Sofi Tsingos - GT Moto
While visitng the Handbuilt Motorcycle Show in Austin, TX back in April, we met a quite extrodinary young lady who stood out as the Real Deal. Partially due to her compliments on the Lincoln women's welding gloves and how they actually fit her hands, though mainly cus the only show piece she brought was her motorcycles. Wearing tattered jeans and a brown GT Moto Tshirt accessorized with a simple plaid button up, Sofi Tsingos proved to not be your ordinary girl... nor fabricator. Her passon gives back to the community in ways we have forgotten about in our greedy human world.
We were able to share some time with her and clarify the curiousity beyond the typical "how did you get in to that" question us hands-on girls are too frequently asked. What we found is she is so taleneted in so many ways... we want to steal her to come work with us at the Real Deal headquarters!
1. You have a lot of skill sets, what are they and what is your favorite?
- Well, I can start off by saying that my favorite skill is being able to learn. It's rewarding to pick up on things kinda quick now a days. I always say that I have never really been good at anything, but I do a lot of everything haha.
I am always wanting to learn more, and put each skill I learn into practice. Only being in my 20's, I have to keep telling myself that some things will take time and experience. Aside frome being a certified Ducati Bmw and Triumph technician, so far I have learned: welding (mig, tig, stick, oxy weld), metal shaping, using the english wheel, planishing hammer, hammer and sand bag, got pretty good with a grinder and cut off wheel, auto body repair, body work, fiberglass, painting, polishing, powder coating, managing shops, dealing with customers and sales. This might seem like a lot, but each skill requires time, and right now that is my main focus!
2. When did you know in your heart this is what you wanted to do?
- I have always been around this. My dad is an aircraft mechanic, restores old cars and hot rods, has always had a bike in the garage. So I dont think I really had a chance to think about doing anything else, its all I know. I learned auto body and paint in high school, went to Wyotech in 2009, and take metal shaping/welding/fabrication classes twice a week at night after work just for fun and to work on my 48' ford hot rod.
3. Describe your style.
- Oooo thats a good question. I never really thought about it. I think I've always kinda been in my own world. There are so many styles that I love. I would have to say that I take what I love and put it together. For example, the bikes I build, they are old 1970's bikes that I like to put a modern twist to, yet have some Art Deco style to it. I love my stuff to be way too loud. I can not help but smile when starting up a loud bike, truck, or old car.
4. Where does your passion come from?
- Easy: my Dad! He is my hero, my teacher, and my best friend. The only thing I live for is to make him proud.
5. What are your thoughts on women in the industry?
- I grew up in this industry and it was very hard... still is sometimes. I never had a woman figure in my life so I had to grow thick skin quick. I dont know any different. The past two years I have seen a HUGE change with all the women in the industry, and I think it is a great thing. It is opening up more business opportunities, and most of all, I love seeing the change in the women themselves. I notice how they are more confident after learning how to ride. They feel more independent when they learn how to weld, or build something of their own. There is a whole new respect in the industry. It is a change that is very beautiful to watch.
6. What challenges have you come across being a girl in our world, if any?
- I have noticed the change in respect and also the acceptance in getting jobs. It seems a little easier. When my resume is looked at, they no longer base their opinion on gender, they base is on experience.
7. How do you feel your contributions make a difference?
- What my company (GT-Moto) does, is we build a custom bike, raffle it, and donate to cancer research. My whole mission is to create a brand that opens the eyes to the motorcycle and hot rod community to see a bigger picture in this lifetime. When someone notices the GT-Moto logo on something or recognizes a bike that we built, they know that we have made that to raise money to help others in need. I want to change the face of a motorcyclist. One who everyone respects and knows that we work hard to save lives. Riding a bike is one of the best feelings, I want our bikes to make that feeling even better when they know it was for a good cause.
8. What's included in your fun time?
I like sleeping.
9. What are your plans for the future?
I am working 7 days a week, 12 hours a day to save money and build a brand that I can pass on down through generations. I am working really hard to get my own shop with a store front. I am also planning on have many seminars, not just for women but for men as well. I want to teach people what I have learned. Each seminar will be something different. Some will be a simple as learning how to change your oil or replace your chain. Other times will be more advanced like learning how to do body work, paint, weld, or even check and adjust your valves.
10. What advice do you have for others wanting to be hands-on like you?
"Do a lot, Say a little"
- I am not going to lie, sometimes I cry. Life is not easy, it kicks you while you are down. The hardest part is getting back up and using those hard moments to learn from. I realized that the only thing I can control is myself and the way I have to handle the good and bad things.