Welcome 2022 -- Year of the Water Tiger!

It has been a rough 2022 start for most of us, with Omicron hitting closer to home and Odette affecting some of our dear friends and partners.  If there is one thing I have come to understand, these experiences have taught us to become more resilient. 

I suppose that is also how people with Autism learn to adapt. 

My nicely planned out year ender writeup and start of the year welcome had to take a back seat.  However, not all is lost.  Thanks to the Chinese, there is another New Year around the corner. 

So I am taking advantage of it to be one of the first to wish all of you a Happy Lunar Year of the Water Tiger!

Before I tell you what we have in store for 2022, allow me to share what 2021 has been for both Carlos and, Carlos and Friends.  There have been a lot of firsts for both!

  • This was the first year when I decided to retire (after working for more than 30 years) and focus more on Carlos who has already been 4 years into his teenage years.  What I did not expect was the reaction of Carlos! I guess like all teenagers, you would not want your mom hovering during your classes and therapy sessions.  What was I thinking?  Of course, he’s 17!  Oh well, at least we eventually came to an agreement on when and how I can join him. 
  • Carlos joined his first exhibit last July / August at Hiraya Gallery thru Special Achievers.  He was a bit disappointed though that he was not able to go to the gallery physically to see all his artworks on display and to say hi to friends and family who visited the gallery during the opening event.  He however did get to join us virtually.  What was also exciting was that he was able to sell most of his artworks during that exhibit!  Well done Carlos!
  • We finally launched carlosandfriendsph.com last November 2021!  It was both exciting and scary as this was a first for me!  However, we were all very encouraged (Carlos included) with the wonderful responses from all of you. We hope you will continue to support us so that we can help more kids with autism share their artworks through Carlos and Friends merchandise.
  • Successful 2022 Collaboration Calendar project!  Carlos and Friends had been selling a modest number of desk calendars for the last 4 years showcasing the artworks of Carlos.  This year, we tried something different.  Thirteen collaborative artwork compilation of thirteen artists with special abilities were the highlight of the 2022 Collaboration Calendar project.  This project was a huge success on several fronts! 
    • We were successful in showcasing the talents of these kids to a wider audience in the Philippines and around the world! In addition, we received overwhelming feedback from countries like Spain, London, Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Israel, the US and Canada.
    • We sold a lot more calendars than our usual modest volume and met new people along the way, who not only supported us but also expressed interest in collaborating with us on various fronts. What was priceless was the stories they shared and the journeys each of them took.
    • We finally offered our calendars via our partner of 3 years now – Fully Booked – and the response was amazing!

Now you know why I couldn’t just let the year pass without sharing with you these wonderful events!

Encouraged by these events in 2021, we are eager to continue what we have started into 2022 and beyond! The Year of the Water Tiger is just a few days away and, they say, if you want to begin the year right, you should have a plan.

Here are some of the things we plan to do this year:

  1. Release at least one new product every quarter!
  2. Feature new artists on our new and existing products every other month!
  3. Invite more friends to join us in reaching more people to support these artists
  4. Be more visible with other forms of social media
  5. Continue to increase the website traffic and subscribers to create a more active Carlos and Friends community who can share their stories and ideas!

As we reach out and invite more artist friends to join Carlos, it is our hope that in this journey they are able to freely discover and create more, for others to enjoy and appreciate.

Wishing you all a wonderful, colorful and happy lunar new year!

Carlos and Lisha Felipe

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