“They were fake pockets,” said Kamryn. “It bothered me that they weren’t real pockets.”
So she penned a letter explaining her position. She had practice writing persuasive letters from a class assignment, and decided to put her writing skills to use in the real world.
“I wrote to them because I would like a place to put my hands and a place to hold my stuff,” said Kamryn, a first-grader at Evening Star Elementary. “I want my pants to have real pockets like my brother’s pants.”
Old Navy actually wrote back, and a proud Bentonville school district posted both letters on its Facebook page. Hundreds of people responded.
“Pockets are important!” wrote one woman.
“Way to go, Kamryn! Keep speaking up for girls!” wrote another.
“I’m 56 and love front pockets! Not every girl lives w/ a purse at their side,” added a woman from Florida.
It was mid-January when Kamryn decided to put her concerns in a letter after learning the art of persuasive writing in school, said her mother, Kim Gardner, who also teaches at the school.
“She’d been voicing her frustration to me and her dad that her Old Navy pants had pockets that were sewn shut,” said Kim, 36.
Kamryn figured that she was ready to write a letter pointing out the pocket discrepancy because she had practiced her persuasive writing technique on her parents earlier that month, she said.
“I wrote them a letter that I wanted a camera and an Etch-a-Sketch, but it didn’t go so well,” Kamryn said.
Her mom told her that it would be a good life lesson to send a handwritten letter to Old Navy about her pocket-size problem, so Kamryn sat down one afternoon and neatly wrote her request with a pencil on ruled paper:
“Dear Old Navy,” she wrote. “I do not like that the front pockets of the girls jeans are fake. I want front pockets because I want to put my hands in them. I also would like to put things in them.
“Would you consider making girls jeans with front pockets that are not fake. Thank you for reading my request. Sincerely, Kamryn Gardner, age 7.”
When her mom read the letter out loud, her brother, Landon, 9, said he thought it was just right.
“It was very persuasive,” he said. “I’ve never had this problem [of no pockets]. But I’ve heard my sister talk about not having pockets all the time.”
Before Kim Gardner mailed the letter, she said she told her daughter: “Let’s see what happens. We’ll have to wait now and see if they’ll write back.”
“We honestly thought it would end there,” said Kamryn’s dad, Brandon Gardner, 38, who works in the retail industry.
“We just want our kids to learn to use their own voices and solve problems,” he said. “We didn’t think we’d hear from Old Navy, and that if we did, it would be a generic email.”
Last month, the entire family was surprised to find a package from Old Navy addressed to Kamryn when they returned home from a spring break in New Mexico, said Kim Gardner.
Her daughter was excited to get two new pairs of Old Navy shorts and two pairs of pants with real pockets, along with a handwritten note from Julie Wood of Old Navy’s kids’ team.
“Kamryn, thank you so much for taking the time to write to us about pockets on girls jeans,” Wood wrote. “The Old Navy kids product team appreciate your information. It’s great feedback as we develop new product. In appreciation, please accept some girls bottoms for you to enjoy.”
Kamryn was so excited to hear back that she took the note and the pants to school on show-and-tell day, she said.
“The girls in my class are really happy about it,” she said. “They like pockets, too.”
Kamryn’s teacher, Ellie Jayne, said she expected nothing less from a girl who loves soccer and climbing and regularly comes up with creative ways to celebrate holidays and her friends’ accomplishments.
“Kamryn doesn’t brag on herself, but she is excellent in everything she does,” Jayne said. “She has a big, fun personality and always speaks her mind.”
Although Old Navy does carry several varieties of girls’ pants with pockets, the company will keep Kamryn’s request in mind as additional styles are developed, said company spokeswoman Sandy Goldberg.
“Our design and product teams love hearing feedback from customers, especially young people like Kamryn, and we take suggestions into consideration as we work on future products,” said Goldberg.
Kamryn said after she opened her package from Old Navy, she especially appreciated her new Old Navy shorts that are embroidered with tiny white daisies.
“They’re really cute,” she said. “But mostly, I just really like the pockets.”