Dylan Kuehl and his mom, Terri Rose, make a great team.
Together, son and mother have climbed mountains and jumped through moving hoops.
Because of their dedication, Dylan is doing what he loves. And mom is happy that Dylan is living the life of his choice.
Breaking down roadblocks
But Dylan and Terri Rose have taken a few detours before arriving at their current destination.
In 2002, Washington Vocational Rehabilitation’s policies required Dylan to first try a traditional job before agreeing to self-employment.
He first worked at a grocery store at age 19. The job seemed like a good fit because of his personality and connections.
But Dylan soon found not everyone appreciated his strengths.
“When I would talk and communicate with customers, my work would slow down a little. My boss didn’t like this. So one of my strengths became seen as a weakness,” Dylan said.
He worked a few other jobs as well to follow rules. But he still wished to pursue entrepreneurship.
“I needed a job where I could be rewarded for my verbal and social skills,” he said.
Next what seemed like a green light, became yellow and red, again.
In 2005 the vocational agency said yes to self-employment, but the funding agency said no.
Dylan and Terri Rose then decided they wouldn’t let agency policies get in the way.
Soon after they found Washington Initiative of Supported Employment (WISE), which supports individuals interested in entrepreneurship.
WISE has given Dylan guidance in his ambitions ever since.
“They helped me get started when DVR and the funding agency lagged behind.”
Dream equals reality
Dylan established DK Arts in 2005.
Now 30 years old, he finds himself living his dream.
“I am self employed, so I can be my own boss and NEVER get fired. I get to do things that I love to do. I love my life, inside and outside the business,” Dylan said.
His visual and performing arts company allows him to pursue a wide range of interests.
At first he started out by selling his paintings printed on greeting cards, postcards, necklaces, magnets and calendars. He’s also sold a number of original prints, some inspired by a trip to Italy.
Dylan’s services also include motivational speaking, which always has an upbeat message and energetic dance.
During the last three years, Dylan expanded his business creating fine jewelry from fused glass. You can find his pieces at Pike Street market in Seattle, in boutiques across the Pacific Northwest and in his hometown of Olympia, Wash.
Thanks to mom
Terri Rose says she likes to keep her “light dim,” preferring to let Dylan “shine bold.”
But if you ask Dylan, he’d tell you that his mother is his biggest motivation.
Like many moms out there, she has done everything she can to provide opportunities for her son.
“As his mother, business manager and biggest fan, I make sure nothing gets in the way of having the life he chooses,” she said.
In supporting her son, she’s learned to advocate and educate herself.
She gives this advice to other parents looking to better their children’s life: “Stand up for your son or daughter’s choice of employment. If people around you doubt or question, they should no longer be part of the team….Be patient but always moving forward…. Never give up.”