Television series stars Issaquah business whiz kids

April 12, 2011

By Laura Geggel

Talents land young entrepreneurs in the limelight

Tyler Stupich, a glassblower at Issaquah's artbyfire, shows his craft and talks about taxes on the TV series 'Biz Kid$.' Contributed

Usually, people don’t learn about taxes and their multitude of alphabet soup forms —1040s, W-2s, 1099s and 1040EZs — until they get their first job or start their own company.

Instead of waiting for employees and employers to learn about subjects, like taxes, on the job, the public television show “Biz Kid$” is working to empower children about the business world.

Its next episode, airing April 17, teaches viewers about taxes with the help of three Issaquah businessmen, Issaquah High School graduates Riley Goodman and Jake Director, and artbyfire glassblower Tyler Stupich.

“Biz Kid$” Executive Producer Jamie Hammond, who helped start the show in 2008 with producers from the hit series “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” said the “Biz Kid$” episode, “A World Without Taxes” would help people understand taxes and why they need to be paid.

“There is so much negative conversation about taxes politically,” Hammond said. “People forget in a civilized society you need taxes to pay for schools and roads and utilities and hospitals and things that really are important to maintaining the infrastructure and care of a sophisticated society.”

During the 30-minute show, “Biz Kid$” reporters visit young adults and entrepreneurs who explain their journey and relationship with taxes.

Former Issaquah High lacrosse players Goodman and Director share the story for how they started Sea Town Lax, a company that sells lacrosse socks and other gear emblazoned with images of the Seattle skyline.

Just before helping their team win the state finals in 2009, the two students sat in Goodman’s Honda in the Issaquah High parking lot, discussing their futures. Each had received $700 as a graduation present, and they decided to combine their money to start a sock company.

The process was bumpy — they tried to find an American outlet that could make their socks, but when it was too expensive, so they had their stock produced in Istanbul and later in the Philippines.

When they got their first 1,000 socks two years ago, they sold out within three weeks.

“Right now, it’s going extremely well,” Director said.

The two founders tell “Biz Kid$” viewers about how they dealt with paying taxes when they started Sea Town Lax.

As young entrepreneurs, they didn’t know to keep track of their inventory or their receipts, Goodman said.

'Biz Kid$' features Issaquah High School graduates Riley Goodman (left) and Jake Director.

“They were talking to us about how we dealt with not really knowing how to pay taxes,” Director said.

Since then, Director and Goodman have taken accounting classes at the University of Washington and have managed their taxes themselves.

“We like to say our business is kind of like a hobby,” Goodman said. “It’s something we love doing. It’s real life experience.”

“Biz Kid$” reporters also visited employees to get their side of the tax story. Stupich, a glassblower working at Issaquah’s artbyfire, said he learned to put money aside during the year to pay taxes every April.

When he moved from California to Seattle two years ago, “I basically hit up every glass shop I could find,” Stupich said.

Now, he receives W-2s, forms from his employers stating how much they paid him, and does 1099s, reports showing other types of income, not counting wages or tips.

Stupich might learn something from “Biz Kid$” himself.

After all, “I still haven’t done my taxes,” he said.

What to know

‘Biz Kid$’

  • 10:30 a.m. April 17
  • KCTS 9

Laura Geggel: 392-6434, ext. 241, or lgeggel@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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