The Squease story | from idea to product

Squease was invented by four designers and engineers; Andy, Katrien, Sheraz and Menno. We met as students at the Royal College of Art and Design in London, where Squease was the result of our graduation project. The inspiration for Squease started with Andy’s nephew: Alex. Like many teenagers with autism, Alex has difficulties dealing with all the information that he receives from his senses. We spent time with Alex and his friends, listening to their stories, and challenged ourselves to design a product that would help them in everyday life.

Throughout the development we worked closely with the people we designed for. We found that many responded well to firm hug-like pressure when feeling stressed or overloaded by sensory information. But whilst they like to be held firmly, they often disliked physical contact. With all this in mind, we started generating ideas, and the Squease hugging-vest was born!

There was an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the first Squease pressure vest and so, with help from family and friends, we turned the idea into reality. We launched in 2012 and have been improving Squease ever since. We would love to hear your feedback, so if you have ideas or experiences that you would like to share don’t hesitate to contact us.

Today, the people behind Squease are

The Squease team is located in the United Kingdom and in The Netherlands.

Sheraz Arif
Sheraz ArifDesigner and director (UK)
Sheraz is a designer and engineer. Prior to studying at the Royal College of Art he worked in start ups and in the finance sector. His passion is making sure that innovative ideas are taken through to commercial reality. He loves the fact that Squease is able to help the community it serves in overcoming something as debilitating as anxiety.
Andy Brand
Andy BrandTechnical Director (UK)
Andy is a designer and engineer. His nephew was diagnosed with Asperger’s nine years ago and has inspired many of Andy’s recent projects. Prior to founding Squease, Andy worked at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design where he developed guidance on the design of supported-living environments for adults with autism. From concept to delivery, Andy makes sure our products are safe and impact well-being in a positive way.
Katrien Ploegmakers
Katrien PloegmakersUser centered designer and director (NL)
Katrien is the industrial designer of the team. She has a passion for the user-driven process and lots of experience in field research and people-centred studies. She loves to interact with the users of Squease to find out how to improve the vest and become inspired with new ideas. Working from The Netherlands, Katrien runs the Dutch side of the company, helping expand its reach into international markets.
Monique Nagelkerke
Monique NagelkerkeFinance and customer service (NL)
Monique works from the Dutch office and does the financial work and customer service for the Dutch and German market. Next to working for Squease, she coaches children and youngsters with autism. Because of her coaching work she has a lot of experience with sensory integration issues and can advise Squease users on how to use their vest best.