Meet the Maker: Andria Sato of Lilikoi Design + Letterpress
Love letterpress as much as we do? Then get ready to fall head over heels for the next maker in our series presented by American Express. Meet Andria Sato, the founder of Lilikoi Design + Letterpress. She makes swoon-worthy (and sustainable!) paper goods in her San Francisco and Los Angeles studios. This nod to our HQ here in SF is one of our favorites.
If you want to check out all of Andria’s goods in person, you’ll be happy to hear that she’ll be joining us at Re:Make SF on September 13th! Alright, ready for more? Here’s her story.
First things first, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a Los Angeles native, currently living in San Francisco. I draw upon my multi-cultural upbringing, diverse creative background and love of nature, fashion, travel and art to design and letterpress print custom work and now a retail collection.
Why did you decide to start Lilikoi Design + Letterpress?
I founded Lilikoi in 2007 out of my passion for graphic design, a love for ink on paper and an open heart for the cherished, handwritten note. After several years of experience with print media, a desire to own my own business, and my love for letterpress that started back in college, the opportunity to own a circa 1889 manual press presented itself and there was no turning back.
We have grown steadily creating and producing custom projects, running our studio with sustainable practices and using high quality, carefully chosen materials made in the USA. Custom projects include wedding invitations, stationery, business cards, hang tags, and baby announcements.
Tell us why you love to make.
Creating something by hand has so much love and soul—and I get to share that story.
What does the making process look like for you?
It’s very labor intensive! Our presses are run by hand, so we get quite a workout! Quality is really important to us, as well as where our items are sourced from because they are major factors in the outcome of our products. We want to make sure we use resources that will allow us to produce the best possible outcome.
We stay true to the traditional art of letterpress, which involves mixing inks and printing by hand with 100% cotton paper that is specifically made for letterpress. We believe the press will produce outstanding work with the best combination of design, materials, patience and a talented operator. This is also achieved with the love and attention to detail poured into our products and the amazing clients we get to know.
What’s your favorite thing about the art of letterpress?
All products are not only made by hand with a labor intensive, original technique on machines that date back to 1889—they are one of a kind and beautifully tactile. There’s no other printing technique that can produce the same outcome. I think my favorite thing about the art of letterpress is that the entire process is created by hand. Every piece that comes off the press is like magic—taking artwork from the computer and printing it in letterpress brings it to life.
We’re big fans of your stationery. Where do you get your inspiration?
Thank you so much! My inspiration comes from my travels and all the incredible people around me. I’m inspired by fashion, interior design and materials that are classic and timeless to create designs that are complimentary to the printing technique of letterpress and that are accessible to both men and women. But most importantly, I’m inspired by the art of the handwritten note.
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with other makers?
Know that constantly being challenged, scared and making mistakes are all ok—it’s learning from those hurdles and being able to grow and adapt is what’s going to help you maintain your integrity, stay connected to your creativity and be your best so you can achieve bigger goals.
The most valuable business advice I’ve received and want to pass along is to maintain a healthy work/life balance, which I think is important for a role that involves creativity on a regular basis. I also think it’s important to stay true and proud of the product you’re making and to not compare yourself to others. Stay inspired, work hard and be proud of what you’re doing by staying focused on being great and confident.
What other creative hobbies do you have?
I’m passionate about photography, yoga, spending time at the beach, cooking and painting.
Tell us how technology has changed and supported what you do.
Technology has allowed for us to expand our creative opportunities with the letterpress printing technique; because presses are no longer made, this limits the technological advances for letterpress, but it’s also why it’s incredibly special at the same time. Instead of hand setting type or carving a wood block, we can create a printing plate from artwork created on the computer.
What’s up next for you?
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