Interview: Jessica Haggett, Founder of The Litas
Jenny: Some basics first – What do you enjoying doing in your spare time, apart from riding? Do you have a full time job, any career aims? How would you describe clothing style? And what about your music taste, what are you listening to at the moment?Jessica: These days, apart from riding is mostly work. I have a full time job, and run The Litas on top of that… which a lot of times feels like ANOTHER full time job. But I absolutely love it and wouldn’t change it for the world. Going on Instagram and seeing all the ladies I've brought together under the hashtag #TheLitas keeps me going. Seeing groups of women gathering and supporting each other. I have a network like that and it’s incredible. That is why I do what I do! My clothing style is a mix of tom-boy and casual vintage (Yes I just made that up). Every pair of shorts or pants I own are high waisted, and I usually pair them with a crop top (always gotta show a little tummy), and boots. As far as music goes, some of my favourites are Led Zeppelin, White Stripes, Amy Winehouse, Cold War Kids, Modest Mouse… I jump around A LOT. Right now I’m listening to The Lumineers.
Jenny: What is your greatest achievement in life so far and how did you reach that goal?Jessica: I don’t know if it’s because it’s the biggest thing in my life right now or if it is ACTUALLY my greatest achievement, but I’m definitely most proud of creating The Litas. I’ve never been one to sit around and wait for life to happen to me. I’m always taking chances, coming up with crazy new ideas, and making things happen. I achieved The Litas with a lot of hard work, and hard work from all the girls who put their hands up and decided to start their own branch. It would never have happened without them.
Jenny: You are seen as an ‘influencer’ in marketing, how do you think you became one? And what tips do you have for people wanting to have this effect in the media?Jessica: I honestly think it was due to my friend Jun (@nostalgia_memoir). I had ridden a motorcycle under the radar for about 4 years, and he hit me up on Instagram and asked if I wanted to go do a photoshoot. Of course, I said yes. I had zero clues what to expect, but his photos kind of got reposted everywhere… I think that was the starting point of that, and since then I've kind of figured out a little bit about marketing and social media. I’m so glad I did because it’s allowed me to reach girls with The Litas. I guess my tips would be to find a focus and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Find something that you’re into, whether it’s a hobby, lifestyle etc. and start promoting it. People like focused content… instead of just pictures of your food and cat :). Also, get ready for some serious hate. People won’t always like what you post or what you’re about, learn that early and don’t let it get you down or affect you in a negative way.
Jenny: What do you love most about riding motorcycles? How and when did it all start? Is it a family thing or do you mostly ride with friends?Jessica: My absolute favourite thing is getting lost in the mountains solo. I love to get away from the city and just be alone on some random road hours from home. It all started about 6-7 years ago, and I just decided I was going to buy a bike.. it looked like fun, and it was all that and more. It’s not really a family thing, but my brother does have a bike now, and we ride together a lot. I mostly just ride with friends or solo.
Jenny: Is there a specific motorcycle manufacturer which really gets you excited about riding bikes?Jessica: I’ve had the chance to ride a lot of different bikes, but my favourite is always my own. I’ve been modifying it for two years, just making changes for it to suit me and my style. It’s a Harley Sportster 1200.
Jenny: So how would you describe what The Litas is all about? 13 Countries - 76 cities - 1500+ women! How do you think you motivated others to get involved? Are there any requirements to join or start a branch?Jessica: The Litas is all about empowering women to go for their dreams. I feel like it gives us all an amazing support network of women, which is so important to have. Of course, it’s also about having a sh*t ton of fun on motorcycles. I think others were motivated to be part of it because of what our values are based on. It’s all about including EVERYONE, on ANY type of bike. It’s more fun that way. People want to be part of something that is good and brings people up… that is what we’re about! Well, to start a new Branch, you have to have 3 women, and be willing to plan 1 event per month. That’s pretty much it. You also have to be willing to include everyone.. that is huge. If you already have a branch in your city, you can just sign up on their page on the website and they will invite you to their next event.
Jenny: What are your long-term goals for The Litas, your dream for the future?Jessica: One of my main long term goals is to organize a world-wide charity event. I think with this incredible network we could raise some serious cash for a good cause.
Jenny: I saw a UK Litas branch opened recently in Bath, how do women go about getting involved in this? Should they contact you or the branch directly?Jessica: The local organizers are the ones to contact. They can go to www.thelitas.co/bath to join them.
Jenny: On The Litas website there is a link to the Hell Babes, is this run by you? Has it been successful so far?Jessica: Hell Babes is run partly by me yes. I didn’t want The Litas to really have to worry about merch and all that stuff, so I figured I would start a little clothing company alongside it. Hell Babes sells Litas merch but also has their own stuff. I don’t know if I would say it’s successful yet… we have a LONG road ahead. But we have managed to figure out a thing or two!
Thanks for your time Jessica, keep on being awesome and we’ll hopefully go for a ride together someday!All photos were provided by Jun Song (@nostalgia_memoir)
10 May 2016