Speaker: Laura Smith 2018-01-12T04:54:54-08:00

Founder ~ Worse For Wear

Official Site

Laura is a software designer turned apparel designer and manufacturer. Her company, Worse for Wear, makes women’s protective riding jeans that connect the dots between fit, protection and style. When she’s not in the shop altering patterns for custom-fit riding jeans, you can find her navigating the backroads of Virginia on her ’08 BMW R1200GS.

Laura started riding as a passenger back in 1997 in her hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. After a few short months of riding on the back of a motorcycle she grew tired of it and wanted a bike of her own. She searched relentlessly around town for weeks to find the perfect starter bike. Then one day it was found parked on the front lawn of a ramshackle house down the street from her apartment – a rusty black early 80’s Suzuki GS450L. It had just over 30,000 miles on it, gummed-up carbs, and a finicky, sticky throttle. But it was only $300, so it was perfect. She paid cash for it and started learning to ride it that weekend.

Eventually, Laura rode that bike everywhere – to work, shopping, day trips, and weekend excursions across the Ohio countryside and even spent the winter cleaning it up before riding season began again – sneaking it up to her 6th floor apartment via the elevator and parking it in the living room over the winter.  Laura took it apart and cleaned it piece by piece in the kitchen. Her cats were afraid of the bike at first, but they soon began to treat it like any other piece of furniture. Laura would come home from work and catch them napping on the seat or draped luxuriously across the handlebars.

Laura has taught plenty of friends to ride on that Suzuki, including some of her best girlfriends. There weren’t many women riding in Cincinnati at the time, so she took it upon herself to help grow their little community.

20+ years later and Laura’s passion for the women’s motorcycling community is stronger than ever. Creating a business that caters to our demographic in this sport is something she knew she had to do. And with her background in sewing and design, building her own factory from the ground up to manufacture women’s motorcycle in Richmond, Virginia seemed like a logical next step. Laura was getting too much sleep at night, anyway!