To stand out from their competition and stay in business, funeral homes need to engage the growing number of people choosing cremation over burial. Exhibitors at the 2017 National Funeral Directors Association convention and expo in Boston indicate change is in the wind. These three first-time exhibitors illustrate some of the personalization trends in the funeral industry.
Petra Orloff, a professional writer for more than 25 years, turned her professional skills toward obituary and eulogy writing after her father died in 2004. This year, she founded Beloved, providing the services of professional writers to create custom obituaries and eulogies that become keepsakes treasured by the family over time.
After experiencing the moving reactions to the obituary and eulogy she wrote for her father, Orloff saw the benefit of providing memorial writing services. “People really enjoyed reading a beautiful story about a beloved family member who just passed away. They tend to hold onto it as a memento,” she explained.
“This can be something special for many more people,” Orloff added. “Often we find that obituaries are just for celebrities and public figures. These are for everybody, and they get the same treatment.”
These personalized life stories can run hundreds, even thousands of words. They are often posted on funeral home websites, may be passed around by the family on social media, printed as keepsakes or incorporated into the funeral program. Learn more at www.Beloved-Press.com.
The Bonsai Urn
The Bonsai Urn promises “Growing Life from Loving Memories.” How? You can give the cremated remains of your loved ones a beautiful, portable resting place combined with an elegant potted plant.
The ingenious patent pending design of the Bonsai Urn features an insert for a four-inch pot containing any kind of bonsai plant. Soil and cremated remains are mixed in a center ring, into which the roots can grow over time. The rest of the remains go into an exterior ring inside the urn.
The Bonsai Urn was conceived in a moment of inspiration when founder David Lieberstein, a successful entrepreneur in the housewares and gift industry, helped a client market a biodegradable urn for the garden using tree seeds. He realized if you are renting, live in an apartment, condo, or are thinking of moving in the next few years, a portable option with a bonsai or house plant in an urn could be helpful.
Lieberstein reflected, “The passing of our loved ones is always challenging. As more and more people choose cremation for environmental, societal and budgetary reasons, we need more options for the cremains of our family Members. The Bonsai Urn gives families an important option to ease this transition and grow memories with natural beauty.” Learn more at www.BonsaiUrn.com.
Handful of Home
Millions of Irish Americans identify with their roots in the Emerald Isle. Now two ladies from Dublin have brought Handful of Home, Original Irish Dirt, to America. For those who claim Irish ancestry, Handful of Home offers the opportunity for burial in contact with earth from their land of origin.
“What we wanted to do is help Irish Americans celebrate their cultural heritage at some of the most important moments of their lives,” explained Aifric O Byrne, co-founder of Handful of Home.
She noted, “In the ancient Jewish tradition, the ultimate mitzvah, the ultimate act of kindness, was burying your loved ones.” At Jewish burials in America, it’s traditional to bury the person with earth from Israel, a tangible contact to the land of Jewish ancestry
“In the Christian tradition, throwing a handful of earth from the Old Country on top of the coffin or urn really celebrates the roots of who we are as we go back to the earth,” she said.
Handful of Home started importing Irish earth to the United States to provide a powerful and emotional element to Irish American funerals. You can imagine the warm response they received in Boston, the cultural homeland of Irish Americans. Learn more at www.HandfulOfHome.com.
Pioneering death educator Gail Rubin, Certified Thanatologist, works with organizations to connect with baby boomers concerned about end-of-life issues. She uses humor, funny films, and outside-the-box activities to reach this valuable demographic. Gail was the event coordinator of the inaugural Before I Die ABQ Festival, which attracted 600 attendees to 22 events in Albuquerque, NM, between October 20-25, 2017. Learn more at www.AGoodGoodbye.com.
Academy Guest Blogger
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