This Oregon woman is paying her bills by cuddling with people all day. It might not sound like much of a career choice, but believe it or not, Samantha Hess is making a decent living out of hugging. Within a week of opening her store – ‘Cuddle Up To Me’ – she has already gotten requests from a whopping 10,000 customers!
Samantha charges her clients (who must be above 18 years of age) $1 per minute of cuddling in one of four themed rooms at her store. She also provides remote services by travelling to locations of her clients’ choice. She calls it a method of self-taught therapy through which she helps people feel loved and get comfortable with the physical touch. The snuggles are strictly platonic, of course, and she signs an agreement with her customers to be clean, courteous and to keep their clothes on at all times.
“There are no upgrades, no additional services,” the 30-year-old insisted. “I’m not interested in that. It’s about making people feel worthy of who they are today. I love knowing that people know that they are accepted, and they aren’t going to be alone anymore.”
Photo: Cuddle Up to Me
A typical cuddling session with Samantha lasts one hour, but clients are welcome to book appointments as short as 15 minutes, and up to a maximum of five hours. There are four to six different positions to choose from, either on a bed or a couch.
She said that the couch helps people who are aren’t very comfortable with touch and don’t know how to incorporate it into their world. Sometimes, she might not even touch her customer, but just sit close to them and read out loud. “Each person gets to guide their own session in that way,” she explained.
And for safety reasons, all the rooms are equipped with cameras and all the sessions are recorded in case of any misbehavior. She also provides a consultation for new clients before their their cuddling sessions begin.
Photo: Cuddle Up to Me
Although she opened Cuddle Up to Me only a week ago, Samantha has been working as a professional cuddler since June last year. “I’ve done hundreds and hundreds of sessions,” she said. “My clientele varies greatly. I have clients who are obese, who have ALS, or missing limbs. Some people just got out of relationships or are divorced. It’s sort of anybody and everybody.” While some customers talk a lot, others prefer not to utter a word.
To help her out with the growing demand for cuddles, Samantha has hired three other women at the store. She had them undergo a 40-hour cuddle training program that she designed herself, before they started working with clients. “The training program goes over what types of positions are appropriate for this service, how to guide sessions, how to get the right instincts about who the right client is for us,” she explained.
In spite of having help at the store, Samantha has had so many requests that she often works 12-hour days. In fact, clients need to call weeks in advance if they hope to get an appointment at Cuddle Up To Me. “It’s been crazy; people absolutely love it,” she said.
This isn’t the first cuddle-based business we’ve written about. A couple of years ago we posted about Japan’s strange cuddle café that gives its customers a chance to sleep (literally) in the arms of young girls. And there was also a cuddle workshop in London where the participants get to hold each other for long periods of time. But the first was Jacqueline Samuel, who pioneered snuggling as a business back in 2012.
via ABC News