"Let's hold hands and cuddle up on the couch, or listen to some soft music while we curl up in your bed — I am happy to be the big spoon or the little spoon."
This is one of the first things you'll read when you visit Samantha Hess' website, Cuddle Up To Me.
At the age of 30, Hess is a professional cuddler. For $60 an hour, she'll intimately snuggle with strangers of all types, and bring them one-on-one cuddle time without the complications of a relationship.
The idea came to her in 2012, when she read an article about a guy with a "Free Hugs" sign at a local Saturday market. Another man stood next to him with a "Deluxe hugs, $2" sign, and ended up getting more hugs than the first guy.
"That was my lightbulb moment," Hess says. "I was at a place in my life, out of a 13-year relationship, where I needed a service that didn't exist. I was struggling and not ready for another relationship but still had an inherent need to be accepted and loved."
Hess didn't know where to turn. She wanted physical comfort that was safe and socially acceptable to reach out to.
So in May 2013, she started Cuddle Up To Me. A month later, a local newspaper featured her business in its annual "Best of Portland" issue, which helped the company gain traction. From there, the story spread to more than 40 TV stations across the country, accumulating over 17 million views — and her business took off.
Currently, professional cuddling is her only job, and Hess says she is making far more money from this business than she did in her previous jobs as a customer service representative or personal trainer.
"It's definitely enough to make a living just doing this job, and I never need to take more than five sessions a day," she says. By working six days a week, Hess can make up to $7,200 in a month.
About 90% of her clients are men between the ages of 20 and 75, and she says many suffer from severe traumatic diseases or disabilities that prevent them from having frequent human contact.
"I call my service a 'massage for the mind,'" Hess says. "It's meant to rejuvenate you and make you feel that openness and happiness in your brain by resetting your system from top to bottom."
Within 24 hours of her first session with a client, Hess usually gets a phone call or email about how much it meant to them. "I can't tell you how many times I've had to turn down tips, because people are so excited about it," Hess says.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/professional-cuddler-2014-7#ixzz38bzq6Z4g