Candi Canes and Walkers

beautifying the world one cane and one walker at a time


Commercial Appeal, The (Memphis, TN) March 22, 2010 Edition: Final Section: Business Page: B4

WALK IN STYLE -- Candi Feinstein CEO Chief Embellishment Officer, Candi Canes

First job: I have worked at Cordova Station Animal Hospital since 1997, where I am the office manager and sell my customized pet collars.
Most recent job: Beautifying the world one cane and one walker at a time.
Career highlight: I recently broke my leg and ankle in three places and had surgery. I realize most people wouldn't consider this a highlight, but it was the beginning of my new business. When I was discharged from the hospital, I was given an ugly, institutional walker. I started gluing rhinestones on it until it was completely bedazzled. Every time I used it, people stopped to compliment me on it.
Most satisfying career moment: My friend gave me a cane to decorate that her recently deceased mother had used. I loved that I was able to help her to walk after a car accident. I recycled a cane, and the sentimental value made it even more precious.
Career advice: Dream in color.
Person I most admire: My father, Leo Schneider, who lives in my heart and influences me every day.
Hobbies: Hunting and gathering - I spend hours searching for items that will work. I don't know what I'm looking for, but I know when I see it. When I see something I love, I buy it thinking I'll use it one day on some project.
Last book read: "Just Kids" by Patti Smith. (It is the) inspiring story of her friendship and artistic journey with Robert Mapplethorpe. I love the tales of The Chelsea Hotel, Andy Warhol, and the influences that shaped these extraordinary artists.
Favorite film: "Avatar" was something to see. I loved the bugs flying around. I enjoy classics like "Jaws," "Gone With the Wind," and "Godfather II."
Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere, any time. Give me two hours and I'll be ready to go. Italy, Amsterdam, New York City, Sanibel, Asheville, Vancouver Island and Seattle are some of my favorite spots.
What is something about you that most people don't know: I used to be skinny.
Change I would like to see: Many people could benefit from a cane or a walker but refuse to use one because of the stigma or vanity. I have compassion for those who need an aid to be mobile, because I've been there. I'd like to believe I am helping by making canes that encourage people to look not at your impairment but to compliment your cane as an artistic expression. A fashionable necessity.

As I began healing from my accident, I realized there was a real need for fashionable walking aids. I began thinking of my canes and walkers as jewelry. They actually became accessories and certainly didn't make me feel disabled. My favorites are the rhinestone-covered diamond, zebra, leopard, and patriotic design. I have canes covered in butterflies, flowers, team colors, and designs for every season. My autumn cane (I was told not to call it "fall") is covered in leaves with a chipmunk perched on the bottom. My casino walker has a poker chip bell that rings. There is no limit to the themes, interests or hobbies that can exist in a design. I love to recycle and give a cane a new life. I even have a loaner that can be used while I create one just for somebody.

"I can make your cane sparkle and shine,
Get compliments; make you feel divine.
Your cane can be a work of art,
Made by hand with lots of heart.
So if you need an aid to help you walk,
Give me a call, we need to talk.
I guarantee it will be finer,
Than any one that's made in China."

Résumé: BFA, BE, University of Miami
Personal: My husband, Richard, who lives with my "factory" taking over our kitchen. My mother, Shirley Schneider, who had a dream two years before I broke my leg that I started a business decorating canes called Candi Canes. My sister Sheri is my design and business consultant. My sister Wendi had my web site up before the glue was dry on my first walker. My greatest creation of all is my son, Brian. I've also been blessed with three of the most handsome and sweetest stepsons, Jay, Andrew and Stephen.
Photo Caption: Candi Feinstein views her canes and walkers as jewelry. She came upon the idea for fashionable walking aids after suffering an accident.