Cuddling with Sam and the need for more human contact.

HI, I’M SAM.  My mission in life is to make sure no one feels alone on their journey. Right now I do that through professional therapeutic snuggling.

Need Comfort When No One Can Relate to You?

Maybe you’re going through a stressful or traumatic situation.  Maybe you struggle with mental illnesses or addiction. Maybe you feel really distant from the people around you. Even if you have a great group of family and friends to help you through it, sometimes you just want someone to be with you and focus on your needs. I provide that through platonic touch in the form of professional snuggling.

Website:

https://www.snugglewithsam.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/snugglewithsam/

Darrell Stern:
To really succeed you’ve got to get stern. And we’re going to talk to all of our amazing guests about how they do just that. This is Darrell Stern live from Denver, Colorado with the Other Stern Show.

Darrell Stern:
Hey, Darrell Stern live here in the opposite of stern storming in this Stern Marketing Academy here in glorious, foggy from our smoke alarms and fires. The world is burning-

Sam:
Oh, my gosh.

Darrell Stern:
… Aurora, Colorado. So, sitting next to me, believe it or not, is a cuddling expert. So, we’re going to talk about the need for cuddling, why there’s not enough cuddling in our lives. And then we’re going to talk to Sam about how she basically said bleep it to her engineering career against your parents’ dreams and wishes and said, “I’m going to tour the country and just find people that need cuddles.” Believe it or not, this is the case. So, welcome, Sam, to the show.

Sam:
Thank you so much, Darrell, for having me here.

Darrell Stern:
Yeah, this is super cool. So, okay, so tell me about first off, why cuddling? I mean, yes, I know what it is, I’ve heard of it, I’ve done it.

Sam:
I’m sure you’ve done it, yes.

Darrell Stern:
I’ve done it at certain points in my life and we’ll get into the loss of that and all that. But why do you think overall this actually becomes something that people will actually say, “Yeah, I’m willing to pay for your time to cuddle with you.”?

Sam:
So, the way that I see professional cuddling, it is a type of therapeutic service. And this is not necessarily just you go cuddle your friends and have a good time. Especially in 2018, we’re really running into, yes, the snuggle is real. We’re running into the situation where there’s a bit of a disconnect for people, and that disconnect can look like anything as far as being sucked into the internet constantly, to people that are actually very successful and just don’t have that kind of connection with somebody both physically and emotionally. And then up to actual total isolation where actual friendships or even people being physically close, even as something as simple as holding your shoulder, can really make a huge difference.

Darrell Stern:
I’m melting.

Sam:
But especially in-

Darrell Stern:
No, but it is very, it’s so true. Okay, so here’s the thing. We’re always going like this, we’re always on this stupid thing as I call it, the Facebook, and all this crap, and [inaudible 00:02:37] and we’re almost thinking that that is a substitute or that is our social life. Right?

Sam:
And it’s not.

Darrell Stern:
This, patting someone on the back and saying hello is social. Right? Is social interaction is real friendship and all that. I will tell you that when I was divorced, right, and I moved here, I did not know anyone in the world right here in Denver. And I spent about six months isolated in my apartment. I would go out and get groceries and stuff and whatever, but I didn’t know anyone. No one so much as put their hand on my shoulder, let alone hug me or anything like that. And it drove me bleeping insane. And there’s even been studies, call it babies, young children, whatever, where they put them in two different situations where one has no touch. Right? And the one has lots of love and touch and the one without turns into, dare I say it, a monster or an inhuman person or whatever. Develops other problems and all that kind of stuff.

Sam:
Yeah. Because it’s not just a psychological problem though that’s what we normally see. It’s also a physiological problem.

When you receive touch in any capacity that’s meaningful and actually connecting, there’s a lot of physiological things are going on in the brain that regulates hormonal changes, chemical changes that affect your daily life and affect your general function. From being able to sleep better to your heart rate.

Darrell Stern:
And it’s unfortunate that just you putting your hand on… At first, it’s like it’s almost shocking. It’s almost like what is this red alert, kind of impulse because it happens so little. And it’s a shame in our society that we’re not able to walk up… Now, there’s a darker side to this. Right? There’s a darker side to this, and we’ll get into that too as to why this has shifted the pendulum swing. So now I think we swung way over here that we’re forgetting about the basics of just human connection, human cuddling, touching, whatever, hugging, whatever.

Sam:
You know what? I actually do want to talk about that. Can we talk about that now?

Darrell Stern:
Yes, let’s talk about it.

Sam:
Because I don’t want a darker subject…

Darrell Stern:
We are getting stern right to the point. Go, Sam.

