Our NYC Girl Talk series with Lou & Grey was such a hit that we decided to bring the series to LA for two special events at The Grove. Our second panel featured the Streicher Sisters, founders of STRIIIKE, a collaborative family business and beauty studio in Beverly Hills. Ashley, Kristie, and Jenn Streicher shared what it’s like to work with family and how they’ve turned their passion into a business. Our favorite OKREAL quote: “Trust your instincts. You always know what’s best for you.”
Kristie: Our beauty studio is called ‘Striiike,’ which is a play on our last name, Streicher, with three i’s. I’m the middle sister and our brow specialist. As far as roles on the business side goes, we are very much a team and pick up each other’s slack in different areas.
Ashley: We’ve all been in our respective specialities for almost twenty years. Only three years ago did we start working together. I’m the youngest sister (I like to leave that out whenever I can) and my specialty is hair. There is such a big age difference between us, so I bring a different perspective to the team. Though we freelance for red carpet, we also bring our professional expertise to everyday people and make the experience educational, so when I do a haircut and styling I teach you how to work with your hair and its texture. Jenn does a lot of makeup tutorials.
Jenn: I do most of my work outside of Striiike. As a freelance makeup artist, I do 95% celebrity makeup. I end up doing a lot of makeup lessons in the studio.
Ashley: Jenn and I often work together for celebrity clientele and agency work. That’s sort of how we came together and opened Striiike. Kristie needed a space to work from because everybody comes to her, whereas Jenn and I were going out to people and had more of a freelance lifestyle. We thought, ‘We should open a space where we can have some parties and grow our craft.’ We never had a business plan, we just approached it as creatives and figured it out from there.
Kristie: I started doing beauty right out of high school, and thought, ‘This is great until I get a real job.’ I didn’t know that actually doing eyebrows was going to be as lucrative and rewarding as it has been. I love the instant gratification of helping people grow back their eyebrows in fifteen minutes with a few hairs being tweezed. I didn’t know that I would love it in that sort of way, and my passion has grown over the years.
Jenn: I worked at a makeup counter straight out of high school and was like, ‘If I’m at a makeup counter for the rest of my life, I’d be alright with it.’ I moved up the ladder and it wasn’t until I moved to New York that I realized that I could do it on a different level. I moved to New York first. Kristie followed, then Ashley came. New York was a game changer for all of us.
Ashley: After living in NYC we all resisted coming to LA. I didn’t know when I moved here that it was going to be like starting over. If somebody were to tell me that, I don’t know if I actually would have come, but I knew it was the place other than New York where I could really do what I wanted to do.
Kristie: Sometimes you need a little push. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, and luckily the company that I worked for in New York happened to be opening an LA location. It was a perfect scenario that worked out for many years until it didn’t work out, and that’s when we started our own thing. It helped that Jenn had been in the industry for a long time and had a good reputation. I feel like LA is getting it’s own little hustle vibe, which it didn’t have 10 years ago when I moved here. There have been a lot of people that have infiltrated from New York and brought a really great energy.
Kristie: You have to be super fluid in this industry because it’s changing and growing so quickly. You need to stick with what you really believe in, be open, and plan ahead as best as you can. I would also say it’s really important to hire a good team, and listen to your people.
Ashley: That said… we literally opened Striiike to craft and have parties. Having that ignorance at the beginning served us well. You learn along the way and there’s nothing you can really prepare yourself for.
Kristie: And trust your instincts. You always know what’s best for you.
Kristie: We had very young parents. My mom was 18 when she had Jenn, 20 when she had me, and ten years later we got Ashley. We all grew up together and Jenn is kind of like our second mom.
Ashley: Our mom was a hustler. That’s where we get our hustle from.
Kristie: She was also super creative. She would sew clothes. She was a receptionist at a hair salon, so she was giving us perms at a very young age. She was a do-it-yourselfer for sure. So there’s a bit of our mom that plays into our roles in the beauty industry.
Kristie: We love to build a community. We like to work with other entrepreneurs, women especially. Lady bosses are super empowering. There are so many out here in LA. We definitely use Striiike as a base to create that community and foster collaborations with other like-minded women.
Jenn: Like with Clare Vivier. Right off the bat, we were like, ‘We want to do a collaboration with you,’ and she said OK. I had admired her for a really long time. It’s always surprising to me how people will say yes, and that sometimes all you have to do is ask. Being respected by people we respect is really cool.
Ashley: In terms of goals, we know what we don’t want to do and have a bigger hoop on what we do want to do. There are definitely things we’ve got targets for.
Jenn: As easy as we’re making it sound, truthfully we’re control freaks. The idea of opening another location and having other people run it and work there is tough to imagine. I would feel so bad if people went there and had a bad experience.
Kristie: It’s hard to maintain your aesthetic and standards when you can’t be there. We’re so careful about our brand and ensuring that everyone who comes into Striiike has the best experience. Expanding to multiple locations is not where we want to put our energy right now, but that may change.
Kristie: Being sisters and business partners can be challenging at times—we have a lot of history! The dynamic doesn’t ever change. If you have siblings, you know what I’m talking about. For the first year and half of being in business together, we worked with a sister therapist to learn how to communicate and be vulnerable with each other. That was really pivotal for us. On the flip side of the challenges, obviously there’s this built in trust where you genuinely feel like that person is not going anywhere and nothing’s going to fall apart.
Jenn: All business leaders should go to therapy. A lot of the time it feels like you’re treading water and just trying to get to the next day. Having an outsider perspective who doesn’t know you or your business personally is invaluable.
Ashley: When you’re running a business you have remember to take care of yourself, especially if you’re working manual labor like we are and being around people. I sometimes see thirty people a day, and I love what I do, but sometimes I don’t realize how much energy I’m putting out until I literally go to bed.
Kristie: I never set out to start a business, I just wanted to do my job. But now, I’m so glad I did it. I would only probably do this with my sisters. It is so satisfying to have something that you’re passionate about, that you can share with others and call your own.