b'PAGE 6 / NATIONAL CLOTHESLINE / AUGUST, 2020A stand-up businessostpeopledontgotothe the companies and asked them lots of been with Steamer Cleaners full time living room with Emmys on display.M drycleanerslookingforlove, questions, Nicole noted. They really since 2014 and has simultaneously pur- Still, she also noted that Steamer offersbut sometimes thats just what didnt answer my questions. sued a career in entertainment in her the personal touch to all its customers.they find. Thirty-one years ago, Shawn spare time, from acting to writing (shes My dad one time drove an orderBasseri worked at a drycleaning plant ore recently, Steamer Cleaners written a pilot about the sexy dryclean- all the way to Las Vegas and turnedvisited by his future wife, Nicole. M becameoneofthemostad- ing industry) to standing up in front of right around to come back, she said.I went in there as a customer and vanced cleaning companies in strangersandtryingtomakethem Another time, he helped an Orthodoxthere was this handsome man behind the country. laugh with embarrassing personal an- Jewishcustomergethomeduringthe counter who was very eloquent and Were the first fully automated Met- ecdotes. Her stand-up comedy routines Shabbat,afterthesunsetonFridaycharming.ThatshowImethim, alprogettifullsystemonthewest often begin with: Hi, Im Ariana, and when driving isnt allowed. Dad of-Nicole recalled. Then, we went out coast,Arianaemphasized.Itwas Im a drycleaning heiress. fered to drive him and stop a blockeight months later, and then got en- Thegaged six months later, and marriedfivemonthsafterthat. Accordingtowww.steamercleaners.comhim, he lost my skirt so he had to marryme. Thats his story.ThecourtshipwasslowedbyNicoles skepticism. He had to con- Basserisvince me, she noted. He was tired allthe time, so I thought he was a little onthe wild side. Then I realized he wastired because he was working so manyhours opening up his drycleaning busi-ness.Overthepastthreedecades,theBasserishavebuiltanimpressivelegacy. Steamer Cleaners has earned a Pictured from left: long list of accolades: Best of LA, Los Shawn, Ariana and NicoleAngeles magazine, SOS Go Green ClubCommunityRecognitionaward,Readers Choice award by LA DailyNews and much more. quite a process. The people had to come I like to open with that to really es- away so he could walk home and hisToday, the business has one pictur- from Metalprogetti and build it. tablish character, she said. wife wouldnt know that he was drivenesque two-story location in Sherman Atfirst,theBasseriswerentsure Her topics range from blundering on Shabbat.Oaks, CA, where it has remained, even what the staff would think of the tech- thesexywhispertohavingafatherafter it burned down in 2001. The fam- nology. We now spend our energy on from Iran to taking Krav Maga self-de- uring these days marked by theily recovered then and they hope to do inspection and making sure everything fense training. Sometimes, though, she D COVID-19pandemic,theso today. During the pandemic, volume looks as great as it can before it goes to isnt afraid to go off script and impro- Basseris have noticed that high-has dropped sharply, but the business the machine [for packaging], Nicole vise. end cleaning is down, but fluff-n-foldhas stayed open and kept its staff of said. So, believe it or not, our employ- One time I was performing stand- has proved to be strong.approximately 30 busy. ees even love the machine because it upactuallydownthestreetata The younger people like the ideaWe were so lucky that we were able takes out the part they didnt enjoy do- bar/restaurant, and a woman in the au- of having fluff-n-fold. Its convenientto stay open because drycleaning is an ing and they can put more energy into dience kind of heckled me, Ariana re- for them, Nicole said. And, even ifessential business and weve just taken customer service and inspection and called. She said, Wait, you guys own its not a high end item, then so what?every precaution, noted Ariana, the making sure the clothes are well taken thatcleaners?Youguysburnedmy If were able to serve the communitycouplesoldestdaughterwhohas care of. jacket. And I said, My familys busi- and give the people what they needjoined the family fold full time. nessburningmusthavebeenreally right nowthats what really mattersSuch precautions mean floor mark- icole left Bayer Healthcare a little hard for you. to us.ings six feet apart, shields at the front N over a decade ago and there is no This has been an interesting timecounter, trunk service, thermometers, question