Sam:
The topic of the Me Too Movement keeps coming up over and over again. Articles, ones like in the wake of Weinstein, men are not sure if hugging women is okay. Which there’s plenty of people that are trying to figure out their boundaries around touch and what isn’t okay.

Darrell Stern:
Right.

Sam:
That’s what I do. I help people figure that out in a safe environment, too. I’ve had many clients that were called out for being abusive when they didn’t even realize it. Where they were just being overly touchy, but nobody ever said anything because they didn’t know how to. So, then they finally get this outrage. And then the person that has been doing the constant touching was like, “Well, now what do I do? How do I interact with people?”

Darrell Stern:
Yeah. And then it turns the whole thing into fear and isolation that then can lead to anger and jealousy and loneliness and all kinds of things that can lead eventually to even worse behaviours as that gets pent up and can’t get out there, or release itself, or whatever.

Sam:
Yeah. So, I’m seeing these two extremes and we’re still trying to figure out as a society where that healthy middle is, that’s most of the general public can accept. And that’s very apparent in how people perceive me when I walk around and tell them I’m a professional cuddler.

Darrell Stern:
Well, even… Okay, so even culturally in different parts of the United States, if you’re in New York and somebody’s walking up next to you-

Sam:
You don’t do that.

Darrell Stern:
“Get out of my… Yo, why are you staring at me? Why are you looking at me? Get out of my space.” Whereas if you’re in maybe the Midwest or some other area, people are very like, “What town are you from in the city?” They’re right in your personal space and you’re like, “Dude, back up,” and all that kind of stuff.

Sam:
Oh, yeah.

Darrell Stern:
So, it’s funny in different… And I’m sure this is true in other cultures and other places in the world where some places it’s three feet distance. Right? And other places, French people are, I don’t know, they never stopped cuddling, touching each other, whatever. I mean, so there’s got to be a happy medium, but we do have to have open discussions about this, because it’s such an issue that ends up in all kinds of different horrible things for people in business, for people in their personal lives, whatever.

Darrell Stern:
It’s something that needs to be talked about and discussed. But that loss, that lack of that, is something that is so detrimental, I think, that, yes, people would value the opportunity to say, “I just need someone in this world to just wrap their arms around me and just snuggle up to you and just feel that human connection and be understood.” Now you, have gotten many compliments on your website. By the way, all the website stuff is posted there. How long are you still in Denver?

Sam:
I’m here until September 4th. Today is what? The 20th?

Darrell Stern:
All the way through September 4th, here in Denver, Colorado, you can make an appointment for a snuggles session here with Sam. And then you are going back. Are you going directly back to Boston?

Sam:
I’m going back to Boston.

Darrell Stern:
This is the last stop. We’re going to get into this too because this is fascinating me. The last stop on your North American tour.

Sam:
Yep. Three months I’ve been on the ground.

Darrell Stern:
Three months you’ve been on the road and you’ve been able to book appointments, get appointments, and all that. So, while we’re on this topic, okay. A total stranger meets you on Instagram. Like my friend Mark, which is the reason why we’re having this interview is because Mark, the stud muffin that he is, found Sam on Instagram. And we’re going out for pizza and he goes, “Oh, I’m bringing Sam.” And I’m like, “Who’s Sam?” And then, of course, this lovely young lady is giving me a hug and I’m like… It was the most bizarre thing. Total stranger.

Sam:
I asked first.

Darrell Stern:
Well, you did. You got up, you said, “May I give you a hug?” And I’m like, “Well, hell yeah.” I mean, that doesn’t happen every day. But you found each other on Instagram. Now, I would say this, because we’ve heard of Craigslist, you know what I mean? And all that kind of stuff. How have you been brave enough, or how do you set up the agreement and the consults, whatever you want to call it, the talk about it beforehand? Right? Is there an agreement that you have or whatever. So that you’re not petrified, and why are you not petrified, I guess is a better question, to meet some total stranger, have them come over your place or their place, and go, not only are we just going to talk whatever, we’re going to actually be physically close?

Sam:
All right, so before I go into-

Darrell Stern:
I had a lot of questions about questions.

Sam:
Yeah.

Darrell Stern:
This is fascinating.

Sam:
Before I get into that, I met Mark for coffee because we wanted to talk about each other’s businesses first.

Darrell Stern:
Of course, that’s what Mark said. That’s what Mark said, of course.

Sam:
And that’s what happened.

Darrell Stern:
Just kidding.

Sam:
Oh don’t give him crap, come on.

Darrell Stern:
I’m not giving him crap. He’s back there with his monkey, he’s fine.

