Meet the Maker: Jesse Genet of Lumi
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Lumi here at Brit HQ. We’ve been obsessed with Inkodye, their sunlight-activated fabric dye, since it came out (for more on how Inkodye works, check out our tea towels tutorial here). It’s an innovation in dying and screenprinting that is totally bananas… in a good way.
Not only were we lucky enough to have Jesse Genet, one of the company’s founders, join us for both day one and two of Re:Make in 2013, but we also got a chance to sit down with her to chat in detail about all things Lumi. Read on as Jesse tells us about the 1969 Lincoln she fixed up in high school (for real!), her innovations in dyes and screenprinting, her advice for other makers, and more.
<br/>I’ve always had a penchant for breaking and bending rules. As a high schooler in the suburbs of Detroit, I convinced my high school principal and parents that I should skip my senior year to pursue other projects. I learned that, even if earned, diplomas are not the only means to success. This helped me view school as a strategic tool instead of another hoop to jump through.
After high school I decided to drive to LA, instead of committing to college, and began working. Ultimately, I went to Art Center College of Design to study Product Design before starting Lumi. I chose Art Center because their degree programs are so focused. As a 20 year old, I had a sense that the best way to find myself was through ‘doing’ not through studying – which led me on various adventures, starting Lumi being one of them!
When did you first realize you love to make?
As a teenager I was so determined NOT to drive a beat up Honda that I worked for 6 months fixing up a 1969 Lincoln that had been languishing in our driveway for years. Every night after school I was dirty head to toe trying to bring that car back to life. When I finally got my license and drove the car to school, I was the proudest and happiest girl you could ever imagine. I learned of the incredible adrenalin rush of accomplishment and of confidence that comes with knowing how things work (in this case a 1969 car). Never shying away from hard work in order to build a life I enjoy has been a constant theme for me.
Why did you decide to start Lumi? How did you come up with the idea?
Lumi is a culmination of many of my passions. I love fashion, photography, technology, design and textile printing. The real thing that sparks my interest is problem solving. As a teenager I was trying to design and print T-shirt collections in my parents’ basement. I learned first-hand how expensive and difficult it can be to do high-quality fabric prints at home. The stubborn innovator inside me decided there simply must be a better way.
Where do you get your inspiration?
It struck me as fascinating that human beings have been printing on paper with UV light for hundreds of years. Nearly all traditional photography and darkroom processes use light to develop images. However, there was no similar light-based process for printing on fabric. That was my seed of inspiration for Lumi at the beginning. Today, my inspiration comes from people’s basic desire for self-expression. Everyone has something to say, and I’m so glad that Lumi can play a role in helping people say it, especially on something as public as their clothing.
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with other makers?
<br/>Lumi is completely fueled by technology. From our fundraising on Kickstarter, to the launch of our own Lumi app, we’ve always viewed digital tools as completely integral to our process. We feel like the best digital tools enhance our real world experiences; which is what we try to do with the Lumi app. It allows you to prototype your print ideas, and create custom negatives from your own images. All of the digital functionality is in service to the beautiful analog creation you’ll ultimately make.
How do you think the analog world is changing as the digital world continues to boom?
I think they’re practically one and the same. I think our kids will giggle when we talk about this big transition from analog to digital. We all live in a physical world, drive physical cars and eat physical food. The digital boom will simply help make our physical world more efficient and incredible than ever!
What’s up next for Lumi? Is there anything new you’ve wanted to try?
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:
You X Ventures for Unsplash
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.
Kobu Agency for Unsplash
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