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hunt for more riding products, such as those from Worse for Wear. Over the years, riding gear has slowly trickled over to our gender, but typically it is an altered version of men’s gear and is usually marketed in pink or purple. This Fashionista, for one, can’t swallow that princess-colored pill… sorry, guys. With our demographic steadily on the rise, I have observed other women throughout the country who, just like Laura Smith, have the goal of creating gear made especially for women and our needs. Most recently, I’ve come across a network of very clever women in California who are making breakthroughs in this industry and have embraced the concept that I spied on the billboard that very fateful day, “Make Your Passion Your Paycheck.” What really drew my attention to


this group of women in California was the fact that they are all sepa- rately creating their own products, but they are also collaborating closely together to support one another. Epic concept! I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking in depth with two of these women, Debra Chin of MotoChic Gear and Aliki Karayan of VnM Sportgear. They both share the same motivation for joining the world of women entrepreneurs: a passion to create riding gear made specifically for women, a passion which was hatched out of sheer des- peration from an obscenely limited ladies’ riding gear market. Debra Chin, founder of MotoChic Gear,


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 and extremely multi-func- tional, and their unique versatility crosses over to many lifestyles, not just motorcycling. 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 and in her booth space at events. Debra not only


California resident living the dream. Con- tracted by Honda, she is racing, demo rid- ing and teaching track days. Once she was submerged into the super bike world, she also felt the pang of desperation to find gear designed specifically for women. In her words, she “started riding tracks and got pissed ‘cause I couldn't find good gear.” With absolutely no design experience or garment manufacturing knowledge, Aliki started her insurmountable quest with a huge passion in her heart to overcome the odds. She did, indeed, turn her pas- sion into a paycheck; her company, VnM Sportgear, produces high-per- formance compression base layers with high-quality fabrics that work when it’s “bloody hot and bloody cold,” also designing matching base layers for SuperBike teams. (Watch for my review of her products in a future issue.) Aliki is also a big pro- ponent of women-helping-women in this industry. She sees herself and her California compadres as being a team, rather than competitors—they work together for the good of all women in the motorcycling world. What an impressive and noble vision. Flashback to that spring morning


Mountain Moxie attendee Beth Lavinder.


is originally from New York and is now firmly planted in San Francisco. She is the creator of the sassy “Lauren” bag and the more compact “Valerie” bag. Debra’s pas- sion began on the rear seat of her boy- friend’s motorcycle. As a pillion, now rider, she became extremely aggravated when she discovered that the gear options available for women “were limited to the ‘shrink it and pink it’ approach taken by most main- stream manufacturers.” Through the com- bination of her genuine knowledge of fashion (she previously owned a bridesmaid boutique), astute marketing background


made her passion her paycheck, 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 mili- tary at age 18 and began a stint as a heavy machine operator. It was there in the mili- tary that she was exposed to motorcycles through her teammates who were all guys and loved fast machines. When Aliki sam- pled her first ride on two wheels, she was hooked. Almost 20 years later, she is a


in May, when I was riding to Moun- tain Moxie…the ride was completely intoxicating as the fragrance of new blossoms and the delicious dewy air flowed into my helmet. Indeed, I was smiling big. And, as I fatefully raised


my head towards that billboard and read, “Make Your Passion Your Paycheck,” I fist- pumped at the statement, not truly under- standing the depth of those words. And then I arrived at the Little Switzerland Inn, and in good time, it all became very, very clear.


(For more information on Mountain Moxie 2017 and Moto Girl Cafe, please visit www. motogirlcafe.com. For additional informa- tion on Worse for Wear, please visit www. worsewear.com. For more information on MotoChic Gear and VnM Sportgear prod- ucts, please visit motochicgear.com.)


August 2016 BMW OWNERS NEWS


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