This Etsy All-Star Turns Your Photos Into Illustrations In an Instant!
One day last November, I realized that I was way behind the ball on our family holiday cards. We typically send something over-the-top-creative to all of our close family and friends. In prior years, we had come up with ornate ideas like 3D printed ornaments and laser cut cards. And while I have nothing against sending a basic family photo card, I knew it would be incredibly tough to get a decent family photo with both a two-year-old and a six-month-old. They aren’t necessarily the easiest to get to smile on cue.
Enter Miss Design Berry. (Also known as Kristin Berry.)
I found her on Etsy, during my search for “creative holiday cards” and couldn’t stop gawking at her amazing work once I landed on her shop. I’ve seen a lot of great illustrators in my life, but she seemed to be one of the best on the site. I immediately contacted her and was overjoyed when she wanted to do our cards.
The process was super simple. I sent her photos of each of us along with a rough template of what I wanted the card to look like. (Tacky holiday sweaters, obvs.) She sent back a draft and we got to go through a couple revisions together. After that, the cards were sent my way and all I had to do was add stamps and send! Here’s how the final product turned out:
Pretty lifelike, eh!? She did such a good job! (Especially with Pixel, our dog.)
I enjoyed working with her so much that I wanted to purchase a non-holiday piece of art from her as well. Given that my family and I live near the California redwoods, she created a similar piece depicting all of us in the great outdoors.
So cute! We are currently in the process of getting this one framed.
Kristin works on all kinds of products, not just family illustrations. She can manage all kinds of illustration work, from backdrops and signs to guestbook concepts and more. I once asked how she actually transforms photographs into illustrations and instead of a response, she made me a video! Check it out:
As you probably know, we at Brit + Co are all about encouraging creativity in women — and we especially love to showcase independent artisans and makers. I love hearing stories of how these women get started, and thus have asked Kristin for her own story. Read along through her replies:
Hi, I'm Brit, the founder and CEO of Brit + Co. I'm a young mom of two, tech nerd and design-inclined lady who has a zillion hobbies and curious about... just about everything! My mission from the beginning has been to unlock women's creativity and courage to try new things so that they can find the path to their true passions.
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