#MakerCrushMonday: Meet Ben Uyeda, Concrete Designer, Eco-Friendly Architect and Maker Extraordinaire
Architect, furniture designer and business owner Ben Uyeda is insanely inspiring. From democratizing the world of responsible, eco-friendly design to coming up with dozens of new ways to work with basic materials like concrete and metal, he is revolutionizing the concept of making in the home.
Ben’s been a longtime member of the Brit + Co family. Two years ago, he joined us as a DIY contributor and today, we’re pumped to announce the launch of our DIY Concrete Design Class, taught expertly by Ben. Stay tuned for more deets on that!
If you hit us up yesterday, you may have seen my seaside jaunt with this awesome maker. Now, it’s time to learn more about Ben, what inspires him, why he started HomeMade Modern and how he sees the future of making changing in the next decade.
What inspires you? Why do you love to design, create and make?
Seeing how cheap furniture was made from particle board and plastic inspired me to try and create affordable design made from real materials. I get inspired by constraints. I like designing things that can be made with common materials and a limited number of tools. These constraints are inspiring because they define the boundaries of accessibility.
Tell us about HomeMade Modern.
I created HomeMade Modern as a way to deliver design ideas and experiments directly to consumers. Typically financial, manufacturing, and logistical infrastructure separate designers from consumers who experience their work as finished projects. I deliver design in the form of digital media content, which lets me directly interact with consumers.
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with other makers?
Precision can be ugly. The minute we were able to make perfectly formed plastic objects is the minute when we started to appreciate the flaws of hand-hewn natural materials.
Tell us how technology has changed and supported what you do.
The 3D printers in my studio get a lot of attention, but i would argue that things like Pinterest that virally spread visual ideas are far more impactful to my day to day.
What’s on your studio playlist?
This is my new favorite song.
How do you get into the creative flow? How does it feel?
When I wake up I have a coffee and sit down with my sketchbook. No social media or emails, just caffeine and ideas.
What do you love about teaching people to make? And inspiring people who don’t think they are traditionally creative?
Anytime I show someone how to make something there is a good chance they will show me how to make differently or better. I like teaching because a shared idea is one that others can improve upon.
We love the idea of looking at teaching and learning as a way of constantly iterating and improving on ideas, design and craft. Looking for more concrete action? Here are FIVE more ways for you to get up close and personal with Ben Uyeda.
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com