Young Man with Autism Launches Sweet and Successful Biz in Maroubra Amidst Lockdown

man with autism Richard Habelrih
Photo Credit: Autism MATES/Facebook

When Richard Habelrih, a 25-year-old man with autism, had to pause his speaking engagements due to the lockdown restrictions in Sydney, he cooked up an idea to launch his own snack food business from his home in Maroubra.

Richard came up with a recipe for Freckly Faces chocolates whilst experimenting in the kitchen because of the stay-at-home orders. His mother, Randa Habelrih, said that her son initially made small batches to fill up his time as he didn’t like being idle.

Randa decided to sell some of these batches on Autism MATES, a non-profit charity advocating for the social inclusion of young people in the autism spectrum. Soon, however, Richard was making 400 to 900 chocolates a day to fulfill orders from around Australia, New Zealand, and all the way to the U.S.


  • Richard Habelrih, a young man with autism, launched the Freckly Faces chocolate business in Maroubra during the lockdown.
  • Orders have come flooding in from across the country, New Zealand and the U.S., making Richard a certified entrepreneur.
  • He’s been diagnosed in the spectrum at age 4 but has never let this defeat his drive to make significant accomplishments.

The mum said that the deluge of orders was unexpected. They thought that Freckly Faces will have a short run because Richard would soon resume his work as a public speaker. 

However, Sydney was placed on another longer lockdown so Richard pressed on with Freckly Faces chocolates and has been fulfilling bulk orders. 


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♬ Fancy Like – Walker Hayes
Freckly Faces Autism Mates Richard
Photo Credit: Autism MATES

At 4 years old, Richard was officially diagnosed in the autism spectrum and his family was often told he will encounter many obstacles. The young man never allowed these obstacles to defeat him.

Amidst the bullying and exclusion he experienced in a mainstream school, Richard was able to finish Year 12. Because of his disability, Richard could not speak eloquently but he’s now a paid orator and has been an inspiration for those who have listened to his speeches, whether they are in the spectrum or not. His mother said that people listen to Richard because he speaks with authenticity. 

Though aware that he could never have a 9 to 5 job, Richard has accomplished a lot at a young age by becoming a part-time teacher’s aide in Randwick, providing voiceovers for NDIS materials, amassing thousands of followers on social media, and creating his animated program, Timmy The Turtle.

Most of the people who helped Richard put the program together are from the spectrum. Now, he can add “entrepreneur” to his list of impressive accomplishments. 

To order Freckly Faces, which come in 8cm and 11cm diameter, visit the online shop.