Sam:
Yeah. So, there are various platforms that I’ve been using as I’ve been traveling across the country. And in general, the way that I do things and each cuddler does things a little bit differently. But I always have kind of what therapists use. Some kind of intake form. A little questionnaire to just be like, “What is it that you’re looking for? Is it something that I can help you with?” And honestly, sometimes it just isn’t. I had somebody fill out a form on my website because I have a girl that I help market out in New York City, and one of the leads actually just flat out said in the form where it’s like, “What are you looking for in your session?” He said, “I want to have sex.” Well, can’t help you there, so.

Darrell Stern:
That’s not quite what the snuggle session is, ladies and gentlemen.

Sam:
Yeah. I had to reach out and just be like, “Hey, thanks for reaching out. We’re not able to help you.” You may want to review our FAQ for what we actually do.

Darrell Stern:
Thanks, buddy. You obviously can’t read.

Sam:
Have a great day.

Darrell Stern:
Yeah.

Sam:
It happens.

Darrell Stern:
Super awesome.

Sam:
But that’s why that’s there. Because as a society, we haven’t really accepted that we can have cuddling and have it mean nothing else other than just we’re cuddling for the sake of cuddling.

Darrell Stern:
Right.

Sam:
So, that’s why I ask that question, especially. Just to make sure we’re on the same page.

Darrell Stern:
So, tell me about your biggest success story. Success story meaning that you did snuggles with someone, you told me about the gentleman, I think he was Jewish or something. And then you had an overnight snuggle. Which you cuddle and snuggle all night with, Sam, literally wakes up the next day. It’s like 24 hours of snuggling and cuddling and then touches professionals.

Darrell Stern:
You’re like, “Oh, calm down, Mark. Just play with your monkey.” What was I going to say? So, what has been the greatest change over you’ve seen in someone afterwards where they’ve told you back afterwards, either the day after or six months after, “My God, I’m now here. Where before I was depleted.”?

Sam:
Oh man, that’s a tough one. So, that-

Darrell Stern:
It should be easy.

Sam:
Well, there’s so many of them.

Darrell Stern:
Well, pick the top five. I mean, we’ve got time.

Sam:
Sure.

Darrell Stern:
It’s like Facebook, there’s no timeline. Let’s go. I want the top 100.

Sam:
Oh, I don’t have them in any order. But because while we brought it up, I’ll bring up the fat cuddle session. So, I had met the gentleman and we had a session. It started off as a three-hour session. That’s what we had.

Darrell Stern:
Three hours.

Sam:
Yep. And he enjoyed it so much. And after the session, I asked him if he wanted to come back and see me again. He said, “Well, it depends. What does your schedule look like?” Well, I was already on tour and I’m only going to each city as I go for two weeks at a time. This was about a week in. My schedule is already filling up, so I didn’t really have that much availability. Looking at it, I said, “Well, I have availability early,”-

Darrell Stern:
Of course, top professional nationwide snuggler here. Doesn’t have any availability, guys. So she’s booking out November through December of 2021 now, by the way.

Sam:
Hurry up.

Darrell Stern:
Hurry up. Book that session. So, go ahead. Go ahead.

Sam:
So the only availability I had was early Friday evening and he said, “Well, that could work except there’s an issue. I’m an Orthodox Jew.” And Orthodox Jew’s have, I think it’s shallot-

Darrell Stern:
Right, you have to go to bed or something.

Sam:
Yeah, they don’t leave the neighborhood that they’re in from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, which is about a 25 hour period according to Jewish tradition, I guess. So he was like, “Wait, I saw that you do overnights. Would you be willing to host me for that time period?” And I’m booking for a whole 25 hour period. I’ve never cuddled that long. Let’s draw up some boundaries around that, and what that would look like. But we did it. Because I didn’t know how to price that either. So, I just threw out a number that I felt comfortable charging. And he was like, “Great. How do we proceed?” And I’m thinking, “Oh my God, he actually wants to do this.”

Darrell Stern:
Oh my God.

Sam:
Before the session was really fun because I saw him and go, “How are you feeling?” He goes, “Look at my shoulders. Look how low they are.” And like, “Yeah,” and he goes, “Where were they when I first saw you?” And I had to think because I only saw him a week before.

Darrell Stern:
His shoulders were like this. Right?

Sam:
He’s like, yeah-

Darrell Stern:
I do that. I’m under stress here, I’m trying to do some work. I’m stern storming, don’t bother me.

Sam:
He sees a massage therapist twice a month. He’s never had his shoulders that low for-

Darrell Stern:
See that, Mark, massage therapists are all out of business now. You’re out of business. They’re all, you’re already… You better go to the Cuddles Academy. Which by the way, Sam actually has the training to do that too. Okay, go ahead. I’m sorry.

Sam:
That’s all right.

Darrell Stern:
So his shoulders went down.

