an assortment of naked underwear boxes

I co-founded Naked in 2008, quite literally in my dining-room office, in a small apartment in Abbotsford, British Columbia.

Most of my teen years, I’d been a scrawny, shaggy-haired long distance runner. After an Achilles injury, I left the sport and hitchhiked across Canada. I worked, intermittently, at odd jobs, like bartender and landscaper, then travelled to Southeast Asia, the United Kingdom and Latin America.

Months into my travels, and in desperate need of new underwear, I was at a night market in Lima, Peru where I discovered an ultra-soft pair of Pima Cotton Underwear. (Unbeknownst to me at the time, Peru is well known for its incredible cotton). Better than anything my mother had ever bought me growing up, I bought four pairs. But after wearing them on a hot and humid hike up to Machu Picchu, I realized that, although the cotton was soft, the briefs chafed.

Machu Picchu. On a trip to Peru, I found and tested the product that inspired Naked.
Machu Picchu. On a trip to Peru, I found and tested the product that inspired Naked.

I wondered if it was possible to make a pair of briefs that combined the performance quality of the products I used to wear as a runner but had the softness and style of the Pima cotton products I found in Peru.

Thus, Naked was born. The mission was to create underwear so comfortable you couldn’t feel it (hence the name); we hoped, through our positive brand messaging, we could make people feel comfortable in their own skin.

The first pairs were sewn by my friend’s grandma. When we finally launched, we had only one style in one colour. We didn’t have any money to hire models for a photo shoot so we ended up doing one ourselves with friends!

One of the very first shoots. ImageWerx pretty much did these for free to help us out.
One of the very first shoots. ImageWerx pretty much did these for free to help us out.

In the early days, I had the privilege of partnering and working with Travis McLaren, Ross Brown and Alex McAulay. All remain close friends, mentors and business confidantes today.

Alex McAulay, who was coincidentally part of the same Track & Field Club I was growing up, partnered with me through six gruelling and transformative years.

Our first big break came when Travis and I appeared on CBC’s hit television show Dragon’s Den. Later, Alex and I appeared on the Second Chance Episode. We ended up making three appearances on the show which, for a broke start-up, was a free-exposure pot of gold—despite us originally being called delusional!

With my Naked Co-Founder Alex on CBC’s Dragons’ Den Second Chance Episode.
With my Naked Co-Founder Alex on CBC’s Dragons’ Den Second Chance Episode.

In 2014, Carole Hochman became the CEO and CCO of Naked. We relocated the company from small-town Abbotsford to New York City. It was an honour to work for Carole; she did an amazing job developing new products for men and women. Soon we were in the loungewear, sleepwear and lingerie business!

Carole Hochman and me at our office on Madison Avenue.
Carole Hochman and me at our office on Madison Avenue.

Naked ended up going to public and being listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Our ultra-comfortable products were sold at Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Holt Renfrew, Hudson’s Bay Company, Saks Fifth Avenue, Dillard’s and Amazon. I spent many years touring the country, working at the store level with the sales staff; these experiences taught me so much about retail, apparel, customer service and the importance of doing business face to face to foster personal relationships—with customers and staff.

Shots from our Women’s collection that launched in 2015.
Shots from our Women’s collection that launched in 2015.

model in naked sleep wear collection

Visiting the Team at Nordstrom Michigan Avenue, Chicago.
Visiting the Team at Nordstrom Michigan Avenue, Chicago.

We even partnered with NBA Champion Dwyane Wade on a special Wade x Naked Collection and movies like The Amazing Spider-Man wore our products. Both Men’s Health Magazine and Esquire said it was some of the best underwear out there.

With Dwyane Wade and Calyann Barnett at a Nordstrom Launch Event
With Dwyane Wade and Calyann Barnett at a Nordstrom Launch Event
An article in Esquire Magazine about our partnership with the Spider-man movie.
An article in Esquire Magazine about our partnership with the Spider-man movie.

One of our favourite accomplishments was using proceeds from our sales, as well as working with local charities and donors, to build computer labels in rural Ghana!

A few years after my move to New York, Bendon Lingerie, a large global lingerie company out of Australia, reached out to us about merging with Naked. Bendon was a brand platform business for multiple brands including Heidi Klum, Stella McCartney, Pleasure State, Hickory, Davenport, Loveable and many more. Seeing the growth opportunities for our shareholders, and the ability to introduce the Naked product on a global scale, we agreed to the merger. On June 30th, 2018, Bendon took controlling interest in Naked.

This moment wasn't possible without the support of my family and an army of incredible people...many of which shared this special day with us.
This moment wasn’t possible without the support of my family and an army of incredible people…many of which shared this special day with us.
Heidi Klum Intimates - Now Part of the Naked Brand Group Family pictured in Timessquare.
Heidi Klum Intimates – Now Part of the Naked Brand Group Family pictured in Times Square.

Although in my early 20s I’d played around with a few very small startups, such as a boot camp and a magazine, Naked was my first real company. I will be sharing my incredible experiences, the learning acquired and the hardships endured, as I journeyed through the last decade of my business adventures in an upcoming book called “Getting Naked.”

Today, my family and I are living on a farm outside of Vancouver, Canada.  I’m the co-founder of Kosan Travel and as I am also deeply passionate about dedicating a portion of my time to helping people – executives and entrepreneurs – cultivate balance, as well as inner strength and wellbeing, on their path to personal and professional success I’ve become a personal and professional life coach as well as consultant to start ups.  

I’ve distilled all the knowledge that I gathered over the years into a life coaching program and 21 Day Online Transformation Course.
🔅 As I’ve shared via my blogs I’ve had to battle depression and anxiety for many years.
🔅 Had to learn to how to start a business while being a present father and maintaining a deep and connecting marriage.
🔅 I’ve Learned how to rebound from numerous failures in business.
🔅 Figured out how to maintain an active lifestyle and calm mind in the face of mounting stress and time constraints.
🔅 How to cultivate balance while pursuing your goals
🔅 And to stay true to myself amidst corporate or societal pressures
If those parts of my journey speak to you, I would highly recommend you check out my 21 Day Online Transformation Course. I built it with you in mind!
It’ll be delivered right to your inbox every week for 3 weeks and it genuinely has the potential to change your life.
Thanks for Reading,
Be Well