in her mind that she en- o doubt, the business burning tobeabletoexploreotheravenues,hand sanitizer, gloves and masks. joysthedrycleaningindustrymuch N down in 2001 was hard on the such as fluff-n-fold, but Im excited toItgoesalongwithhowwefeel more. She relishes the challenge of pro- family. The Basseris still dont get back to our real bread and butter,about taking care of our customers and moting her business in her own style. knowhowitstarted,butatleastit which is drycleaning, Ariana chimedour employees, Nicole added. In fact, Its so much more interesting to be started after hours. in.we take great precautions with our em- in the drycleaning industry as far as It was horrible. We were so grateful Whilethepandemichasbeenaployees trying as much as we can to the issues go and all that. Theyre pretty that nobody got hurt, Ariana said. It tough time for all, the Basseris havekeep them separated as much as possi- daunting with Bayer Healthcare, and happened at night. Everyones clothes tried to take some stress out of theirble. We keep the tailors employed by thebeautyofbeingwithSteamer burned, and everything. employees lives by making their workhaving them make masks in their spare Cleaners is Ariana, my great partner in Ariana recalled the great effort put atmosphere as fun as possible. Its nottime so they get to stay together as well this,Nicoleexplained.Wecando into the project by her parents. It looks so easy, during a pandemic, but thats although apart. anything we want as far as marketing. different than the first time because we where creativity comes in play.We want everyone to feel comfort- We can try things. We can have special rebuilt, literally, from the ground up We have these fun teddy bears thatable, Ariana explained. We want our promotions and we can even give away and my parents worked out of a trailer we give to children, Ariana said. Ouremployees to feel comfortable and our whatwewanttogiveaway.Ifwe doing everyones cleaning and filing tailorsmadetheseminiaturebearcustomers to feel that way. dryclean clothes for people who are un- forms with insurance. masksthattheyallwearateachemployed for free, we can do that be- Nicolewassurprisedthatthey counter.ne way Steamer Cleaners has al- cause we own it. didnt lose more customers during the So,theyreallprotectingevery-O ways tried to differentiate itself Back in May, the Basseris began of- rebuild. The best part was that, Id say, body, Nicole laughed.is through technology. The com- fering free drycleaning for anyone who 95 percent of the customers came back Ideas like that will have to make uppany was an early adopter of Green- needed to clean their best outfits before whenwereopenedoneyearlater, for all of the things that have been lostEarth technology in the 1990s. a job interview, including anyone at- Nicole said. With a transit community, as the result of health concerns.Nicole spent time trying to find the tending a job interview virtually. we were really touched by that. Itisdisappointingthatwenoright technological fit that would also Even if you have a job interview on Partofthatcommunityincludes longer have our popcorn machine inbe acceptable for them from an envi- Zoom during Corona and you dont many rich and famous clients. Its so action, Ariana said.ronmentally friendly standpoint. At the even go in real life, well still dryclean- much fun getting our customers ready We miss our specialty coffee. It willtime, she worked at Steamer Cleaners ing your outfit for free, Ariana said. for the Academy Awards and the Em- be great when we can bring all thatwhile also serving as an executive con- Like her mother, Ariana has a flair mys,Nicolesaidbeforeaskingher back, Nicole noted. We cant touchsultant for Bayer Healthcare, a post she for marketing, earning a B.S. in mar- daughter. Ariana, remember when I anybody with the personal touch.held for over 30 years, dealing with keting and creative writing from Emer- made you deliver some clothes to one Ifanybodycanimproviseawaycontracts, education and marketing. sonCollege.Sheinternedforthe of our Emmy-award winners to make around that, its Ariana. She is lookingI came from the medical field so WNBA Los Angeles Sparks and Stila sure they got their clothes on time? forward to a better future soon. Werewhen all of the new [drycleaning] prod- Cosmetics before working numerous It draws a big laugh. Needless to say, excitedtocomebackstrongerthanucts and machines came out I called years in marketing professionally. Shes it was surreal for Ariana to stand in a ever, she said.'