Sam:
Yeah, his shoulders were super low.

Darrell Stern:
Relaxed, yes.

Sam:
And basically the 25 hour period we were cuddling, I think there were maybe four hours that we didn’t cuddle, and that was because we had to eat-

Darrell Stern:
Only four hours out of 25… This is better than when the guy plays Pac-Man for three days. And they put a feeding tube, so he can get a billion points and he can’t leave the arcade. This is even better than that.

Sam:
Yeah. It was more or less a cuddle retreat for him.

Darrell Stern:
It was a cuddle retreat.

Sam:
It was awesome. He loved it. He said it was one of the best experiences he’d had.

Darrell Stern:
So it’s funny because we’ll spend, this is another good, we’ll spend $10,000 to go on a retreat. Right? In the woods, camping, whatever, dah, dah, dah, or a trip to Hawaii, or whatever. We’ll spend all this money to still sit in a room by ourselves most of the time. Maybe drink at the bar by yourselves most of the time. You know what I’m saying? Or maybe go to the casino or whatever, by ourselves. And here it is, where just in your own home or wherever Sam arranges this or whatever. Right? This simple thing totally changes everything that you’re really wanting inside to change. Just by having someone hold you and all that. Did you know on America’s Got Talent, there was a professional snuggler?

Sam:
Yeah. That was Samantha Hess.

Darrell Stern:
You know who she was? Yeah?

Sam:
Yeah, she runs the Cuddle Salon up in Portland, Oregon.

Darrell Stern:
Wow.

Sam:
Yeah. She will also be at Cuddle Expo with me in Chicago next month.

Darrell Stern:
Who’s the guy that looks like JPC or that lives here?

Sam:
[Gerwin 00:15:42]?

Darrell Stern:
Yeah. Go tag him in this. So, he sees this. Can you tag him in a comment and tell him to watch? And then please share it guys, please share the broadcast. Hi, Richard Kauffman’s on from Canada. That’s super awesome. You guys are super, super awesome.

Sam:
Oh, Canada’s awesome. They actually have their own-

Darrell Stern:
See that Richard? Canada is awesome.

Sam:
They have their own-

Darrell Stern:
Do you have a license? Can you go overseas to Canada?

Sam:
They have their own association for professional cuddlers.

Darrell Stern:
They do?

Sam:
I don’t 100% agree with how they have it, but the fact that they have one is a big step in the right direction.

Darrell Stern:
So it’s CAPS, Canadian Association of Professionals Snugglers; CAPS.

Sam:
I think it’s CAPSI, but yeah, going off the top of my head.

Darrell Stern:
I was close.

Sam:
Yeah.

Darrell Stern:
Corwin Dunkin, tag him. You know how to tag him? @corwin-

Sam:
I probably did.

Darrell Stern:
I know, but tag him. [inaudible 00:16:25] Tony Robbins, Bill Gates, and while you’re at it, please tag, Gary [inaudible 00:16:32] and Elon Musk.

Sam:
Elon Musk.

Darrell Stern:
Elon Musk needs some definite cuddles.

Sam:
With everything that he goes through, yeah.

Darrell Stern:
I’ll tell you that. Cassandra Brown. Okay. You’re tagging everybody. You can also swipe up and click the invite and invite friends and all that kind of stuff. So, I’m super excited. So, okay, now we’re going to get toward the latter half of this extravagance that we’re doing. Where we talk about how we’re going to get stern. We’re going to get stern, set our boundaries in life, and all of that kind of stuff.

Sam:
So, I’m not talking about my other cuddling experiences? Okay.

Darrell Stern:
But before that, let’s talk about some of Sam’s other cuddle experiences. Go ahead, Sam.

Sam:
Geez, I feel a little bad now.

Darrell Stern:
No, no, no.

Sam:
I feel like I crossed the line here.

Darrell Stern:
No, you didn’t… Oh, just keep crossing it. But anyway, go. Go. Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t. Okay. Get back to professionalism now. Tell them about the next cuddle story.

Sam:
Sure. So one of my favorites-

Darrell Stern:
You went right back to business. You’re like, “Sure.”

Sam:
Oh, you’re a hoot.

Darrell Stern:
I am. I’m a hoot and a Jedi master.

Sam:
One of my favorite stories is probably one of my most longstanding clients. He came in as a 24-year-old who had dropped out of college, got out of a bad relationship, had various toxic friends, was living with his parents, not really happy in his job. And then just about the thing that cut it over the edge was that he had recently gotten diagnosed with autism. So then he was just like, “How did I not know I was on the spectrum all this time. And what would my life had been like if I knew sooner?”

