Modern Moto Magazine ISSUE No. 4 - September 2017 - Page 11

During my weekends in the mountains at both Mountain Moxie conferences, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and hear talks from many women leaders in our moto-world: Laura Smith of Worse for Wear (worsewear.com), who was one of the conference sponsors and designs and manufactures phenomenal riding jeans that fi t a wide range of body shapes; Guinness World Record holder Danelle Lynn, who set the record for longest journey by motorcycle in a single country; Sofi Tsingos, a brilliant, young custom motorcycle builder; Breeann Poland, a woman who has been involved with motorcycling most of her life and is now the Marke ng Manager of Royal Enfi eld North America; the fi rst African-American woman to road race in the United States, Joi “SJ” Harris from the MotoGirlGT Team; a Motorcycle Law Group a orney (and major sponsor of the event), Liz Sorrell, who passed along her vast knowledge of laws aff ec ng motorcyclists; as well as several others who inspired a endees both years. As I’ve listened to these women tell their stories and explain how their passion for motorcycling has shaped their lives, I keep being reminded of a dis nct theme over-and-over again — shi ing your dreams into mo on. Refl ec ng on what I took from Mountain Moxie both years, and the theme I con nually heard whispered through so many inspira onal stories, I thought about the aforemen oned Laura Smith and her women’s riding apparel company, Worse for Wear. When I fi rst interviewed Laura and her husband Sco back in 2015, they were hard at work pu ng those passionate wheels into mo on, making Laura’s dream of providing women with safe, durable and stylish riding gear that fi ts come true. It’s been quite an inspira on to watch this chrysalises fi rst-hand. Considering recently published sta s cs repor ng 25 percent of people who throw their leg over a motorcycle are female (including pilots and pillions), it’s no secret that we ladies are hard-core on the hunt for more riding products, such as those from Worse for Wear. Over the years, riding gear has slowly trickled over to our female gender but typically is an altered version of men’s gear and is usually uniformed in pink or purple. This fashionista, for one, cannot swallow that princess- colored pill, sorry. With our demographic steadily on the rise, I have observed other women throughout the country, like Laura Smith, with the goal to create gear especially made for women and our needs. In the past couple of years, I’ve come across a network of very clever women in California who are making breakthroughs in this industry and have embraced the concept of shi ing dreams into mo on. What really drew my a en on to this group of women in Cali was the fact that they are all separately crea ng their own products but are collabora ng closely Le to right: Aliki Karayan with VnM Sport Gear, writer Deb Gasque and Debra Chin with MotoChic Gear together to support one another. Epic concept! I had the pleasure of mee ng and speaking in depth with two of these women: Debra Chin of MotoChic Gear (motochicgear.com) and Aliki Karayan of VnM Sport Gear (vnmsportgear.com). They both share the same mo va on for joining the world of women entrepreneurs — their passion to create riding gear specifi cally made for women, a passion which was hatched out of sheer despera on from an obscenely limited ladies’ riding gear market. Debra Chin, founder of MotoChic Gear, is originally from New York and now fi rmly planted in San Francisco. She is the creator of the sassy “Lauren” bag and the more compact “Valerie” bag. Debra’s passion began on the rear seat of her boyfriend’s motorcycle. As a pillion-turned-rider, she became extremely aggravated when she discovered that the gear op ons available for women “were limited to the ‘shrink it and pink it’ approach taken by most mainstream manufacturers.” Through the combina on of her genuine knowledge of fashion (previously owned a bridesmaid bou que), astute marke ng background and a serious leap of faith, Debra launched her product line in the spring of 2015. Her bags are selling very well as they are highly- fashionable, extremely mul -func onal and their unique versa lity crosses over to many lifestyles, not just motorcycling. She also won the 2016 Motorcycle Industry Council’s PowerLily Gas Tank program. But Debra hasn’t kept all the glory for herself. She has collaborated with other women breaking into the industry and has included them on her e-commerce site, as well as booth space at events. Debra not only shi ed her dreams into mo on but has reciprocated her good fortune with other women so that they, too, can see the fruits of their labor. I had the amazing opportunity to speak to another one of those women - Aliki Karayan of VnM Sportgear. Aliki is one cool chick, let me tell you! She spent her young life in Canada, then joined the military at age 18 and 11