife team Shawn and Nicole Basseri. Their daughter Ariana Basseri works as marketing manager of the store. Steamer Cleaners offers dry cleaning, laundering, tailoring, VIP couture service, fluff-and-fold service and cleans household items.
Nicole is a UCSB graduate and was an executive consultant with Bayer HealthCare. Ariana, who graduated from Emerson College with a marketing major and a writing minor, has written three television pilots.
How do you support your clients?
“We are in the customer service business; our goal is to make people happy and spread joy. Our employees are friendly, kind, knowledgeable and take a personal interest in our customers and their garments.”
Is risk-taking worth the reward?
“Yes, we like to stay on the cutting edge in our industry. Steamer Cleaners is the first fully automated dry cleaners on the West Coast. We use Sankosha pressing machines—the best finishing equipment on the market—and we are proud to have the newest, best cleaning equipment and an innovative computer program. Also, we use eco-friendly products.”
Has motherhood made you a better entrepreneur?
Nicole: “Being a mother has made me more conscious of the long-term needs of our world. This has made me more compassionate, which translates to customer-focused service. Motherhood brought me two lovely daughters. Ariana is an integral part of our marketing and community service, and she is also a stand-up comic. Her sister, Ilana, works in public relations in the fashion industry.”
How do you combat the fear of making wrong decisions?
“Making decisions is always better than being stagnant. Wrong decisions from the past have proved to be the best learning tools to improve in the future.”
Do businesses have a duty to give back to society?
“We believe so, and this is not our reason for giving back. The happiest part of our day is when we clean police officers’ clothes, get someone who is unemployed ready for a job interview by cleaning their outfit for free, work with Rotary in the community and worldwide, and support a local school project by cleaning their choir outfits.”