Sam:
So, he had so many things that he was coping with, and I saw him just for one session at first, and maybe about two months later he came in again, and then a month later he came in again, and I started to hear the stories as we were cuddling. And I started to see the change in who he was as he showed up to the sessions from kind of the solemn, sullen person. Just like his energy was just so low and not really sure what to do. And I’d see him walk out of this session.

Darrell Stern:
I’m not lonely. I swear I’m not.

Sam:
Well, he’d walk out of the sessions and he seemed a bit-

Darrell Stern:
Nothing bothers me or affects me at all. I don’t need love. Yes, I do. This is awesome. Okay, go ahead. Keep telling the story. Keep telling the story.

Sam:
Yeah, so-

Darrell Stern:
I am funny.

Sam:
… About, I want to say about two years into seeing him, was when it really hit me that his life had just changed, and it felt like it was overnight. But I was like, “No, this has been happening the whole time.”

Darrell Stern:
Over two years. Right.

Sam:
Slowly but surely, friends that were bad, were getting out of his life. He was getting better friends. Those friends, he ended up moving in with and out of his parents’ house. He quit his job, and then went back and asked for a raise, and they gave it to him. His whole lifestyle changed. And he just was so much happier. And I remember the week that he got into the new apartment, he’s like, “Can we cuddle in my new apartment so I can show you the space?” And it was just so, that was so touching and that really hit me as this is the change that I’m a part of. This is incredible. Just seeing him grow even after all this time.

Darrell Stern:
Right. That’s awesome. So, this whole thing has been really rewarding for your soul, much better than engineering giant bridges and stuff.

Sam:
Well, I love… Don’t get me wrong, I loved construction engineering.

Darrell Stern:
Who doesn’t?

Sam:
It was really-

Darrell Stern:
I was reading construction engineering digest just last week and they were talking about the algorithms of the… Just go with me. I had no idea what we’re talking about. The algorithm to the bridge to the cross-links of the fibre optics and, yeah, it was a great article.

Sam:
Yeah, I loved it though. I loved that work, but it took a long time to see the tangible results. You never got into the building once it was done because you handed it over to the owner. So it’s like, “Okay, yeah I built that, but I have no idea how people like that. I don’t see the impact that it had on the people around me.”

Darrell Stern:
I have an idea. So, let’s say you’re going to build a new cruise ship or a new type of car or something that they christen it with a cuddle. Like you cuddle, either you cuddle with the car, and then you cuddle in the car with someone else, and that christens it. So, it has love in it.

Sam:
Are you suggesting cuddle cargo?

Darrell Stern:
I’m saying, no, I’m suggesting that when someone… Like you said the new apartment. Right? Well, I think that that should be like if you’re getting a new car or a new place or a new office or whatever, the first thing you should do is… I don’t know, have people cuddling. But anyway, okay, so wait. So, I have a philosophical question. Chicken and the egg kind of thing. Okay. Do we all hate each other? And everything is your B-word. Everything is hurting each other, bullying each other, [inaudible 00:21:17]. Because we stopped… Wait, wait, wait, wait. Did we stop, stop, snap? Did we stop snuggling? And then started to hate each other or did we start hating each other… I can’t say it. Because we stopped… Which came first?

Darrell Stern:
Did the breakdown of people, the family unit, whatever you want to call it, divorce, whatever, lead to less and less of that? Or, is it the other way around and the divorce… You know what I’m getting at? What stopped that from happening? Right? You know what I’m saying? Like which came first, the stopping of the snuggling and then the hate? Or the hate and then we decided to stop snuggling? I would say it’s the first one. I would say that gradually because of situations, two people working, 50… Okay, so I have a theory about the divorce rate and all this kind of stuff. Right?

Darrell Stern:
Okay. The problem with all of it is called inflation. Follow me on this. It’s pure economics. Prices of shit go up, people got to work harder just to get by. Right? Our whole society buys and accumulates shit that we don’t need, instead of cuddling. Right? So, as the mom and the dad, right, off make the money, make the monies, then come home and buy more crap that they don’t need. Spending less quality time hugging and cuddling and whatever. Arguments, don’t love each other anymore. The sex stops, the cuddling stops, the child, the divorce, blah, blah, blah. Kid hates everything, doesn’t have any snuggles; mass murderer.

Darrell Stern:
[crosstalk 00:22:48] Or, I mean, not to that extreme, but do you understand that I think that it’s an economic thing too. That it’s become harder for us to spend the time with each other. In Europe still, siesta. Right? In Spain, they take the whole afternoon off. They’re not in such damn rush to achieve the new Best Buy bigger screen TV, or whatever. I’m getting [inaudible 00:23:14].

