It was summer 2013 and Samantha Hess was in a dark place. She had just left her husband of 13 years and though she was sure of her decision, she felt a lingering sense of yearning. Of being unfulfilled. Her loneliness was compounded by the lack of satisfaction she felt with her office job at a security firm and she found herself craving a change.
At around this time, she read a story online about how someone set up a stall at a farmer’s market offering “Deluxe Hugs” for $2 to tease a fellow hugger who was giving his away for free. The article talked about how the guy selling hugs had a lot more clients than the one giving them away. And a couple of days later, when Sam read about The Snuggery, the two ideas collided and a lightbulb went off inside her.
She immediately got to work building a website (something she had NEVER done before) and trying to find legal waivers online that made sense for a professional cuddler. There were none. She cobbled one together from those she found for yoga studios and rock climbing gyms and paid a lawyer to fill in the pieces and make sure everything was kosher.
Then, three weeks into it all, Sam got laid off.
Suddenly, she had no choice but to make Cuddle Up to Me work. She had to find a way to become a professional cuddler and charge $60/hour or she was going to starve.
She got to work printing business cards and flyers and walked around Portland dropping them off at laundromats, studios, cafes, etc. She pinned flyers to telephone poles and hoped.
In her first month of business, she got one client. The following month, she had 3. Then a TV station out of Seattle called her. And things began to happen…