An unusual business has just opened in Portland. It offers professional cuddling services.
The shop is called Cuddle Up To Me and owner Samantha Hess said it's as simple as it sounds. The shop is located near 10th and East Burnside and Hess said she has already been busy.
“This business has taken off,” said Hess. “I've gotten as many as 10,000 emails in a week.”
Hess started her professional cuddling business in 2013.
“I was at a place where I thought paying someone to hug me and not have ulterior motives sounded like a great idea,” said Hess. “I decided why can't this be a thing that we can easily and safely reach for?”
Before Hess opened her shop, she would meet clients at the locations of their choosing, now her cuddling studio offers four themed rooms with cameras. The sessions are recorded to ensure safety. An hour-long session costs $60.
“We can customize each session depending on your comfort level,” said Hess. “So, I have people who will come in and we won't touch at all. We'll just sit and read together.”
Hess said “we” because she's no longer the only worker at her business. She has since hired three women who are undergoing training to learn the art of platonic touching.
Hess said she realizes there are some skeptics and it took a while to find a landlord who trusted her business model, but she said there is nothing scandalous about it.
“People always think that there's upgrades or, you know, additional services that we provide, and that's not true,” said Hess. “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.”
The shop is open Monday through Saturday. For more information, go to www.cuddleuptome.com.
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