Anyone with a child knows that first day of school is usually a hard one. There are sometimes tears and a few parent's desperately try to pry their children off their pant legs. This is what happened to one East Quogue couple, who say they have a solution or at least something that has the potential to help make the day a little easier for children. It's called .
Pocket Frenz is a clothing line that Jason and Marni Hefter created with their own children in mind.
Marni says her son, Luke, has suffered from separation anxiety and to help ease him into the school environment, she sent him to school with his comforting washcloth stuffed inside his pocket.
That's when the idea of a clothing line based on characters came to the couple.
"We were sitting around the table talking, said Jason. "And we thought what about a character that stays in the pocket and can give children a tactile experience."
They scoured the Internet to see if there was anything already like it, but there wasn't. They patented their idea and sat down to create their new clothing line with a slogan, "A kid is never alone with a friend."
The pair spoke to parents, teachers and child psychologists to get ideas and also used their respective backgrounds to bring the design together — Marni has a ten-year history in women's fashion design and Jason, a Riverhead native, has a background in screenwriting and character creation.
"I draw the characters and Marni puts them into unique clothing designs," said Jason.
The design of the clothing allows the characters to stay in a child's pocket with velcro. And the characters can not only serve as a tactile experience, said Jason, but also as a puppet.
Characters include a Surf Shark, King Cobra and a girl from outer space.
"If a child is feeling intimidated, the puppet can speak for them," said Jason. "Sometimes kids would rather talk as a pupet than as themselves"
The clothing line, which is made in America, was released last week and so far, Jason says he and his wife have heard positive reviews from parents and from children and says his son Luke has even come out of his shell, acting in a YouTube video for the new line and posing for a photo shoot,.
Pocket Frenz hoodies are currently available for $68 on the Pocket Frenz website or at local shops including and in Westhampton Beach and Bean in Southampton Village for $60 each.
Elyse Richman, owner of Shock, said she is thrilled to be able to feature the line in her shop.
"Having been in the children's retail business as well as being a mother for the past 12 years, I am in tune to what some kids are sensitive to and the concern of the fabrics that they choose to buy or not buy. At Shock Kids we like to have new and unique lines and Pocket Frenz is going to be a fun line that we will be launching this summer," she said.
Jason says he and his wife has plans to expand the line with t-shirts, shorts, bags and accessories and they are thinking of a book as well as television show on Nickelodeon that focuses on the importance of friendship.