by Tom Nash
Professional cuddling – a concept whose practitioners have made headlines from Portland to London -- is coming to Richmond.
Mary Tucker has worked as a goat farmer for 14 years, selling skincare products at farmers’ markets locally. She says business has slowed, and seeing reports of other professional cuddlers inspired her to open up shop herself as The Holding Company.
“How universal and how integral is physical contact to our well being?” Tucker says. “I’m very lucky that I have a lot of people I can get a hug from any time I need it, but a lot of people don’t.”
Tucker has launched a crowd funding page that seeks $9,000 for a planned February launch. Sessions will cost $60 for one hour.
In a press release, Tucker knocks out a few questions right away: there will be no sexual touching, and there will be video cameras operating throughout the sessions. Would-be cuddlers must meet Tucker in a “neutral location” first.
But aside from those precautions, Tucker says standard business documents and insurance should cover the scope of the operation. She’s not concerned about whether there could be additional licensing restrictions – massage therapists require licenses, but cuddlers aren’t listed.
“It seems to exist in kind of a gray area,” she says.
Clarification: A previous version of this story stated Tucker is working in partnership with Sola Salon. Co-owner Todd Sanders says the company has no relationship with Tucker.