In today’s ever-changing society, it is often difficult for relatives to physically visit a grave. Some may not have the opportunity or resources to do so. Memorialization and personalization products provide families with the ability to take a memory with them, wherever they go. Personalized products bring up good memories and spur conversations and remembrances of good times rather than focusing on the grief and solemn circumstances of the current moment.

“Personalization increases revenue and adds customization allowing families to express themselves. This adds value and gives the family a positive funeral experience,” says Nikki Nordeen, Director of Sales with Terrybear Urns & Memorials.

Families today are stepping far out of the realm of traditional funeral ceremonies and looking for ways to remember and celebrate the life of their loved ones in unique and memorable ways. To stay relevant, funeral homes must pay close attention to these evolving trends; it is essential to the future and growth of their funeral home. Offering memorialization and personalization services will help any funeral home make up for the loss in revenue caused by the rise in the popularity of cremation. Successful funeral homes in the industry today know they can not afford to pass up on this market trend.

“There is definitely a shift from generalization to customization. More and more families want their loved one’s picture on the keepsakes. They don’t want generic pictures of saints and crosses as much as they used to. Families already understand that the location of the service as well as the order of service itself all show the religious affiliation of the loved one. What they want now in their personalization offerings is to be able to let everyone see how amazing their loved one was and how they’ve touched so many,” explains George Paul III, Founder of Cherished Keepsakes.

In addition to providing a focal point at the memorial service, personalized memorials can be an important part of the on-going healing process.

“I have a good friend who wondered why anyone would waste money on personalized memorials. ‘When I die, just toss the ashes somewhere. I don’t need it. And I don’t want my family wasting money on it.’ Those of us the in the death care industry have all heard this type of message many times. But then one day my friend’s 20-year-old son mixed the wrong two drugs. He laid down to sleep and he never got up. My friend was devastated. The entire family was. When a young person dies suddenly it is especially difficult. I offered to provide whatever the family wanted at no charge. He took the offer back to the family and they requested 15 non-ash-holding fingerprint pendants. No name and dates, just the fingerprint. The wearers would not need to be reminded whose fingerprint it was. I like that,” recalls Brad Bailey, Founder and CEO of New Memorials Direct.

“A week or so later, my friend called me. He said, ‘I had no idea why anyone would buy memorial jewelry. And now I have no idea why anyone would not.’ Following the service my friend brought the family together. He put the necklaces on each son’s neck, one on his wife and one on his own neck. They each held the pendant in their hand over their hearts and pledged never to forget. They never take them off,” Brad adds.

Personalization in society is not only accepted, it is expected. It is all around us, from designing your own shoes online to customizing your insurance policy; we live in a society that thrives on custom items and services and the funeral industry should not be no exception. If a funeral home is not offering customization or personalization to their families, they are not allowing them to create a unique one-of-a-kind tribute for their loved one. Therefore, funeral homes are missing out on a huge business opportunity. Embracing memorialization trends and offering the latest products will give your home a competitive advantage.

“One of the best ways to see what new and innovative products are available, is to attend the major trade shows/exhibits. This is where most companies choose to unveil their new products and services,” suggests Terry School, President of The Davis Whitehall Company.

Funeral directors are beginning to see the major marketing advantages of offering a multitude of high quality personalized products.

“Formerly generic cards often made it as far as the first waste basket following the service. Very rarely does a quality bifold/trifold program or booklet get thrown away, they are taken home, shown to others and kept. Each time the item is viewed, the name of the funeral home should be displayed, since everyone will have a similar grief situation in the future, that funeral home is getting positive name recognition. Families will want that same memorial product to experience the same feeling when it’s their time to plan a funeral,” says Frank Brummett, Founder of BerylMartin.

Families today are well versed when it comes to shopping for things online. They know how to research their options and find what is right for them, but that does not make them an expert.

“Remember, you are the expert. Most likely, your client has already read, researched and probably decided between cremation and burial before they even chose you as their death care provider. You see, this is where the ‘serve’ in service comes in. She requests directly, then you provide the service she asked for. However, right there in between the request and the service, lies the opportunity to offer your expertise. A personal touch. The most successful funeral homes provide not only the service their clients directly request, but also a personalization that their client might not even know exists. These funeral homes are winning because they understand that only they can control their business,” explains Christina Martoia, Vice President, Algordanza Memorial Diamonds USA.

Educating families on available options and the benefits of each memorialization item is important. If the families aren’t aware of all the personalization options available to them, they can’t buy them.

“When you spend time getting to know the family and learning about the deceased, you have many opportunities to show them the many personalization and memorialization options that will work for them. In a study done by SuperNova International, a wholesale granite provider, 60% of people purchased cremation products when shown their options. Add personalization like laser engraved photos and names and that number could go up. Memorialization is important to many people so making a point to show them all of the options could be your ticket to higher profit calls,” emphasizes Kristin Rappaport, Lead Designer and Marketing Strategist with AP Lazer.

