Kiki Hendon, Cofounder
Kiki is one of Bluem’s cofounders and the inspiration behind its product. Although language and social skills have been a challenge for Kiki since her diagnosis with autism at 2 years old, a combination of early intervention, speech and sensory therapy, determined parents, and an accepting community has been the key to her success. As early as elementary school, Kiki started writing notes to her family, teachers, and friends. For her, these notes were a way to overcome her challenges with speaking and connect with her community. Since then, writing and sending notes and cards has become Kiki’s signature. She has written, decorated, and mailed thousands of cards, so it’s no surprise she became the founder of a card line.
Emily Rhoades, Cofounder
Emily is another one of Bluem’s cofounders and her contagious positivity and confidence in the face of a challenge are the lifeblood of the Bluem team. After being diagnosed with Down Syndrome and health issues just after she was born, it took a lot of hard work for Emily to grow into the spunky leader she is today. Determined to make sure health and social issues didn’t stand in her way, Emily’s parents enrolled her in early intervention speech therapy and kept her mainstreamed through her school years. As a result, Emily has become an active member of her community; she worked on her high school yearbook and teaches Sunday school at her church. Now, she brings that patience, compassion, and dedication to Bluem every day.
Colleen Hendon, Cofounder
Colleen is one of Bluem’s cofounders and its creative director, but her favorite job is being Kiki’s mom. A lifelong crafter and a savvy businesswoman, Colleen brings a keen eye for color, a love of texture, and 20 years of small business experience to the Bluem Prints team. Colleen’s uses her creative eye to blend Kiki and Emily’s art and handwriting into the unique designs Bluem is known for. Colleen also oversees Bluem’s business affairs including managing customer relationships and expanding sales opportunities. After years of advocating for Kiki and working to give her independence, Colleen is happy to see all that hard work coming to bloom.
Michelle Trueblood, Job Coach
Michelle Trueblood is the Job Coach for the Bluem team. A natural leader and an expert trainer, Michelle works with Kiki and Emily to develop the necessary skills to run a successful small business. By combining her decades of management experience with her patient and compassionate nature, Michelle truly accomplishes Bluem Print’s goal of giving adults with special needs a creative outlet and a positive and productive work environment.