When 89-year-old Pearl Malkin became bored with her plain black cane, she decided to glue on a few flowers. From there, the grandmother from San Rafael, California began creating different canes to match different outfits.
Enter Adam London, a family friend who suggested that Malkin turn the canes into a small business. As reported by this CNN Money article, she took his advice. The result: Happy Canes, a line of walking sticks that Malkin decorates by hand.
Last month, London – an aspiring entrepreneur himself – helped Malkin launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise $3,500 in startup capital for Happy Canes. He also set her up on Etsy, an online marketplace for crafted items where her canes sell for $60.
In the CNN Money article, Malkin said she decided to start a business because she “can’t sit idle and watch boring TV all day long.” Happy Canes also represents her latest creative effort to add to her retirement fund. Five years ago, she took on a gig as a standup comic at a local restaurant.
“The older crowd wanted dirty jokes. I don’t tell dirty jokes so I stopped,” she told CNN Money. Now, she added, “I want to make people happy, spread a little cheer around and maybe buy some nice shoes again.”
Here’s a video about “Grandma Pearl” and her happy canes.