Sam:
Yeah. No, I appreciate-

Darrell Stern:
This special three-hour-long Stern storming show is sponsored by Juice Plus because you can’t eat vegetables. You have to try to eat them in a pill. That’s what I take right there. [crosstalk 00:23:28] And it’s also sponsored by water because 70% of us would not be here if this didn’t exist. And also by coffee. That keeps me awake and 7/11 okay. Okay, back to the show. Thank you, sponsors. And by Mark Holmberg, because he has the touch that is vital.

Sam:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Darrell Stern:
Okay.

Sam:
So, to answer your question-

Darrell Stern:
You just went right back to it. I love it. Okay, go ahead.

Sam:
I feel like there are many factors that are involved with why particularly our society here in the US has become so removed. Because if you look at any cuddle site, the biggest market is in the US. The second biggest market is in the UK. I would say probably the third might be Canada, off the top of my head. I can’t say for certain on that one, but those are two big markets. But the United States, massive compared to that. It’s something to do with how we are in our culture. So, economics may play into that. It may also just be the risk of harassment or domestic violence or abuse risks that people may be afraid to interact in that way, especially if they have potential reason to believe that that would be a problem if they did engage that way.

Sam:
So, I believe that that’s also a factor. And learning to communicate before interacting in that way is so, so important. And not everybody really knows how to do that. I’ve talked with people that have… There’s a website where you can actually find cuddlers that are not professional cuddlers. And the experience that I’ve heard from my clients that have come to see me, they go, “It’s a completely different thing,” because the other person is not engaged at all.

Darrell Stern:
They’re cuddler posers, yo. Don’t be a cuddle poser.

Sam:
No, they’re enthusiasts. Give them a break.

Darrell Stern:
Don’t be like… Yeah, like hire a professional cuddler, dude. So, I want to get to the-

Sam:
Why are you getting some gangster?

Darrell Stern:
Because it’s like you got to get on that cuddles West Coast, East. Okay. So, I can’t do that. But, okay, so now, are we ready?

Sam:
I’m ready, okay.

Darrell Stern:
Okay, you’re ready? Because now we’re going to talk about the get stern. So, we’re going to get stern. So, what we’re going to do is first we’re going to talk about, in all this traveling and all this cuddling, you must obviously need to keep yourself better nutrition. Right? Exercise, fit, to a certain extent, taking good care of yourself-

Sam:
Kind of.

Darrell Stern:
To be… Well, you know what I’m saying. But take good care of yourself to have the energy to do it and all that kind of stuff. So, the first question is how do you get stern in your health? Right? In other words, taking good care of yourself so you can do this cuddling and what you do. What is your daily routine?

Sam:
My daily routine?

Darrell Stern:
Yes.

Sam:
So, my biggest priority is probably nutrition but not in the sense of food, but also in the sense of individual vitamins. So, I make sure that I take a multivitamin. I really like the gummy ones actually. You can get the ones from Trader Joe’s, you can get a pack of 16 for five bucks or something like that. And that is actually really essential for me, especially because I tend to be vitamin D deficient a lot, even in the summertime when I’m outside all the time. And that has huge correlations to-

Darrell Stern:
I’m tagging them. I’m tagging Trader Joe’s.

Sam:
Yeah. So, credit to Trader Joe’s. Thank you for being basically in every city I’ve been in on my tour.

Darrell Stern:
There you go. Right?

Sam:
Yeah. So, that has been essential for me.

Darrell Stern:
This snuggle session sponsored by Trader Joe’s and gummy vitamins.

Sam:
I am all about starting the day right though. Making sure you get good food in your system.

Darrell Stern:
Start the day right. Good food in your system.

Sam:
And getting the vitamins.

Darrell Stern:
Okay, so we’re cool. Okay, so now when you’re in your relationships… Now you said when Mark and I and you were together, you said how your parents weren’t so thrilled with this decision.

Sam:
Not at first.

Darrell Stern:
Not at first, okay. So, not just that, but in terms of this idea of, okay, I’m going to be a snuggler, but there are rules and regulations to it, and this is how I’m going to do it and I’m setting the boundary to it and all that. How did that develop? How did you get stern in your business and in your personal… Well, let’s do personal relationships first. Right? Because hasn’t there been, okay, someone who has done the snuggle and then said, “Will you marry me?” Right?

Sam:
Oh, I’ve had somebody request to have an affair with me after a session. That was like, “Okay, well, you’ve clearly missed the point.”

Darrell Stern:
You’ve clearly missed the point, guys. This is not sponsored by Ashley Madison, so behave yourself, gentlemen. Just kidding. So, okay, so talk more about that. Okay, so how do you get stern in your business relationships like that?

