Flip through any of Robin Chia’s notebooks and you’ll most likely find random doodles or comic strips filling the pages. As a strong believer that creativity is infinite and ubiquitous, he’s always used the characters he drew and their story as a way of self-expression. When the Singaporean Prime Minister’s wife Ho Ching visited the White House clutching a dinosaur-printed pouch designed by an autistic student, Robin had a eureka moment – one that would position his company, Shirt Printing Co (SPCO), as one of the champions for autistic children in Malaysia.
1) Tell us a little bit more about SPCO. What is your present role with the organization?
I am the CEO of SPCO and we strive to empower autistic children by teaching them arts and reusing their artworks to make shirt prints. Aside from instilling passion and creativity onto the kids at early intervention, 30% of the profit will be channeled back to the National Autism Society of Malaysia (NASOM), to improve better well-care for the kids.
We also serve as a platform for aspiring designers to showcase their art. This happens as the drawings from the children will be crowd-sourced to the designers for enhancement, 10% of the profit will serve as part of their royalty fees.
2) What inspired you to establish SPCO?
Our curiosity and willingness to empathize on the nature of autism led us to initiate this. We heard many heart-warming tales, life struggles, incredible feats from the autistic community and decided to check it out ourselves. We began by participating as volunteers in NASOM classes and spending time with the kids. We were taken aback by the uniqueness and creativity in each of them and what they can actually do if properly cared for.