Well Kyle, I am sad to say that I have unfortunately left my studio space since we have last spoken. It definitely was a shame because it was such a great place but it was in a bad location which made it hard to deal with. The mini ramp has moved into a friends backyard though. Wish I still had it!
As far as strobes go you can spend as little or as much as you want on them. Unfortunately it is a never ending battle. If you aren't going to be shooting sports and you are just learning I would say that Alien Bee's are pretty good for the price. Obviously the cheeper lights are going to be made with cheeper materials but again, if you aren't shooting sports or lugging it around in the wilderness you should be fine. I have a few friends that have several of these lights and for what they are worth they are pretty nice. Plus you should have plenty of power with them for what I assume you will be doing.
If you wanted to go more durable then yeah, you would have to look into the Elinchrom's or the Profoto stuff. Definitely a lot more spendy but will last you a life time. They are mostly pack and head systems though. So yeah, you can charge them so they are portable but you have to lug the whole pack with the head.
The monolights (like alienbees) are definitely lighter and take up less space. They are unfortunately less powerful and a lot slower. Plus you would need to plug them in to use.
Like I said before, there are an endless amount of variables when it comes to lights. I would say figure out what you need (or what you can deal with) what you can afford and just go for it. The time spend without them would be less cost effective.
That being said, I should go order some more stuff! HAHA!
Also, here is a video clip of my old studio. So sad.... http://www.primeproductions.com/OFFICE_CHAIR