PORTLAND -- When we first met professional cuddler Samantha Hess two months ago, she had a lot of passion and very little profit.
At the time she told KGW, “I’m definitely not surviving off of this but I hope to at some point.”
It appears that “some point” is now.
“It’s been crazy. Since November, it’s been non-stop. Thousands and thousands of emails. Hundreds of customers. It’s more than I can handle,” Hess said from her Southeast Portland apartment.
Hess has received a lot of international attention since KGW last saw her. Local newspaper articles turned into national headlines and then CNN placed KGW’s story on its homepage, garnering millions of views.
Background: Portland woman is a 'professional cuddler'
“I’m so busy I’m booking two weeks out and I’m having to turn people down,” Hess said. It’ s a good problem to have for an entrepreneur, and now she’s hoping to expand.
Currently she works alone and goes to clients' homes, some as far away as Seattle and the Oregon Coast. Hess is now looking for space to open up a Portland studio so she can hire and train more cuddlers.
“I have people who have requested my service once my store opens from as far away as Florida,” Hess said.
If the idea of paying someone $60 an hour to spoon still doesn’t make sense to you, she says consider the lives of those who are filling her schedule.
“I mean I have clients who haven’t had touch for 40-plus years. I have people who are in relationships who aren’t getting their touch requirements met," she said. "One of my clients has Lou Gehrig’s disease. It’s really great to provide this service to make them feel loved and accepted for exactly who they are in whatever place they are in life.”