Joel Primus is an entrepreneur with a good heart — not only did he found an underwear company in part to provide an unparalleled fabric softness inspired by underwear he found while on a trip to Peru, but his company partners with local nonprofits to fund their good works. We caught up with him to chat about his brand, Naked, and his charities. In an exclusive interview with The Underwear Expert, he bares all.
Underwear Expert: Why should a guy buy your underwear over any others?
Joel Primus: Naked has been reviewed as being in the top 1% of the world in terms of quality. We use a Chemical Free Italian Microfiber ethically cut and sewn in North America. It’s lightweight, seamless and doesn’t show lines under your suit. But the best thing about Naked is that you literally feel like you’re wearing nothing at all! I look at it like this: underwear is the first thing you put on in the morning, the last thing you take off in the evening and the garment closest to your body all day.
Underwear Expert: Who is the guy that’s going to do it?
Joel Primus: We’ve had guys 16-80 buy Naked. You know.. it’s not loud or flashy but it is a total game changer. What’s so different I think is that the product has an affectionate side to it. It’s not the Ginch Gonch you show off in the club–it is more the underwear that is just for you and whoever might be so lucky to see you and feel you in them…that’s when it’s like WOW!
Underwear Expert: When was it released?
Joel Primus: I made the first prototype in August of 2008 and it took me until September of 2010 to perfect the product and get it to market. We launched nationally at Holt Renfew in Canada first and a year later in Kitson LA, and we now have stores through out the entire west coast into Texas and of course in Canada.
Underwear Expert: How did you help get this pair of underwear to the market?
Joel Primus: The question should be how did other people help get it to market!!! In the beginning I was literally selling Naked out of my car driving around to the best boutiques and sharing the product with them. Now we have an incredible team of people
who truly believe in what it means to “go Naked” sharing the product with the best stores around the country.
Underwear Expert: What’s happening next for your brand?
Joel Primus: The most important thing is that every product we introduce and every fabric we use feels Naked…feels like you’re truly wearing nothing at all. So with everything we develop–that is top of mind. But we will introduce colors in our seamless Italian microfiber cut for this summer and in the fall we will have our first cotton products with new t-shirts and tanks to go with it!
Underwear Expert: You’ve said that “unique styles and [the] culture of men’s underwear” you found in South America led you to found Naked? Can you explain?
Joel Primus: It’s not so much that they were unique as that I was so used to crappy “cardboard” cotton boxers shorts, as I call them. As soon as I touched some Pima cotton I thought “wow!” Then, I realized that Pima cotton was good but it was everywhere and every brand was using it as their premium line. So it opened the door to exploring the boundaries of what fabric and fit really could be and trying to create the sensation of feeling Naked!
Underwear Expert: How does charity fit in with your underwear?
Joel Primus: I believe giving back should fit into everyone’s business whether the themes of the charity are aligned with the product or not. We are so fortunate here. I’ve had the opportunity to travel a lot and if through the work we do at Naked we can help never see some of the horrible things I’ve had to see again I know we will have served a far greater purpose than underwear.
Underwear Expert: What are some of the projects that Naked has been able to fund?
Joel Primus: Naked has worked with a number of local charities. We’ve had the opportunity to work with the Burn Fund, the Hospice Society, Big Brothers & Sisters and Pacific Pathways Development. Most of these are global programs; but, our efforts have been geared toward local events in our hometown! Globally, community development is the foundation of the Project World Citizen Society and being environmentally sustainable is simply good practice for Naked and the projects that PWC does. Our focus right now is giving children in Ghana the opportunity to receive a university education. Everything is about empowering people to be self-sustaining generation to generation.