Studio Saltwater is the creative, marketing, and design wing of Saltwater Stories. We help nonprofits, startups, and small businesses with all of their online marketing needs.


Happy clients


Branding projects




Client satisfaction

Meet the


team behind our agency

We pride ourselves in recognizing and working with the best talent around. In additon to the core team below, we collaborate with other talented designers and experts from around the world, based on project needs.

CEO & Founder

Sumana Palle

10 years of experience in tech marketing, branding, and communications

Sumana has a varied career in tech marketing, brand management, and social development.

Sumana's experience

Having graduated with a BBA from the University of Michigan, she worked in the tech industry for 5 years as a brand and project manager at Amazon and Flywheel Digital. She then spent 2 years as a Youth for India Fellow at the State Bank of India's YFI Fellowship program, partnering with Seva Mandir in rural Rajasthan. Her project involved reviving indigenous agriculture, capacity-building for women entrepreneurship, and establishing end-to-end supply chains.She started Saltwater Stories from her cumulative life experience, as a way to help cool people, brands, and organizations tell their stories online.

  • Bachelors in Business Administration, University of Michigan - Ross School of Business (Class of 2015)
  • Alumnus, State Bank of India - Youth for India
Designer, Orso Design

Kari Paine

Creative extraordinaire, head of Orso Design

As head of Orso Design, Kari is a frequent collaborator at Saltwater, designing brand identities and websites for larger projects.

Kari's experience

Kari likes to say the first time she designed a brand was in 4th grade for her campaign to city council for adding a dog park to her home town. But she started for real for real as a paid brand designer in 2014. Since then, she’s designed for orgs and companies small and large.

  • Master of Science, University of Michigan - School for Environment and Sustainability (Class of 2016)
  • Bachelor of Arts, Kalamazoo College - Economics; Public Policy & Urban Affairs, Environmental Studies
  • Study Abroad, International Sustainable Development Studies Institute - Thai Language, Culture, and Ecology
Administrative Assistant

Sudha Palle

For all of our bookkeeping, invoicing, and other administrative needs.

With great attention to detail, Sudha helps Saltwater with all backend work. (Yes, she's Sumana's mom!)

Sudha's experience

Sudha has spent most of her career in education, working as a teacher, principal, and part of a board of directors. Currently, she works with students with special needs and autism. She takes care of Saltwater's administrative needs when she's not busy with school, gardening, spending time with her friends, or any one of the million other things she does.

  • Bachelor of Education, Nagarjuna University
  • Bachelor of Science, Andhra University - Mathematics and Physics

The core


that drive our work

Our values are our north star and we pride ourselves in meeting the highest standard of ethics. To honor the Anishinaabe land that Michigan is a part of, we donate a portion of our profits towards the conservation of the Great Lakes, threatened ecologies, and marginalized groups around the world.


We thrive on building bridges and co-creating solutions. We do this by forging strong & kind relationships with our clients and collaborators.


We share every detail of our processes, strategies, and insights with our clients. Through collective wisdom, we achieve lasting success.


We pay ethical rates to our subcontractors, provide pro bono services to those in need, and donate a portion of our profits.


Good things take time. We tailor our services to meet the specific needs and goals of each client after a thorough discovery process.

About our


Saltwater Stories is an ongoing exercise and exploration into what brings us together.

A glimpse at the


we offer

Founded in December 2022, Studio Saltwater provides comprehensive project development, storytelling, and marketing services that fosters lasting transformation for our clients.


We help you with everything you need to get started or hit the refresh button.

Brand Identity
Brand Foundation
Brand Messaging
Brand Material Design


We combine compelling storytelling, cutting-edge design, and data-driven analytics.

Web Design & Development
Advanced SEO & AO
Ecommerce Infrastructure
Accessibility & AI Integrations


We build holistic marketing strategies and sales funnels to bring everything together.

Strategy Development & Implementation
Target Audience Research
Competitor Audit
Content Marketing

Check out our


Our latest projects include working with some of the largest nonprofits and hungriest startups to develop solid strategies for success.