Walking stick specialist Classic Canes will exhibit a wide range of its 700+ walking sticks, seat sticks and umbrellas at Trade Days. The family firm is well known for the quality and design of its walking sticks, which it has been supplying to retailers around the world since 1982.
At this year’s trade show, Classic Canes is launching a new range of handbag-size folding canes. These fold to five sections instead of the usual four, making them more compact when folded and easy to fit into a handbag. These are available in a range of popular colourways and will retail for just under £30. Other new products include a leather seat stick with extra wide seat, available in dark brown or tan leather.
Adjustable in height, it is hoped they will be popular among customers as Christmas gifts. New styles will include a roaring lion, a boot and a duck in aviator flying goggles as well as formal chrome-plated canes. The usual range of everyday, fashionable, folding and orthopaedic canes will also be on display, with the company directors available throughout the fair to discuss retailers’ walking stick requirements.
The history of the business began when Ben and Diana Porter purchased a woodland in Somerset in the late 1970s. While they rebuilt the ruined hunting lodge at its centre, they discovered that their woodland was naturally producing suitable raw material for walking sticks. They started harvesting the wood to sell to the Coopers walking stick factory in Surrey, now defunct, before starting to make walking sticks themselves on-site some years later.
The original product range consisted of traditional country walking sticks, which the Porters sold to West Country gifts shops, craft shops and country clothing retailers. The customer base soon grew to include gift shops, garden centres and tobacconists, with the product range expanding too to include more contemporary styles, folding walking sticks, seat sticks and umbrellas.
Mobility shops were a relatively late addition to the Classic Canes stable of stockists, attracted to the company by its wide range of walking sticks, to suit the varied tastes of their customers. Classic Canes has a particular strength in the design and style of its ladies’ walking sticks, owing to the keen interest taken by the directors in matters of fashion. Classic Canes was the first company to introduce smaller proportioned sticks for women; beforehand, women had to make do with men’s sticks cut down to height. A wide range of colours and patterns is stocked, with new additions every spring/summer and autumn/winter to take account of changing fashions.