Professional cuddler Samantha Hess has started a cuddling shop in Portland, Oregon, and has managed to get 10,000 customers just within the first week.
Customers can ask for spooning and "the level of human contact one needs in order to be their optimal selves" for an hour by paying $60.
Hess' shop is known as "Cuddle Up To Me" and she says that her business has already taken off and she is very busy. "I've gotten as many as 10,000 emails in a week," Hess told Fox 12, The Independent reports.
The hour-long sessions include stroking the hair, holding hands and a number of cuddle positions.
There has been a surge in the cuddling business over the years. People are increasingly becoming career-oriented and while chasing their goals, they often forget to pay attention to their personal needs. Those suffering from a severe lack of intimacy and need a warm hug or any other type of human contact to satisfy their emotional and non-sexual physical needs have started seeking help from such shops.
The extent of contact is limited to the comfort level of the customer. If a person is not comfortable with the touch at all, Hess says that she just sits with him/her and reads or talks, The Telegraph reports.
Hess confessed that she herself hit a low point in her life that encouraged her to open the shop.
"I was at a place where I thought paying someone to hug me and not have ulterior motives sounded like a great idea. I decided why can't this be a thing that we can easily and safely reach for?"
Just like any other shop, where one pays to buy an item; here one pays to buy physical contact, Inquisitr reports. She faced many challenges while conceptualising the idea as she had to ensure that the business would be safe for people who are seeking short periods of physical intimacy without being sexually abused.
Hess had begun the business in 2013 itself, but now for the first time she has opened a proper shop. Before this, she used to meet her customers at a place of their choice, Mirror reports. She admitted that while she was looking for a place, she knew most landlords would not trust her business model. The landlords might assume that "cuddling" was to cover up for sex.
"People always think that there's upgrades or, you know, additional services that we provide, and that's not true ... It's a simple service. It's the same for a man or a woman. We are a family-oriented service. We're not adult-oriented in any way. We just make people feel loved and accepted for who they are."
Buzz60's video on YouTube can give us some more information on her journey.