ROSEVILLE -- Bluem Prints is a local greeting card company out of Roseville where every print has a purpose.
The name "Bluem" comes from the combination of blue which represents autism and "em" for Emily. Their cards can be ordered online at bluemprints.com and can be found at local shops like Learning Express Toys in Roseville.
Kiki Hendon and Emily Rhoades, the co-founders, are two childhood friends with special needs.
"For people like me and Kiki, we don't get opportunities like this," Emily Rhoades explained.
Their pride is as strong as their work ethic. Kiki and Emily are the artists, manpower and salesforce behind this budding business.
Michelle Trueblood acts as a job coach, and spearhead, in what has also become a grassroots awareness campaign.
"There's still a lot of acceptance that needs to happen. Walking with them in the mall. You see differences. People that smile with you and there are people that just kind of stare," Trueblood said.
"I, like many parents, we worry because once they're out of the school environment -- it's the world. It's scary for our typical kids let alone kids with challenges," Kiki's mom, Colleen Hendon explained. "With autism, communication is a significant deficit and most of Kiki's life she had a hard time communicating."
Kiki's hard times eventually would become the inspiration behind a business plan.
Colleen says the idea to print greeting cards came from Kiki's love for good old fashioned letter writing. It was her way of reaching out.
She has since written and decorated thousands of cards. No exaggeration.
"This is her language," Hendon said.
And, this is her open door where so many have closed.
Since Bleum Prints started last year, the hope is to grow enough to one day be able to hire and include more adults with special needs.
"It's blooming out in different directions through Granite Bay, through Chico at hand through Folsom. We're spreading out. We're blooming," Emily said.