Memorialization is a big part of what makes a service memorable and personalization enhances the funeral experience. It is important to make sure families know what your funeral home offers. Learn more about the importance of memorialization and personalization for your funeral home and get advice from top providers in this feature editorial. FBA

For over 14 years, Algordanza has partnered with funeral homes to deliver custom memorial diamonds from their own lab nestled in the Alps of Domat Ems Switzerland.

Using 1lb cremated remains or 10g hair, they can create a genuine diamond with the same physical, chemical and optical properties as a natural diamond. No additives. Guaranteed and certified.

“The Algordanza Memorial Diamond is as unique as you are. We guarantee the cut, color, carat and origin of the entire carbon source of each memorial diamond. Timing to create a memorial diamond is 4 to 7 months.

Color of the individual memorial diamond is not manipulated. Blue hues are attributed to individual levels of the element boron. Just as each person is unique, so is each Algordanza Memorial Diamond,” explains Christina Martoia, Vice President, Algordanza Memorial Diamonds USA.

A referral partnership with Algordanza is completely free and without risk. They will provide the brochures and independent marketing direct to consumer. When your client chooses an Algordanza Memorial Diamond, they pay you the commission! It’s as simple as that.

Algordanza welcomes funeral directors and their clients to visit their memorial diamond laboratory in Switzerland at any time.

“Since 2004, we’ve created genuine memorial diamonds from our own lab in Switzerland. We are the trusted global brand, and our memorial diamonds are now offered in over 30 countries. The Algordanza Memorial Diamond is as unique as you are. No additives. authentic and certified,” she adds.

Although AP Lazer doesn’t offer personalization services, they do offer the tools and equipment that will allow you to personalize nearly any product you offer. With their versatile laser systems, you can add priceless personalization to caskets, urns, granite memorials, keepsake items, and even diversity into new markets like personalized gifts, fundraising bricks and even get involved in your community’s school system. Producing your own personalized products gives you ultimate control of what you can offer your customers and gives you the ability to create meaningful products that families will cherish forever.

“We are in business to help your business. Our laser systems can help you stand out from your competitors and get ahead in your shrinking market. Our laser systems are sold as turn key packages and include everything you need to get started. Standard systems come with onsite training, lifetime 24/7 technical support and an active Facebook support group and community. Because we were born in the death care industry, we understand your customers desires and are excited to help you grow your business and blow your customers away with personalization opportunities,” explains Kristin Rappaport, Lead Designer and Marketing Strategist with AP Lazer.

AP Lazer’s patented laser systems allow you to engrave ANY sized item, from small to large. You can dominate your own market and diversify into other profitable markets using your current customer base.

“Our systems are affordable, portable, designed specifically for your market. Patented technology allows you to effortlessly engrave a variety of materials and sizes – from wooden and metal caskets to small crystal memorial keepsakes. The sky is the limit! When looking at laser systems in general, our open architecture sets us apart from our competitors. We also have an unprecedented warranty and lifetime 24/7 US based technical support,” she continues.

“The most successful funeral homes offer a coordinated variety of products, using the same theme or color scheme throughout,” states Frank Brummett, Founder of BerylMartin.

“A printed folder or booklet with a matching prayer card are the main items to begin with, followed by a coordinated register book filled with photos and text memories. A personalized printed panel to be placed and displayed in the lid of the casket or memorial portrait continues to build the personalized theme. Top this off with some personalized keepsakes such as engraved crystals or glass ornaments for the family to take home and you will have a successful and content family. Successful funeral homes will build several packages of coordinated products in different price ranges for families to decide upon. The most successful funeral homes often build the price of the personalized products into their packages for their services offered, rather than offer personalized as a separate option,” Frank further states.

BerylMartin offers a wide variety of products including: Bifold and Trifold Personalized Programs, 4 page to 24 page Personalized Booklets, Memorial Cards and Prayer Cards, Tribute Videos, Marble Urns, Glass Ornaments, and much more! Every aspect of BerylMartin is designed for funeral directors.

Designs: BerylMartin offers a wide variety of products with an even larger group of designs and themes offering something for everyone.

Placing Orders: An easy to use website can be utilized to place the entire order in a quick and timely fashion, and orders can also be accepted via email or fax.

Delivery Policy: Designed to be as Director-Friendly as possible, BerylMartin guarantees that orders placed Monday through Friday by Noon in the customer’s local time zone will ship the same day for delivery on the following business day. Orders placed on Saturday by 10:00 a.m. central time zone will ship the same day for delivery on the following Monday.

Cherished Keepsakes provides prayer cards, programs, bookmarks, buttons, thank you cards, portraits, collages, videos, fans, casket inserts and shirts. These products are entirely built around personalization. They provide elegant designs that help make the loved one the center of attention and from there they can retouch the photos, customize the colors, layout, paper stock and so forth based on the family’s requests. These products are available in various sizes for printed, digital and mobile devices.

Products can be produced and delivered in time for your service no matter where you are in the country.

“Our system is designed for rapid turnaround. Many families come to us directly or referred from the Funeral Homes we partner with needing keepsakes for services the next day, or in a day or two. These same families often say to us no one can get it done in time. We can and do all the time,” explains George Paul III, Founder of Cherished Keepsakes.