Sam:
Yeah, so for me personally, the biggest thing is social media and engagement in there. I want to be everywhere. I want people to find me. I want people to be interacting with me. If they’re clients, potential clients, or just big raving fans of mine. I want to be in their public eye and be able to engage with them in that public eye. Where I draw boundaries is when people start going to my personal Facebook. Now, I’m hesitant… Yeah. Because I’ve actually had a couple of people friend request me now through my personal Facebook that were clients, and they very quickly abused reaching out to me on a personal level. And it’s just like, this is not-

Darrell Stern:
See, now for me, a male, I don’t know if that makes a difference. And B, I want my personal Facebook all over the place, but I do most of my personal Facebook as Darrell Stern in the business.

Sam:
Oh yeah.

Darrell Stern:
You know what I mean?

Sam:
Yeah.

Darrell Stern:
I’m always on with the business stuff. And yeah, I share personal stuff sometimes, but most of it is me. I’m doing this stuff for that, but I understand how in your case, they meet you through some other means other on social media, and then they’re coming in and wanting to be personally messaging you and dah, dah, dah. And that can’t happen.

Sam:
Yeah, for most cuddlers-

Darrell Stern:
Understand?

Sam:
Yeah, for most cuddlers they want those two lives separate. For me, because it’s such an integral part of my life, for a while I had to try to figure out what that boundary looks like. And for me, it was if I can trust this person to respect where my personal life is, and not engage in it constantly all the time, then maybe after some time I’ll consider allowing them onto my personal Facebook. If they start abusing it, then I probably will remove them. But for the most part, if somebody friend requests me that’s a client, I’ll reach out to them through another medium, like the one that I have. Like their phone and just say, “Hey, I really appreciate that you reached out.”

Darrell Stern:
Stay off my personal-

Sam:
I’d much rather-

Darrell Stern:
Yo, my personal posts are personal.

Sam:
Hey, hey, you don’t have to be quite that rude. More like, “You can go to my page, but I’d rather keep my personal page with my personal people.”

Darrell Stern:
So nice. Yeah. Okay, so overall in terms of all this, where is this going next? How are you going to get stern with your future and how is this looking like it’s going to expand such as joining the Stern Marketing Academy. That might be something that’s next for you, but what do you think is next?

Sam:
Oh yeah, no, this whole trip has been really interesting for me for trying to figure that out because I thought I was going on this tour to train new cuddlers, and that totally did not end up happening. [crosstalk 00:31:07] What ended up happening was that I started meeting with existing cuddlers and finding out what their problems are in the industry. But I also was meeting with clients and finding out what their issues are with the industry too. So, what I noticed was that on the client end, it’s really hard for them usually to find a reliable cuddler.

Darrell Stern:
Hard to find.

Sam:
And on the cuddler end, it’s hard to really grow their business and create their own platform. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the SESTA-FOSTA act that came out. That’s a law that was specifically for… It’s why Backpage and most of Craiglist got shut down.

Darrell Stern:
Oh, right, right, right. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Sam:
That was meant to help for sex trafficking, which did its job, but it also caused a lot of collateral damage for people that advertise there, including massage therapists and professional cuddlers. I never played that game just because I saw it was very volatile.

Darrell Stern:
Of course not.

Sam:
I just didn’t want to. It was too much work. I was like, I’m going to get leads, yeah, but honestly, these aren’t going to be necessary people that are looking for me. I want to try a different route. But a lot of people were advertising that way and as soon as they shut down that portion of Craigslist, a lot of cuddlers lost over 50% of their business. Just from that. So hearing those pieces, I was like, I want to create something-

Darrell Stern:
It’s a difficult thing to try and figure out how we’re marketing, but it’s becoming though more of a known thing that’s becoming more socially acceptable.

Sam:
It is.

Darrell Stern:
Right?

Sam:
But quality for training cuddlers is not always easy to find.

Darrell Stern:
Unless you get quality training from Sam.

Sam:
Well, there are other certifications that are also-

Darrell Stern:
Do you like to cuddle? Have you always wanted to turn your love of cuddling into a successful career? Join Sam’s Cuddle Academy sponsored by the Stern Marketing Academy, and you can learn to be a professional cuddler.

Sam:
It’s actually called Sam’s Snuggle School.

Darrell Stern:
Sam’s Snuggle School, pardon me.

Sam:
It’ll be available when I finally finish filming.

Darrell Stern:
We’ll rewind that and edit that out of the final podcast. So there you go. So, you’re now developing multiple streams of revenue and all kinds of different things for this. Right?

Sam:
Yeah. So, the big thing that I want to create at this point is a platform.

Darrell Stern:
Here, “I’ve been wanting someone to cuddle up with for 17 years. LOL.” There you go Philip. Well, believe it or not, Philip is in Minnesota. Right? Rochester, Minnesota. Right?

