Samantha Hess, a 30-year old Portland resident has turned making lonely clients feel loved into a lucrative business. While it may seem a bizarre gig, the point of this job is to improve people’s lives by boosting self-esteem, deepening personal relationships and shifting the mindset of Western culture to view platonic touch as a positive thing between people.
The professional cuddler came up with this business idea after reading an article about a man who stood at a local Saturday market, with a “Free Hugs” sign. Another guy placed a “Deluxe hugs $2” sign next to that man, and ended up getting more hugs than him.
Hess admitted that after a 13-year relationship she “needed a service that didn’t exist”, “She had an inherent need to be accepted and loved…she wanted physical comfort that was safe and socially acceptable to reach out to”.
This led her to launch Cuddle Up To Me, which promotes her one-to-one cuddling service that does not involve the complications of a relationship.
How the Service Works
Cuddle sessions are offered in 30 or 60 minutes sessions. Before the cuddling session, both the client and the professional cuddler meet at a coffee shop, park or any other public space, just to ensure that both parties are comfortable with the arrangement and to get to know each other.
During a cuddling session, the professional cuddler and the client can lie in bed, sit on a couch or do something in between. The aim of Hess is to make sure that the clients feel comfortable, relaxed and enjoy the warmth and affection they deserve.
To personalise the experience, Hess applies the “right touch for the right person” with specific techniques, each of which are given a name. She also keeps track of her clients’ cuddling preferences, and plays specific music that caters to their needs. Importantly, there are no sexual implications involved in her service and tips are not accepted.
Hess charges $60 for a 60-minute session and $35 for a 30-minute session for services offered within a radius of 5 miles driving distance from her home base in Portland. She applies extra charges for sessions taking place in zones exceeding 5 miles distance.
At the moment, professional cuddling is Samantha’s sole job as she makes far more money from this gig than she did in her previous jobs. She claims that the earnings from this job are absolutely sufficient to make a living, even by taking five sessions a day. By working six weeks she can make a whopping $7,200.
On the whole, Hess’s service is so great and rewarding because she devotes much of her positive energy, sociability and genuine affection to “make people feel loved and accepted exactly as they are” without any conditions and treat them like her family. Although this job sounds sweet, it doesn’t come without challenges. Hess often has to deal with clients who become extremely attached to her or people who share their emotional burdens with her.
Hess views platonic touch as a profoundly therapeutic feature that makes a difference to people. She’s so passionate about this, that soon she will launch “her first retail store and create a national cuddling certification through a 40-hour program”.
Watch this video to find out more interesting insights about Hess’s gig that seems to created a huge buzz in the US and the rest of the world.