A Long Island public relations executive who was concerned about his grandson’s sneezing has rolled out a product dubbed The Sneeve to halt the spread of children’s cold germs.
The Sneeve, a stretchy, blue, antimicrobial sleeve that children wear over their clothing, was launched in November at thesneeve.com and will be test marketed by drugstore chain Rite Aid in March, said the public relations executive, Stan Bratskeir.
Bratskeir’s eureka moment came about two years ago when he was in his Port Washington home with grandson Chase, who was 7 at the time. The boy was recovering from a cold and sneezing and coughing into his sleeve, just as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises those without a tissue.
“It was gross,” Bratskeir said.
Then Bratskeir thought a bit and said, “Chase, you know what you need? You need a Sneeve.”
Aimed at children ages 3 to 8, The Sneeve is impregnated with citric acid and silver dihydrogen citrate, antimicrobial compounds, which kill 99.9 percent of viruses and bacteria, the company says. Each Sneeve is designed to last a day and they are sold for $9.99 per pack of seven.
Bratskeir said that by age 9 kids are old enough to begin to use tissues and hand sanitizer.
Bratskeir, founder of Rand Public Relations and Bratskeir & Co., which handled major accounts like Perrier, Chipwich and Burger King, is an equal partner in The Sneeve LLC with his 28-year-old son Nicholas. The 71-year-old Bratskeir said he thought he was retired in April 2007 when he left MDC Partners Inc., the Canadian company that had acquired Bratskeir & Company seven years earlier.
But he found full-time pursuit of tennis and sailing unfulfilling and joined then-Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi in launching the Green Levittown initiative in December 2007. That program was designed to use financial incentives to persuade Levittown residents to add energy-efficient upgrades to their homes, setting an example for suburbs around the country.
Bratskeir, whose latest public relations venture is Blue Wolf Communications in Port Washington, said that The Sneeve is his first product launch but it won’t be his last.
“We’re trying to become our own ‘Shark Tank,’ ” he said, referring to the reality show in which entrepreneurs pitch their business models to a panel of investors in the hope of getting capital and expertise.
Bratskeir said he is already thinking of additional products and potential adult versions of The Sneeve that could be marketed to runners, cyclists and workers at fast-food chains and assembly lines who may have runny noses but no immediate access to a box of tissues.