Katy Osborn remembers the day she left her job. She was working at a pepper spray company in Chicago, leading the marketing efforts for a college safety program, when a tense conversation made her realized she and her boss had been “really clashing a lot.”
“When I would make decisions, I’d always get some pushback from my boss,” Osborn says. “We weren’t seeing eye-to-eye on how we wanted to market the program. We both said, ‘Maybe this isn’t working.’ In the back of my mind, I kept thinking I wanted to do something on my own.”
But before she could confidently take that leap of faith, she knew she needed her sisters.
“Knowing how creative and talented my sisters are, there was no way I could go off and do it on my own because I didn’t have the technical skills,” says Osborn, a WeWork River North member. “But I knew I could drive the bus. It was important to get them on board and have their talent as part of it. It was about creating things we loved together.”
They started Amelia Street Studio, a marketing and branding agency, naming it after the address of their childhood home in Akron, Ohio. Since they were little, Osborn and her two younger sisters embraced their creative sides as often as possible: sewing clothes for their dolls, making stage props, and putting on mock news shows—called Morning News at Night, which were parodies of Saturday Night Live—using their family’s “old-school VHS camera.”
“We’d record on any blank VHS tapes in the house,” Osborn recalls. “Sometimes we’d record over our dad’s baseball games, which he didn’t appreciate.”
The middle sister, Jenny Alberti, went on to become a graphic designer, and the youngest, Andrea Alberti, became a videographer, working on indie films and major motion picture productions.
When Osborn found herself out of a job, her sisters put their heads together to come up with a business plan.
“The creative process was the most fun—sitting around and brainstorming,” Osborn says.
And eventually, they found their first clients in the wedding space. They were inspired to start with Osborn’s own wedding video. Then they started creating save the date invitations and videos for clients. Since then, they’ve expanded their reach outside of this niche consumer market and taken on more business clients.
“We like working with business owners who do something different,” Osborn says. “Be Leaf, a salad joint down in the Loop, is our favorite client to date. Becky worked at Sweetgreen in New York, and she loved the concept so much that she started a salad place in the Midwest. We found her through a friend, and we helped her brand and design the menu, the interior space, and the website. We got to do everything with her.”
They created a quirky video vignette for Be Leaf, ensuring that the salad website would stand apart from the rest.
The sisters also have an Etsy shop. They had a creative itch to make something handmade, so they started with linoleum stamps. Their online store has expanded to include greeting cards, tote bags, political buttons and pins, and more. They also design onesies for a vendor on Amazon, Bee Funny Baby, who they met at WeWork. Osborn has a couple of favorite designss: Brand New Baby and My Favorite Color Is No Pants.
The sisters are inseparable whether in the workplace or at home. Now that Osborn has a newborn, they spend a lot of time working with their eldest sister at her place.
“We have our own issues like any business partners,” Osborn says. “The thing that’s special is we trust each other 100 percent, and we can read each other’s minds. It’s a relationship that not many people understand, but one I do appreciate and cherish.”
Photos: Pretty Instant