We have just finished a successful exhibit at the Cremation Association of North America CANA) Symposium, held in Las Vegas. The event focussed on embracing new ways to engage families and the community, including using social media (so don’t forget to join us on Facebook and Twitter). Combined with a discussion about the increasing number of cremations, it was perfect timing for LifeArt to position itself as part of this conversation.
According the Andy Brown, LifeArt Director Sales, North America “Although many of those attending had not seen LifeArt before, we were quickly recognised for the leadership role we have taken in personalising a service.”
LifeArt’s Executive Chairman and CEO, Mike Grehan has been made an Ambassador of the Asia Funeral Expo organisation. Mike will be a keynote speaker at (AFE) to be held in Macau from 8 May. With ‘sustainable development’ to be the main theme of the event, Mike was seen as a logical choice for this key role.
Mike says, “Being asked to fill the role of the Ambassador is a great honour. It’s a sign of respect and recognition of the leadership role we have taken. LifeArt has built a great reputation as an innovator, particularly in the area of ‘sustainable development’.
Last year the AFE attracted over 110 exhibitors from 17 countries, with over 2700 buyers, delegations, associations, officials and funeral professionals from 34 countries and regions attending, including 24 international groups.
January saw the first shipment leaving our China factory in Guangdong Province (60 minutes from Hong Kong) headed for the United States. It was a significant occasion, signalling an increase in LifeArt’s capacity to service global demand as well as enabling funeral homes and cremation societies in the US to begin offering our range to the public.
The initial container is currently being distributed to locations in Missouri, Illinois, Chicago and Texas. The Cremation Society of Illinois and the Evergreen Casket Company are making LifeArt available to their network. There is much anticipation about the availability in the US as many have watched the success we have had in Australia and spent time talking to us at various conferences around the world.
LifeArt is making its presence felt in the USA with orders now being processed following some significant achievements for the company. The recent National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) Expo held in Austin, Texas was a pivotal moment as we attracted a lot of positive attention from funeral homes and crossed paths with Billy Connolly.
In September LifeArt appointed Andy Brown as our Director of Sales for North America. Andy immediately spent some time learning about the production process and touring our facilities. Having a local contact in the USA is a benefit to us, but has also been widely well received by funeral directors around the country. His knowledge of the local market is already proving invaluable and was on show at the NFDA Expo.
As we reported last issue, LifeArt was nominated for an Innovation Award for our Online Designer. While we did not win, we received recognition for being the only foreign nomination, which in itself created extra interest in our Expo booth. If you have not had a chance to play around with the Online Designer, you should do so, it’s ground breaking technology for the funeral industry.
The loss of life is always tragic, but when it occurs on a large scale through natural disaster, you want to do everything you can to help the families of the victims. Watching on as the reports on the devastation caused by Typhoon Hayian came through, we reached out to local contacts in the Philippines to offer our support.
We have been in contact with funeral industry representatives to firstly to let them know we were thinking of them and all those in their communities. We also offered our assistance. Subsequently eight caskets were sent free of charge to Cosmopolitan Funeral, one of the countries largest funeral service providers, to assist with their relief work.
Chairman and CEO, Mike Grehan says, “Working with local staff, we have chosen the White and Abundant Roses designs to send through, so families can have a chance to write on them.”
“We have built LifeArt around the idea that funerals can be personalised. In a time of tragedy it is important we don’t forget the individuals and that we allow them to be remembered with meaning,” adds Mike.
From our first custom coffin we have found that a custom coffin is the most talked about aspect of the funeral service.
Families and funeral professionals tell us that the personalised coffin starts conversations that reach far beyond the awkward “I am sorry about your loss” that accompanies the use of a traditional coffin.
For the families the conversations begin before the funeral service. The process of selecting photos and creating the design means that families begin to recall the special times and personal moments.
Don’t you find it strange that in a world concerned about the effects of emissions on the habitability of our planet we insist on using coffins that produce more emissions than the body that they hold?
Can you tell the difference between the low emission coffin in the picture and the high emission clunker you saw at the last funeral service?
Most people can’t tell the difference. Research shows that most people want to be able to make the choice for the environment, especially if there is no disadvantage in appearance, quality or cost. So why aren’t all coffins friendly to our environment?
What do you believe is driving the change?
A recurring debate in waste and resources management is the extent to which the recycling of materials offers genuine benefits to the environment. Critics assert that the act of recycling have little or no benefit to the environment, suggesting that more energy may be used in getting materials to the recycling facility than is saved by the process of recycling.
As LifeArt products are made from recycled fibre this is a debate we are passionate about discussing and referencing leading research. One such report is that from WRAP (the Waste & Resources Action Programme: UK)
Welcome to the LifeArt blog. We are keen to share our thoughts with you, and hear your views and experience. The funeral industry is under radical change as families express a need for more personalised funerals. It is imperative that every industry focusses on environmental practices that minimise its impact on our planet.
I am sure there will be a lot of news and ideas to share, and we will look forward to your opinions.