To start off on a tangent, yesterday when leaving a market, I saw a fellow being helped to load his car. He was walking w. a curly stick like you make. I wondered if in fact it might have been one of yours, but I felt awkward about approaching the fellow and asking him where he got his cane. At any rate, the sort of stick you make has some demand.
To the topic. I started messing w. stick making a few years before the retirement option came up. My wife suggested that perhaps I might want to pursue the craft as a part time job. I did consider it, but I couldn't find any way that I could make even minimum wage.
Here were the things I thought over. See if you have solved them.
Did I havesome tools. Only a few remnants from back when I did sculpture. Unfortunately a fellow I knew had asked to "borrow" about $300 of gouges I had, and those left town w. him soon after. I had a few power tools, but all were for simple home improvement, and were near worn out. So acquiring the tools was possible, and tho' my wife was willing to let me spend the money, I'm sure she didn't understand how much it could have cost.
Then there was work space. I'd long ago realized that my basement was too cramped for wood working. My garage is detached from the house, and has no power or insulation. I make do working on my porch, but it isn't well suited. Many folks I know who do arts and/or crafts rent space because they can write some of the cost off to offset taxes, assuming they make enough money from their practice to need the offset. Had a friend who offered space in his garage, which he used as a painting studio, but he passed away suddenly from a heart attack.
Raw materials. At first I couldn't figure out how to get enough. In the past year or so, I've realized that I could probably get a good supply of sticks by associating w. some of the tree services that the city hires to clear the roads after storms, or the utility companies use to clear right of ways. Most of the trees where I live are varieties of maple, some oak. Not always the best wood for sticks, but passable. You seem to have access to a good supply of sticks, but for a time I couldn't see how I could get enough to work on.
Sales outlets. Almost none. For a few years, there was a place that stocked local craft work, including some of the things made by the local carvers association. Thats gone. There is still a nature center that has a gift shop. There are gift shops and galleries in some of the tourist towns in the vicinity, but their business is quite seasonal, and their commission is usually at least 30% Shops in large towns have enough space for maybe 1 out of 10 producers.
I looked at what it would take to get space at arts and craft fairs, and the cost was daunting. Stalls at the farmers' markets are much the same.
That leaves internet sales. I've known people who have had some success via that route, but they do spend a lot of time watching eBay auctions, and more time packing & shipping stuff off. For awhile, I made a few $s setting up sites for them, or showing them how to code their own. This does seem to be a viable approach.
But the biggest problem is the market. The demand for walking sticks or hiking poles is a minuscule fraction of what it once was. Custom knives, custom firearm embellishment, even custom wine bottle engraving have larger markets, and generally better heeled clients.
The demand for canes for medical assistance is up w. an aging and overweight population. Unfortunately (and I'm sure you know this) the demand in that sector is jammed w. mass produced canes in a wide variety of styles and embelishments. And they are really cheap, even when sold at the few mass market chains that carry them.
To me, the conclusion was one that I had reached some years ago for other items. To be competitive, one must use some sort of reproduction technology. I know there are computer assisted wood carving tools. Altho' I always want real natural materials, it makes a lot more sense to make a very high quality original, and then cast it out of some other material. More than a decade ago, I was involved in a project that made chocolate bars from a cast developed by digital scanning of a historic carving. The original was worth $500000. The scanner and software to run it was another $300000. Then there was the established chocolate shop that could turn out enough bars that 4 oz only cost $8. Both casting and CAM have come a long way in the past decade or so. An individual might be able to make a go of it now.
Eventually, one's work might gain enough esteem that people would consider buying the original for a decent price.
Next up, the cost of ingenuity and skill...