BOSS WOMAN: SHASTA SMITH

PHOTO Lavish Living Magazine May 2016  

PHOTO Lavish Living Magazine May 2016  

1. What is your entrepreneurial story? More specifically, how did you become a boss woman?

I am third generation designer in my family. My grandmother studied architecture under Frank Lloyd Wright, my mother is currently a designer in southern California and I’m an interior architect going on 17 years. Design is in the blood. I, however, muddled that with motorsports design and a dash of TV, which is what has sparked the genuine curiosity of many.

2. What was the turning point that put you on the work-path you're on today?

I had no intention of following in my grandmother’s or mother’s footsteps, however I live and breathe engineering products and spaces. I also love to teach and spent several years as a college instructor of design. My work path evolved when I started redesigning vintage motorcycles, which inevitably developed into the international brand Vintage Monkey.

Shasta Smith, owner of The Vintage Monkey

3. For someone who wants to change their work situation, but doesn't know where to start; what would you tell them?

I’m “the” definition of a passionate business woman. My advice is do it or stop talking about it. Nothing ever gets done by talking, it gets done by doing! Is your passion something you want to earn money from or is it truly just a hobby? Do your research. Is what you have to offer innovative OR is it something missing from the marketplace that people need or want. If you are driven by money, you will fail. When your ideas are passion driven, the money will come in due time.

4. What would you say was your most difficult and proudest boss woman moment?

One of my proudest moments was when I was part of creating and developing a TV show about my design work. Then one of the biggest networks in cable purchased the show and we were on cable for an incredible season of design/build. The most difficult moment was being told by a network executive that I’m too edgy and women can’t relate to me. In essence I was being told that my love of motorcycles, tools, engineering and my personal female appearance was not good enough, I was
“un-relatable”… yet the fan letters coming from all over the world were from women thanking me. I trust my fans and followers because they are the voices that matter.

Shasta Smith, Red Hot Design

5. How do you handle the nuts & bolts of business i.e. paperwork, money, taxes, etc ... Do you hire someone or do you handle it yourself?

I handle almost 100% of it. I have an accountant because there are a lot of moving parts to what I do, and I don’t want to upset uncle Sam. Now and then I need to engage an attorney, however, I’m very savvy with the law. At any given time, I know how to handle all of it if I have to.

6. Favorite business apps or sites you're using?

Other than the occasional social media post, I don’t use any business apps.

7. If you could change one business decision from your entrepreneurial journey, what would it be?

Years ago I would have changed my intimidation of people. The assumption that someone is better than you is your worst mental enemy. We are all human and can learn SO much from each other, take advantage of learning till the day you die.

8. Hiring a graphic designer and/or photographer for branding can be daunting for some. What advice would you give them?

Hire the best, no exception. Your image and your product is your success. Make sure your marketing campaigns are top notch and to YOUR expectation, not the expectation of someone else.   

9. How do you deal with days you're feeling uninspired?

This is a great question because we all have those days. Personally, I’m driven by eccentric design and very eccentric people. On those days, I will explore videos and articles that are out of the box coupled with some good “rock star” music.

When I have time, I make coffee dates with fellow friends and colleagues. Getting things off your chest and collaborating is great therapy.

10. What is the best business advice you ever came across?

My grandfather, a retired businessman who is 92 years old (still living) said to me at a young age; In business, Don’t ever ask a question you don’t already know the answer to. As a kid, I thought it sounded crazy, but I now know what he meant …

We all find interest in different things, Shasta's happens to be avant-garde design and classic motorcycles.  She has a seventeen year history in architecture, design, and construction.  If you are a TV watcher you will have seen her hosting the international TV show Red Hot Design and she is currently in production for a new series called Motorcycle Mondays.  

Shasta is a 23 year veteran rider, and it shows.  Her work has been featured worldwide and is pure passion driven. Among the many projects she works on, 
Shasta designs vintage motorcycles for charity and non-profits. Her love of motorcycle and gear design has provided customers and fans a piece of the largest subculture in the world.  You can find her at:

www.TheVintageMonkey.com   (motorcycle brand)
www.ShastaSmith.com   (interior architecture)