*hug vest
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*hug lap pad
hug starfish lap pad
hug splat
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About Us
Meet Dominic Pistocchi, our inspiration for the creation of calming hugs!
Dominic's Story

Dominic is just like any other eight year old boy. He loves his Nintendo DS and Wii video games. When he isn't playing those he loves reading I Spy books. He is somewhat independent and quiet except for when it comes to discussing Pokemon. He absolutely loves to swim and will spend hours bobbing up and down in the pool. Sometimes Dominic still has emotional breakdowns but with a little help from his weighted hug vest or hug pet, he bounces back within minutes. He says it makes him feel like they give him "power". In fact, he knows now to ask for them when he feels like he needs them. Now that is progress! Dominic has a sweet demeanor and when he does try to make eye contact with you, he has a sideways smirk and dimples that will just melt you in to pieces.

A mother's passion to help her son

Calming Hugs started from one mother's need to create a stylish weighted vest to better enable her autistic son to blend in with his peers. The marketplace offered weighted vests that screamed, "Look at me, I'm different!" Available options used bulky materials or silly designs that made vests look thick and unusual. Fashionable alternatives that provided the needed deep touch pressure were unavailable.

Discussing the frustration in the kitchen of a good friend's home, a stylish solution began taking shape. The little boy tried different options and provided terrific opinions to develop a quality vest that also soothed and calmed him when needed.

One of our early customers said her son told her our weighted vest felt like a big hug to him. Aahhh. What a wonderful feeling, a hug! That is how we knew, calming hugs, would be the perfect business name. The extreme love of a mother for her autistic son, "just to be one of the boys", is the basis for our passion. We hope you or your loved one experience the feelings of soothing, peaceful, calming hugs every time you use our products.

There have been many people to thank in the creation of this dream. Al Perry and Jim Griffith from SCORE gave me the initial education and foundation to start the journey. I appreciate their encouragement and business experience. Kelsey Allen deserves recognition for taking our ideas and creating a fantastic modern logo design. I value the support and information provided to us by Karen Cook. Her knowledge, positive attitude and love of children helped us immensely. I am grateful for the partnership provided by Jeff Tasker and Shannon Brasseaux at Tasker and Peterson. Their smiles, friendly advice and on-going guidance is valued tremendously.


Barbara Lau

Children are my passion. Each little miracle is unique, special and amazing. My first exposure to weighted products was through my work in an elementary Special Education classroom. I continue to learn amazing things from these extraordinary children. I have seen how a weighted vest or weighted lap pad can provide that extra sensory need to enable a child to regroup and gain internal control. I witnessed how the deep touch pressure can make a significant impact on behavior change. I am proud to be part of calming hugs. Our weighted products are functional yet stylish so that when kids use them, no one has to know it provides a dual purpose. A kid can just have fun.

I attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and Human Resources. My days at this amazing campus were filled with an appreciation of the UW Marching Band, Memorial Union Terrace and great times as a House Fellow. My Wisconsin dairy farm childhood and amazing parents, Leo and Kathy Hanke, gave me the background for hard work, dedication to family, unconditional support and a love of the Green Bay Packers. My second parents, Charles and Donna Lau, are great role models providing a foundation of love, humility and respectfulness. I am blessed with a fantastic husband, David, and am appreciative of his helpful suggestions, extreme patience and unwavering support. My amazing three boys, Jason, Colin and Kevin, each bring joy, laughter and happiness to my heart every day. My sister, Susan, second sister, Nikki, and brothers Michael and Daniel have been and continue to be a source of inspiration, collaboration, and just lots of fun. My aunt Rita believed in my passion and showed unwavering support of which I am greatly appreciative. Sharon Steffen, Mary Daun, June McMahon, Kim Jacobs and Lisa Ann Krutzik, provide unending strength, enjoyment and remarkable friendships. DeAnne and Penny are amazingly talented women who welcomed me on this amazing journey. My father and second sister Debbie, are missed every single day but I know continue to support me from Heaven. I am immensely blessed by the support of my family and friends but God deserves the glory for creating the path allowing me to pursue this dream.

Calming Hugs has made a difference in my life. I truly hope you will find that our hug products make a difference in yours!

Founding Friends

Thank you to my friends who were part of our original creation. You are both special, strong, talented women and I wish you the very best, always!
DeAnne Pistocchi Penny Seeman
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