Why Sabi is the Perfect Cane for J. Crew
Posted on April 22, 2014
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Dear J. Crew,
A friend of mine asked me why I want J. Crew to sell canes. Why not wheelchairs or walkers?
Someone else asked why not crutches?
And I would simply ask them right back. Why Not?
Then yesterday, a friend sent me an article from Fashionista titled “This Small Design Studio Is Bringing Fashion To Prosthetics”. It was about a design team that’s using design to transform prosthetics from a medical device into a new stream of fashion. And amazingly enough, their influence stems from the eyeglass industry.
I have to admit, Alleles Design Studio and the author of this article have rocked my world. This sentence from the article sums up everything I have been trying to say:
“Our whole driver is to remove [prosthetics] from the medical world”.
That’s it. That’s the answer I have been looking for. Some devices require the assistance of a medical specialist (e.g. contact lenses). Other devices can be sold en masse, no specialist needed (e.g. a cane). Then there’s this third device that has blurred the lines of retail land v. medical specialist land (eyeglasses). A customer will come into your store, purchase some beautiful eyeglass frames, and then take them to their optician to get a prescription put in them. It’s actually very odd when you think about it… taking something from a retail store to a medical specialist.
The prosthetics from this article? They are affordable objects of beauty that clip onto prosthetist fitted endoskeletal prosthetics. These clip ons can be mass produced and are both artistic in style and realistic in shape. Wearing pants, your calf will be the shape of a calf. Your knee, the shape of a knee. Wearing (gasp) shorts? You’re the coolest kid on the block!
Honestly, it makes me want to cry.
I want to say this: Maybe prosthetics don’t fit your brand. Maybe wheelchairs don’t fit your brand. Maybe canes don’t fit your brand. But maybe they will.
My partner drives a Jeep. His name is Johnny. He was named after Johnny Unitas. Johnny the Jeep is a tough, rugged, city monster who can conquer potholes and snow mounds that would swallow your average New Yorker.
When I think of Johnny’s rugged toughness, the last thing I think of is baby strollers. But that shortsightedness was mine, not Jeep’s. They were the first off-road vehicle ever made, and now they are conquering the baby stroller market.
So I hope you won’t remain shortsighted. Jeep doesn’t sell just any baby stroller. They sell a tough and rugged baby stroller that fits their brand. If Jeep can take your baby off-roading, it doesn’t seem so far fetched that you could sell a beautiful and stylish cane that fits your brand.
Now, why do I believe J. Crew and Sabi would make for a great partnership?
Because Sabi gets it. Their canes are beautiful and original. The Sabi handle is the sleek light wood of a skateboard. The purple shaft? That’s made of bicycle grade aluminum. And the tip and grip are made of the same rubber as the soles of my hiking boots.
My purple cane is an every situation and all terrain assistive device. In the same way your clothing can be dressed up and dressed down, so can my cane. It has supported me through galas, weddings, hospital trips, and hikes. No matter where I take my purple cane, it fits right in. My purple cane is my sidekick, my supporter, and most importantly… my style.
All my best,
P.S. Check out this 2012 Interview with Sabi’s CEO Assaf Wand. It’s called ‘Things I Can’t Live Without‘ and it features his J. Crew Peacoat.
P.P.S. Please take a moment to sign &/or share the #YesJCrewCane Petition!