Joe Caccamo was drunk at a bar when he had an idea. While shooting the shit about sex—mostly oral—with a woman he was sitting with, the Long Island native egged her on about feminine odor until finally she told him, "You know, Joe, sometimes men don't smell so good down there, either."
"We need a napkin for our nads," he retorted, half-joking. "A nadkin."
Years later, Caccamo has made good on his drunken idea: Nadkins—the "Original Male Jewels Refresher Towelette"—has made it to the marketplace. Nadkins are the world's first 100-percent natural, non-toxic wipe specially designed to refresh a man's scrotum. The towelettes—scented with a "subtle, pleasing citrus-mint fragrance"—are meant not only to clean the area, but also to hydrate and refresh its delicate skin while releasing a strong cooling effect that lasts about 20 minutes.
"This is not a baby wipe," Caccamo told me over the phone on his way back to Manhattan from a surfing trip in Montauk. "Baby wipes are paper-based and fall apart in your hand. This is a cloth-based towelette. You can pull on it, and it won't fall apart. Also, you can't walk around with a canister of baby wipes in your pocket. The point of Nadkins is to have it when you need it, and who knows when that will be."
Caccamo, who works in commercial real estate, first began thinking of something like Nadkins when he moved to New York and noticed men were getting really into grooming. Having lived in the South, he also knew that "it's tradition, like hunting and fishing, that every man powders his balls with Gold Bond powder. This is messy, disgusting, and bad for you, so I said it was time to test the waters and make Nadkins."
He pitched the idea around to people he knew in beauty and advertising and, surprisingly, was met with enthusiasm—people apparently wanted this product. Since its initial publicity launch in February, Nadkins have been featured all over the web. They were even tested out by The Doctors talk show (they approve) as well as Kocktails with Khloe.
But marketing has been sticky. "The challenge and the blessing is the name," admits Caccamo. "No one will forget what a Nadkin is, and nobody will ever hear 'napkin' again and not think of Nadkins. It's obviously a cheeky name. People tend to think it's a novelty item."
This can be frustrating. "What they do not grasp," he says, "is that this is a serious product."
Delightful. I endorse any product that prevents swampy, summertime balls.
Nadkins come in a sleek carton designed like a pack of smokes, and Caccamo enlisted the top beauty industry chemist to create a formula that's friendly for that sensitive area but still kills the bacteria that causes odor. Ingredients include aloe vera (soothes irritation); allantoin (cleans away dead skin); vitamin E (protects and nourishes); something called "colloidal oatmeal protectant" (soothes dry, itchy skin); menthyl lactate (cools and refreshes); and grapefruit essence (freshens naturally). The wipes are strong like a paper towel (the expensive kind), but that's just a bonus. "You could clean up a spill in your kitchen [with Nadkins] if you wanted to, or clean up after sex," Caccamo says. Though, he adds, "It's kind of a total waste to do that—it's not our intended purpose."
It's not, in fact, all about sex. When Caccamo and his team made the first prototype, the cooling effect was so strong that it lasted almost two hours. While they toned it down significantly, Caccamo still suggests that you avoid Nadkins right before intercourse. More than the sexual aspect, Nadkins are about men feeling fresh and not having their balls stuck to their thighs. After all, if you had 30 seconds to shower, which parts would you hit first? The genitals and your armpits.
I hit up a friend who works at a brothel to ask how she felt about the Nadkins concept. "Delightful," she replied. "I endorse any product that prevents swampy, summertime balls." She also noted that in brothels, they use baby wipes soaked in rubbing alcohol.
"There's a small percentage of the population who become squeamish when I show them the product and think it is gross," Caccamo says. "Feminine hygiene is a $15-billion industry, and you're getting squeamish about an elegantly packaged wipe for men? Really?"
There will always be hippie-dippie freegans who only eat fruit from dumpsters and relish natural human odor. But the rest of us don't want a sweaty ball sack in our faces. According to Caccamo, 35 percent of his customers are women who buy Nadkins for their male partners. Within the first six days of launch, Nadkins had sold out of inventory. Orders poured in from everywhere from Saudi Arabia to middle America.
Growing up in a Catholic family with seven brothers, Caccamo was hesitant to tell his 83-year-old mother about his latest business venture. However, his older brother spilled the beans for him.
"Now, my mom ends her day with four fingers of whiskey in a Dixie cup to quiet her thoughts, so I sat down with her one night and she goes, 'You know Joseph. Your brother told me about Nadkins.' And I'm thinking, Oh no. And she says, 'I think it's absolutely essential.' "
He laughs. "That's going to be the next campaign. Eight-three-year-old mothers agree: Nadkins are essential."