Sam:
I’ll have to add Minnesota to my list. I’ve been getting a lot of people in that area.

Darrell Stern:
There you go. So, you could actually like the page. Right? And follow what Sam is doing on Instagram and all that other kind of stuff. And then you can contact her and you can actually do a professional cuddle session with Sam. So, you got to plan world tour number two already.

Sam:
Can I talk about the thing I wanted to create?

Darrell Stern:
Yeah, talk about the thing you wanted to create.

Sam:
Thank you. Yeah. So, I’ve been meeting really awesome cuddlers that really know their stuff and they’re really good at what they do, but they’re having trouble with marketing. And then, on the other hand, I’m also finding in the same cities, people that are looking for cuddlers long term. They’re happy to cuddle with me while I’m in town, but they’re like, “I don’t know how to find somebody that, as reliable that I know will stick with it.” Because for some reason a lot of people that get started as cuddlers, the first six months they’re started, it’s unsure if they’re going to keep doing this long term or not.

Darrell Stern:
Right.

Sam:
A lot of people drop off somewhere before that six-month mark. After that six month mark, it starts to go down. More people tend to stick with it.

Darrell Stern:
Got it.

Sam:
So, what I’m trying to create is a place for people to find the cuddlers that have-

Darrell Stern:
[crosstalk 00:34:36] That are legit, qualified cuddlers.

Sam:
Are not going anywhere, are actually going to be sticking around in the industry. And on the cuddler’s end, I want to provide help with growing their business. Not just with my platform, but also so they can independently create their own marketing too. So, that’s-

Darrell Stern:
Fascinating.

Sam:
Yeah. That’s going to be-

Darrell Stern:
[crosstalk 00:34:57] I see this empire developing around you and the funny thing is, is I’ll say, wouldn’t you hope, like a funeral director would hope one day to never have anyone die. It’s kind of funny. Never going to happen. But wouldn’t you hope one day that you would be put out of business? What I mean by that, is philosophically speaking, that one day we all got back to the basics of, “Hey, we all can use a hug.” We understood the boundaries. Right? And we did this, but we came to a new understanding of, this is something that we should be more open to, and that we should do in our daily lives with our friends, loved one, all this kind of stuff. So, that actually there was not such a dire need for someone to snuggle with. You’re like, “Screw that. I want everybody. I want to stay in business.”

Sam:
No, I have mixed feelings about that because one, I literally want to put myself out of business. I would love to see more people having healthy relationships.

Darrell Stern:
There you go.

Sam:
I want them to be able to be both literally and physically and metaphorically connected with more people. And, I also want to see a professional level start to develop, much like massage has. So obviously, you can get a shoulder massage and whatnot from a friend, but it’s very different from when you go see a massage therapist that really knows-

Darrell Stern:
That’s true. That’s true.

Sam:
I think that’s going to be the same thing for professional cuddling.

Darrell Stern:
So why don’t… So, let’s say there’s a couple and they’re married and they’ve lost some of that intimacy and connection. Right?

Sam:
There’s absolutely a market for that.

Darrell Stern:
[crosstalk 00:36:34] Well, that’s what I’m telling you to do. I’m telling you to also do snuggling lessons and maybe an online course for people that are in a relationship. Right? To make their relationship better and restore the snuggling. I would also even do that for parents who have lost touch with their kid, with their teenager. Right? I would also do it with teenagers to understand how to give a hug to their mom and dad because I think there’s a big problem there too.

Sam:
Oh, for sure.

Darrell Stern:
We’re just all just so fricken angry with each other all the time and just so pent up like that, because it is like that shoulder thing. It is like that shoulder thing of everybody’s just so ready to-

Sam:
If you don’t mind me asking, it sounds like to me you’ve experienced this either personally or you witnessed it?

Darrell Stern:
Oh, time the end the show. Thank you very much for tuning in. Oh no, we’re not going deep down into my thing, but we will when I want it to do this. Snuggles, thank Mark, thank you for supporting us-

Sam:
Thank you, Mark.

Darrell Stern:
Fill up, yeah. Do follow Sam all over the place. You guys are awesome and please do support the show by broadcasting it, by sharing it all over the place. We’re going to be back with some exciting guests. This just happened by happenstance that I called my friend Mark. I said, “We’re going to go for pizza.” He says, “Oh, I’m bringing my new friend Sam.” Here comes Sam. The first thing she says is, “Hey, can I have a hug?” And it was, I will tell you this, it was one of the best hugs I’ve had in a very long time. So, find someone around; a professional, right, who will snuggle with you. Thank you very much, guys. I’ll see you guys later.

Sam:
Bye.

Darrell Stern:
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