“We have a pulse on what products families are looking for and continually provide more and more amazing designs that continually sets us apart from the competition. We offer more products in-house than any of our competitors. This year alone we’re releasing three new products and seven new designs that are already generating buzz. Our competitors still have the same generic designs year after year while we don’t stop making our designs better and focused on the loved one,” George continues.

Cherished Keepsakes ensures loved ones take center stage. They make sure that their designs don’t overshadow the loved one but compliment their memory.

“Additionally, our designs have the capability to hold multiple photos at no extra charge. We actually encourage this. The loved one has lived a full life and one cover picture doesn’t do them justice thus we make sure that our products can accommodate additional photos to help people see the full life they lived,” Georges adds.

New Memorials Direct supplies funeral homes with fingerprint jewelry, photo jewelry, handwriting jewelry, cremation jewelry, memorial jewelry, and baby hand/foot print jewelry.

“Today memorial jewelry can be personalized with a fingerprint on one side and a hand-written note on the other side or a military medallion on one side and a photo on the other side. Personalized jewelry is growing in popularity and providing funeral directors with a host of add-on sale opportunities both for cremation and burial customers. Funeral homes which offer a little bit of everything have the best chance at having something for each budget and taste,” says Brad Bailey, Founder and CEO of New Memorials Direct.

New Memorials Direct Capabilities:
• High Quality AND Low Wholesale Pricing
• Both Direct-Fulfillment and Drop-Ship Ready
• Highly Accurate Order Fulfillment
• Established Supplier – – Founded in 2006
• 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
• 24hr Turn Around (orders received before 12pm PST)

“We offer high-quality and low wholesale pricing that is simplified. All sterling silver cremation jewelry prices are just $75. We also offer a forever guarantee and next-day shipping is available on most items. We are the only company to offer all four types of memorial jewelry,” adds Brad.

NMD offers a number of below-cost display options, including an 11-piece best-seller display and scanner.

“The display set includes samples of our cremation jewelry, print jewelry, photo jewelry and handwriting jewelry. The display includes jewelry pieces, the display forms, catalogs, tri-fold brochures in acrylic holder and a fingerprint scanner device for just $300. We believe in the display being a little sales soldier for funeral homes that they can try them for 120 days risk free or a full refund,” mentions Brad.

“Terrybear prides itself on the breadth of our product line – our designs continue to evolve to meet the needs of our customers. Most Terrybear® products are handmade. We are known for, and stand behind, the quality of our products and services. We design and sell products for both people and pets,” states Nikki Nordeen, Director of Sales with Terrybear Urns & Memorials.

TerryBear Products and Services:
• Personalization directly on the urn, keepsake or jewelry item.
• Unique font selection, which has been specifically selected for the best look and feel.
• A large selection of artwork to accommodate most requests.
• Custom artwork designs.
• Proofs to ensure accuracy and quick turnaround.

“We have a team of highly skilled designers working in our personalization department who create personalized solutions that look beautiful and meet families’ needs. Our designers know how to prepare engravings for the best possible look and feel. We offer multiple proofs for families who are trying to decide between options. We offer affordable quality in unique handcrafted urns that can be personalized,” Continues Nikki.

Personalization adds a unique touch that makes an urn unique and one-of-a-kind. Terrybear works with distributors to make it simple for the family to choose and receive a personalized memorial product.

“In today’s industry, multiple pieces are being chosen and engraved. Packages and multiple item offerings do well. Keepsakes and Cremation Jewelry complement an Urn purchase. We have seen a significant increase in the demand for more colorful products, as well as products with themes such as roses, birds, butterflies, or flags,” adds Nikki.

“Our passion at The Davis Whitehall Co. is to honor the memory of a loved one with our enduring expression of shared love. Exquisitely handcrafted urns and keepsakes from select hardwoods can be customized with an elegant, sculptural engraving of your loved one’s photo,” expresses Terry School, President of The Davis Whitehall Company.

The Davis Whitehall Co. is a family owned business founded by Terry School in 1991 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. With an extensive background in woodworking, chemical coatings and specialty finishes, Terry surrounds himself with a team of talented designers and craftsmen that share his passion for serving the funeral profession. The Davis Whitehall Co. customer service team is ready to answer any questions you may have on their products and services; and will walk you through the personalization process.

“Among the many challenges facing today’s funeral professional, assisting families who have chosen cremation is one of the bigger challenges. Specifically, it’s the opportunity to help these families create a personal and meaningful final resting place for their loved one and not just providing another ‘cookie cutter’ urn. By knowing how to present personalization when moving through the arrangement process-the funeral director will be able to help the family create a truly customized memorial for their loved one,” Terry continues.

Terry School offers training to the funeral professionals to share with them ways to present customization/personalization choices to families choosing cremation. When the funeral directors have the ability to offer customized/personalized urns, not only does it increase funeral home revenue, but it helps keep the families from “buying down”, which means the family will “settle” for a less expensive urn or choose to buy nothing at all.