March 20, 2013
Grandma Pearl Is On A Mission To Change The World, One Cane At A Time
And now it’s time for one of those feel good stories that wouldn’t be possible without the magic of the Internet.
Pearl Malkin is an 89-year old grandmother living in San Rafael, California.
When she began to experience vertigo a while back, Grandma Pearl went to Goodwill to pick up a cheap, used cane to help her get around. There was only one problem: The drab, ugly cane didn’t match her cheery demeanor. So, arming herself with a hot glue gun and some artificial flowers, Grandma Pearl made the very first Happy Cane.
As these things often happen, someone told her she had hit upon a great idea and that she should go into business selling her creation.
So that’s just what she’s done.
What makes this story even more special is that this “someone” who told her to go into business for herself is her adopted grandson.
On a recent visit to Grandma Pearl’s home, Adam London discovered that she had ambitions to become an entrepreneur after showing off eight Happy Canes which she had already completed.
London told Grandma Pearl about sites on the Internet where she could sell these canes to people all over the world, sites like Etsy and Kickstarter.
A deal was struck and London flew to New York the next day to set up an Etsy account and put together an introductory video for their Kickstarter campaign.
Grandma Pearl says she can make about 10 to 20 Happy Canes a day, which currently sell on Etsy for $60.
The multi-generational entrepreneurial pair have already raised more than their $3,500 Kickstarter goal. The campaign will end on Saturday, March 23.
Grandma Pearl has said she plans to first buy a pair of proper wire cutters with the Kickstarter cash, noting that her old pair of scissors have been hurting her hands.
If the Happy Canes business begins doing well enough, Grandma Pearl might end up hiring out some help to keep up with all the demand.
Pearl and London have a good humor about their business, as well. Some of the Kickstarter pledge rewards read more like a neighborly barter than what’s typically found on the site.
A pledge of $10, for example, earns you one famous Grandma Pearl voicemail, a prize which London says will be “worth more than $10 in comedy.” London saves all the voicemails Grandma Pearl leaves for him and has been posting some of these to the Kickstarter page. London isn’t a liar, they’re plenty funny and entirely quotable.
For $22, pledgers get a signed copy of Pearl’s biography, written by her grandson Steve Malkin. At the time of this writing, two people have pledged at the $500 level in order to have lunch with Grandma Pearl, just so long as they don’t order anything too expensive. These backers will also get a one-on-one cane making session with Grandma Pearl herself.
Yes, just like the human people who populate it, the Internet can be a pretty surprising place from time to time.
Through her Happy Canes venture, Grandma Pearl is teaching us that even retired 89-year old grandmothers are capable of reaching out and changing the world one cane at a time.
She’s also teaching us that one “wears” a cane as opposed to “use” a cane.
I, for one, had no idea.
Image Credit: Grandma Pearl via Kickstarter