It's been a warm and fuzzy year for Jacqueline Samuel. The Penfield, N.Y., woman who quickly garnered Internet attention in 2012 with her rather unusual entrepreneurial plan, is still holding tight (pun intended) to her snuggle-selling home business.
It started with an ad in the back of her local newspaper advertising cuddle services, ranging anywhere from $50 to $90 for pure, old-fashioned snuggling. The requests started flowing in and Samuel launched her website, The Snuggery, tapping into the demand for simple human touch.
Now, in a new interview with Metro a year and a half after she opened shop in her home, Samuel reveals she has developed a loyal clientele, expanded her business and hired two additional snugglers.
"Because of all the media coverage I was seeing 30 to 40 clients a week, and I didn’t realize it at the time but it was too much," Samuel confessed. "Initially, it felt like I was in bed all day."
With sessions lasting between 45 and 90 minutes, Samuel has slashed her cuddle time to 10 hours per week with a group of repeat clients. She has not taken on new snuggle-seekers in 11 months, she said. She lets her two new recruits pick up some of the slack. But where does one find professional snugglers?
"One of them, I put up an ad and she seemed perfect," Samuel said. "The other I met through a friend of a friend at a concert. She is just starting this week."
"I go over exactly how it's going to be and the paperwork, and the process," she added. "I show them around the site and we do a practice session with either real client or a person who wants to act as client."
Samuel has a set of rules in place about what happens during a snuggle session (no nudity, no sexual activity). She said most clients abide and she rarely has to end a session, though it has happened.
"I guess when I initially started out, because I had such a large volume, I had to be more firm with the rules," she recalled. "I had one person I had to end the session with because they weren’t respecting the boundaries. He was very apologetic."
Samuel said she has seen one "competitor" pop up on Craigslist, but that person seems to be operating privately and not as an official business like The Snuggery.
As for whether her work is starting to feel like every other 9-t0-5 job, she said, "No, it doesn't get boring."