Why J. Crew? A Brief History of the Walking Stick.
Posted on April 15, 2014
I hope you will take a moment to sign the #YesJCrewCane petition before or after reading this letter.
Meet Pierre Vigny.
Vigny’s walking stick was a powerful tool meant for self defense. Historically though, walking sticks didn’t wield power. They represented it.
On his death bed in 1790, Benjamin Franklin bequeathed his walking stick to George Washington stating “If it were a sceptre, he has merited it and would become it”. A scepter is an ornamental staff held symbolically by a ruling monarch. Franklin’s walking stick clearly symbolized the power and influence he knew Washington held as the first president of the good ol’ USofA.
A hundred years ago, the walking stick was a symbol of wealth and power. Canes were sold in shops like London’s famous Smith and Sons shop. These stores were beautiful to walk into, the wooden cases artfully displayed an array of beautifully crafted merchandise.
So I’m wondering if you would consider influencing a culture that seems to be influencing your stores? Because whether you like it or not, disability is a culture. It has trends. It’s a reachable market. It even has beauty and success.
So why J. Crew? It’s simple. Because it’s always been you. You just don’t know it yet.
Before I wrap this up for the week, I thought you might find something interesting. You know, given your affinity for baseball products and all.
Baseball mitts used to be seen as a sign of weakness, worn shamefully by injured players. Once players embraced the use of these padded mitts, they completely changed the way the game was played, becoming as integral to the sport as the ball and bat.
It’s interesting to consider that the beautiful tone of those tanned mitts may not exist today had it not been for the shame of the first player to be caught wearing one. Charles Waitt chose a flesh colored glove hoping nobody would notice the device on his hand. He didn’t want anyone to think he was soft.
And I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that the greatest catch of all time was anything but soft.
And Spalding, the first company to sell baseball gloves, continues to be a dominant force in the market today.
Thanks and Best,
P.S. I hope you will take a moment to read some of the messages others have left on the #YesJCrewCane petition. Also, feel free to sign it if you haven’t already!
P.P.S. Here’s last week’s letter