As I walk through a lush outside patio, into a large naturally bright space, decked in gold and neon pink trinkets, I'm instantly filled with a sense of badass feminine energy, mixed with a savvy, clean and curated aesthetic. Jen Streicher, one of three sisters and co-owners of STRIIIKE, meets me at the front. I understand immediately what makes this place, and the women that created so special. Unlike a busy, hectic salon in the heart of Los Angeles, Striiike feels relaxed, professional, and like every woman’s dream; where you can shop for new products, sip on a latte and get your brows, makeup or hair done.
Jen, Kristie, and Ashley Streicher opened up STRIIIKE a little over two years ago, spearheading a combination of beauty, female camaraderie, and sisterly love. Although they claim to have had no real business plan, they have managed to execute a fully functioning, retail, gallery, and salon environment, each performing their own specialized beauty services.
I peruse freely around the room, looking through the wide array of fresh smelling scents, lotions, makeup and hair products, as artwork from the likes of Donald Roberts and Carly Kuhn drape the walls. The traditional stage light bulbs reflect against the mirrors from across the room, making it feel like I’m hidden away from the world, in a modern day twist on the Beverly Hills Hotel and todays curated corners of social media and beauty.
All three sisters grew up in Grass Valley, California and span across a ten-year age difference. As Jen, the eldest first moved to New York City to begin her journey in cosmetology, Kristie, only two years younger followed shortly after. As Kristie developed a passion for brows, and Jen continued working in cosmetology, Ashley began her career doing hair.
After successfully tackling New York City, Jen and Kristie began traveling back and fourth between New York and Los Angeles, separately building their client base. When Ashley finally moved to Los Angles, it became clear that they wanted to work together. Kristie started looking for a space, already having a strong following coupled with a keen business intuition, and they combined forces!
They’re all in agreeance that working with family is both a blessing and a challenge. To counter these familial challenges, they have instilled a “two against one” rule on decisions and actively see a “sisters therapist”, noting that this business is like having a baby and being married at the same time! Each sister offers unique strengths, and together they creatively, aesthetically, socially, and financially coalesce!
As they credit the instant success of STRIIIKE to their publicist and a huge network of clients, they weave in and around the challenges that occur, believing that the initial leap of faith it took to begin this journey is tied to the fact that they are doing it together.
The creative spirit runs rapid as I stay throughout the day, watching Jen and Ashley alternate getting their eyelashes curled, as Kristie works with clients, while artist Donald Roberts paints palm trees on one of the interior walls. They are getting ready for a festive Holiday weekend, where Christy Dawn will be showcased in one of many collaborations deemed important to the success of their business!
Story and Interview by Ruby Corley
What was the motivation between a curated, open, gallery-Salon like this?
KS: We are not fans of the traditional salon experience and wanted to do something more intimate and private...
AS: I certainly never wanted to own or have a salon, when I moved to LA I was especially turned off by the feeling and vibe you get when you walk into a salon, lots of frenetic energy and judgment. So our idea was a “beauty space” more geared towards art and creativity.
Was it working with your sisters or building on your own career?
When did the two emerge?
KS: Nov 2014
JS: It was definitely to work with my sisters more. And we thought it would be a good place to have parties!
How has a sisterly dynamic helped you in creating this space, and what ways do you counter act conflicts that arise?
KS: Sure, There will always be conflict and differences in any relationship business or personal, what I appreciate is the ability to be honest and know that that person is not going anywhere.
JS: It’s always a 2 to 1 vote.
AS: We definitely all have a role. Jenn is the older sister (the boss) KS is the classic middle sister (funny, clown, does best with the most attention) and I am a classic baby (innocent bystander) HA! How has it helped? Well we each play a role in creating the space. We learned very early on that the easiest way to make a decision would be two to one, this has actually worked great, and it’s our simplest tool yet most effective.
Did you have a vision prior to opening up Striiike? And if so, was this it, and are you working towards a greater one? In other words, if there is a “next”, what is it?
KS: Yes! When I was looking for a studio on my own, I envisioned STRIIIKE. I saw an outdoor space with lots of greenery and a clean, neat space with tons of natural light.
