When a new retailer comes to us to order their first selection of Classic Canes walking sticks, seat sticks and umbrellas for their shop or website, they are often astonished to discover that there are over 500 models from which to choose. Unless one has bought a cane for oneself or a friend or family member, it can be a suprise to find that there are so many different types: heights, weights, handle shapes, colours, patterns, materials... the choice seems endless. We don't have so many models to over-complicate things unnecessarily: it is absolutely necessary if each stick user is to find the cane that not only meets their physical needs but also, and this is very important, suits their personal sense of style.
Here we look at the main groups of retailers who stock Classic Canes and consider the types of walking sticks, seat sticks and umbrellas that best suit their clienteles. However, every business is different (thank goodness!) so interested retailers are very welcome to contact us
to discuss their requirements and receive an individual suggested order to consider.
canes for MOBILITY & HEALTHCARE STORES
Mobility retailers often come to us thinking they can only sell quite basic walking sticks that 'do the job'. We certainly have simple, everyday sticks
for this purpose, but usually, at the end of their first year of selling Classic Canes, they are amazed to find they have sold much more diverse walking sticks (and often at rather higher price points) than they had originally imagined. The obvious choices are the everyday crook
walking sticks for women and men in a selection of different colours and decorative features. Ladies' patterned canes
are a huge part of the market, because women enjoy matching them to different outfits and can accumulate large collections of them, so a range of these in petite and standard sizes is important, with colours and patterns to suit the season and the demanding tastes of women who know what they want. Folding canes
are convenient and make good gifts, easily displayed on slatwall or similar. Orthopaedic canes
with left- and right-handed designs are core stock for healthcare retailers, with shock-absorber canes
, white canes
for the blind and speciality rubber ferrules all important parts of a specialist range of healthcare products. Once a shop has the reputation for being THE place locally to find interesting sticks, animal-handle collectors' canes
, glittery crystal-set canes and formal models all add to the look of the shop and the ring of the till too. In rural areas, where often there is only one shop in town selling sticks, a selection of rustic hiking staffs and thumbsticks
, frequently displayed outside the shop door, attract the custom of farmers, dog-walkers and present-buyers. Finally, contemporary seat sticks
that can double as walking aids are a great choice for these businesses.
CANES FOR GARDEN CENTRES
Garden centres make excellent retailers of walking sticks, having both the perfect clientele and (usually) plenty of space to make beautiful displays of canes. Their customer base tends to be biased towards female shoppers and so pretty, patterned walking sticks
and folding canes
are the all-important starting point for their range. Floral patterns and those based on animals, birds and insects are an obvious match, but wooden walking sticks also appeal to customers with an affinity for the natural plant world. We always recommend a few sticks with orthopaedic handles
, because gardening in all weathers tends to result in the arthritic hand issues for which these canes are such a help. Being an outdoorsy crowd, garden centre customers are also enthusiastic consumers of trekking poles and hiking sticks
. Some walking sticks stand out as perfect for garden centres, such as the gardening print folding cane
, the harvest festival derby
with its vegetable pattern and the bee print
which is available on an adjustable stick and on a folding cane.
CANES FOR GIFT SHOPS
Most gift shops have a fairly well-defined 'sweet spot' of price points that work for their customers, so we always find out as much as we can about the other items the shop sells and tailor the walking stick range accordingly. Patterned canes
and folding sticks
always look charming in gift shops and we often recommend our 24-cane round tiered stand for this environment because it fans the canes out beautifully and makes them look very special. The more colours of canes the better: we are aiming for the appearance of a tempting sweetie shop here! Unusual canes such as the Winston Churchill cane
and other collector's sticks are in their natural home in a gift shop, but smart everyday derby canes
also sell well as do elegant orthopaedic canes
that are far-removed from anything that looks like it might be issued by the local hospital. Ladies umbrellas
are popular too, and we recommend these for anywhere with a high street location where people may suddenly need them in the event of a downpour. Chrome-handled formal canes
look the part here too as does anything with a novelty element such as our tippling cane
with its hidden glass vial inside for whisky or similar: every Father's Day and Dad's birthday conundrum solved!
CANES FOR COUNTRY CLOTHING STORES
The typical country clothing store order is a delight to behold: a profusion of rustic thumbsticks, hiking staffs and shepherd's crooks
in assorted woods and natural colours, often with children's versions alongside for the 'mini me' look. Antler and ramshorn handles on thumbsticks and shepherd's crooks supply tone and polish, and solve many a lady's problem of what on earth to buy the man who has everything. Traditional leather shooting sticks
and their contemporary alternatives are key pieces here and add greatly to the aesthetics of window and mannequin displays too. It is always interesting to see how careful selection of models can make a walking stick display look completely different: the country clothing buyer who shies away from brightly-coloured and patterned canes often finds that ladies' fashionable sticks in country colours such as muted greens
, sit beautifully with women's country clothes and silk scarfs.
CANES FOR GENTLEMEN'S OUTFITTERS AND TOBACCONISTS
These shops are the traditional places to search for a walking stick and the product selections usually reflect the timelessness of the retail environment. Quality wooden derbys
and hardwood crooks
are the mainstay of the range, with formal
chrome-handled and interesting novelty sticks, such as those with bird
handles, adding to both the appearance of the shop and the bottom line. Traditional seat sticks
are often popular, expecially during the sporting season and as Christmas presents, whilst classic gentlemen's umbrellas
remain perennial staples of British men's sartorial style.
These are the starting points for retailers to consider when stocking their shop or indeed website, but so much of the charm of an interesting retail experience is in the idiosyncracies of unexpected items found there. Walking sticks always sell best for the retailers who are most interested in them and take trouble to ensure they have a really glorious mix of them. No doubt there are some product groups where it is possible to limit the range to one version in black and one in that season's fashion colour to everyone's satisfaction, but walking sticks are certainly not one of them! Variety sells, and we are delighted to offer our very special selection to meet the needs of any walking stick retailer.