If you are doing studio work only, and portability is not too much of an issue, it may be cheaper to go for monobloc lights. You should be able to get a pair of Elinchrom D-Lite 4 ITs with stands, radio trigger and softboxes for under $1000. A lot of photographers are using those, even though they are Elinchrom's entry-level offering. 400Ws is enough for a lot of smaller studios though. - My wife has two of those sets, and they provide her with everything she needs for studio work. (Look at Proworld - http://www.proworld.com.au
- they often have good deals on the Elinchrom strobes, sometimes bundled with an extra light stand, relfector and brolly as well. - Take a look at this http://www.proworld.com.au/elinchrom-d-lite-it-4-the-portrait-kit
If portability is important for you, speedlights may be a better solution for you. The Elinchron softboxes are a nightmare to assemble and refold!
Depending where you are, Image Melbourne may be a good source of strobist gear, only the quality of some of the stuff they sell is a bit iffy. They are also more expensive on some of the Manfrotto stuff (for instance the Manfrotto Expans backdrop systems).
For some messing around, I bough a cheap optical trigger from dealextreme (a couple of bucks). You just need to be careful with third party optical slaves that they work with Canon Speedlites, as a lot do not.