JS: No. Not at all and I am not sure why! Kinda wish we had thought of it sooner. I really try not to “make plans”. This way I am always open to whatever surprises come up.
AS: My vision looked similar to what STRIIIKE is looks and feel wise, I did not however think we would take on such a demand for sister beauty team, this has been such a positive surprise. I had no expectations on if we would be successful or not, I'm so pleased and fueled to go further because of how our hard work has payed off! And when I say success I mean, feeling amazing about what we’re/I’m producing.
How important are your clients and your social network and the collaborative processes with other female entrepreneurs?
KS: I’m blessed to have the most inspiring and influential people in my chair everyday. I learn so much from all of my clients...
JS: I don’t know how important it is in a business sense, but it sure is a lot of fun. And I always get to learn so much about a field that I didn’t know much about.
AS: I think it's extremely important to us personally and I'm sure that shows naturally in an overall social network outlook as well. I find it so much more satisfying working with people (not just women) who have so much heart, and care so much about what they do; it adds such a luxurious appeal. I also tend to vibe with like-minded people, which end up being lady bosses!
What would you tell young women entrepreneurs that are thinking about starting a business? Is there an encouraging mantra that you stand by?
KS: Its an important to have a plan but a more importantly to be prepared for anything / everything and be open. Say yes and then figure it out.
JS: Maybe have a business plan, but don’t think about it too hard. You just have to leap in, and I think everyone figures out a lot as they go.
AS: I would tell a young hairdresser/entrepreneur to learn as much as possible early on. Take it all in, if you have a super solid base of knowledge in your field (I’m speaking of my experience in hair) then you can take what you know and make it your own style, which is so unique and NOBODY can replicate.
Although it may not feel like it, what you are doing is extremely encouraging to women everywhere, where does the courage and drive come from in terms of being your own boss?
KS: It original came from pure survival instincts and has evolved. Our parents weren’t emotionally or physically supportive growing up and we had to really grow and make decisions really fast.
AS: I think that our parents were a big part of us being independent hard working women. I think that they encouraged us to be creative but also to make our own money, cause they sure as heck weren't going to support us when we turned 18, it sounds so hard core now a days and especially in LA, but I’m so grateful that that it’s the way it had to be. We had to get creative, which is what made me go to beauty school while I was still in high school. That way I'd have a good money making job to get me through college (which never happened). But my parents were always very supportive of me going through Beauty School so young, and allowing me to skip 3-6th period for Beauty School (which still counted as high school credit). A lot of parents wouldn't allow that these days, they'd make their child do the best they could at academics regardless of how much it peeked their interest. So I’m very grateful to my parents for that.
Who do you go for advice?
JS: Our publicist/manager/momager/smartest business lady I know, Cara Hilfer!
AS: It depends on the advice.
If you knew then what you now know, prior to embarking on this adventure, what would you tell yourself?
JS: Don’t sweat the small stuff (and its usually all small stuff). Choose your battles.
Any personal beauty tips worth noting?
KS: A smile, natural brows and less is more when it comes to makeup!
JS: Always try and do your makeup by a window (natural light).
AS: The three of us all believe in a more natural approach to beauty. That being said we work in Hollywood and everyone wants to look put together and camera ready. I think we have a great outlook of what looks good and what's appropriate. We all like to see an image as a whole, which is why we work together so well.We can collaborate in a way that makes for a great overall look. A lot of artists are very much in a job for themselves, they want their work to shine brighter than everyone else's. What we want more than anything is to create a great overall look and for every aspect to work together cohesively.
Favorite product and why?
KS: Oil Cleansers for clean and radiant skin. Tatcha is my fave!
JS: Beauty Blender! The only way to get a flawless makeup application.
KS: Dang, hard one, depends on the medium (and the day, ha!) I’m such a Gemini…
JS: Cindy Sherman, Marcel Dzama, Raymond Pettibon, and William Claxton.
Favorite sister? Just kidding!
KS: HA! You’re funny
JS: Those are fighting words!!!