A former Abbotsford man now living in Agassiz who appeared on the CBC TV show Dragons’ Den several years ago and went on to launch a successful underwear company is releasing a new book on Feb. 1.
The back cover of Joel Primus’s book Getting Naked – The Bare Necessities of Entrepreneurship and Startups states that the book shares “the hard-earned lessons and captivating story of the start-up of Naked Boxer Briefs.”
The Nasdaq publicly traded company had A-list celebrity endorsements, raised more than $17 million and sold its products in department stores around the world, including Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s.
The book is part memoir and part entrepreneurial start-up manual.
“Getting Naked reveals when to start your business, how to raise money, what is needed to build teams and hire employees, and why you need to develop a solid brand with objective-based operations and marketing,” the back cover states.
The book also delves into the personal sacrifices required of an entrepreneur, exploring the links between mental health, family, finding balance and “being true to who you are through it all.”
Primus, 34, grew up in Abbotsford, where he was an elite long-distance runner who represented Canada at the World Youth Games.
He co-founded Naked in 2008 out of his Abbotsford apartment. He and business partner Travis McLaren appeared on Dragons’ Den in 2009, where they were skewered for requesting $150,000 for a 33 per cent share of the company despite having had no sales.
The following year, Primus was featured in an update segment, showing that he had secured funding from investors and was about to celebrate the launch of Naked at 16 locations across B.C., Manitoba and Ontario.
In 2012, Primus again appeared on Dragons’ Den, with business partner Alex McAulay of Chilliwack, in a “second chance” segment. This time, the “dragons” – a business panel of wealthy entrepreneurs – offered them $250,000 for a share of the company, but the pair turned down the offer.
At that time, Naked had expanded into the U.S. market and, by 2014, Primus had raised more than $6 million from investors. He relocated the company to New York City, and their line expanded to include loungewear, sleepwear and lingerie.
The company merged with Australian-based Bendon Lingerie, with Primus exiting in 2018.
Primus and McAulay then founded the travel-wear company Kosan in 2017, reaching nearly $1 million in sales through a Kickstarter campaign. The company took a huge hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in them pivoting to the production of face masks last year.
Primus, his wife and two daughters now live on a farm in Agassiz, and he has added personal and professional life coach to his resume.
The couple has also completed a travel film, which took them from the Middle East to South America to the edge of the Arctic Circle. The film aired at a few film festivals last fall and is set for wider release this spring.
Primus’s book launches on Amazon on Feb. 1. Visit joelprimus.com for more information.