Cremation in the NY Times?

Since the start of the year, Sunday mornings have felt like I had stepped back in time.

I start with a short walk to the end of my driveway where I find my home delivery of the New York Times. I then enjoy a relaxing day, drinking coffee, and slowly working my way through the newspaper.

It’s been years since I’ve had an actual newspaper in my hands regularly. That changed when one of my millennial sons gave me a New York Times subscription for Christmas. It’s been like visiting an old friend I haven’t seen in years. 

I was surprised last Sunday when I opened the business section and saw the following title and subtitle.

Cremation Borrows a Page From the Direct-to-Consumer Playbook

With names like Solace, Tulip, and Eirene, start-ups are hoping to make cremation the next big at-home purchase.

It’s a good article, and I’ll put the link to it at the bottom of this newsletter.

The gist of the article is that the online arrangement of cremation services is growing in popularity and will only increase as Gen Xers age. 

One of the things that jumped out at me in the article was that most of the start-ups they use as examples are backed by venture capital firms.

If you’re not familiar with the term…

“Venture capital is a form of private equity financing that is provided by venture capital firms or funds to start-ups, early-stage, and emerging companies that have been deemed to have high growth potential or which have demonstrated high growth.” – Wikipedia

Does this mean that venture capital firms see online cremation companies as having high growth potential?


It makes sense. In the United States alone, the cremation market was 56% in 2020 and is projected to be 72% by 2030.

Interestingly enough, I recently had a meeting with the founders of an online urn company that happens to be backed by venture capital. They’ve successfully sold their urns directly to consumers via their website and have just started wholesaling their products to funeral homes.

A mutual friend asked me to spend an hour with them and give them some funeral industry pointers. It was a great conversation, and I won’t be surprised if this venture pays off handsomely for the investors.

What is unique about their business model is that they partner with regional artists who design their products. As a result, their urns are not just a place to store cremated remains. They’re works of art and would look great in any contemporary well-decorated home.

What can we learn from these entrepreneurial examples?

#1 – online cremation-related shopping is a hot market.

I’m sure some investors fall into the “more money than sense” category, but successful venture capital firms are far more careful with their money. They research markets and pick rising stars for their investments.

VC companies have done their research and determined that the online cremation shopping market has tremendous potential. 

Unfortunately, most funeral homes have limited support for online cremation shopping. The real problem is the website vendors who provide sites optimized for flower sales and nothing else. 

They have terrible support for online arrangements or merchandise shopping because they don’t make any money there.

There are third-party tools like partingpro and efuneral that provide a somewhat better user experience, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement.

I am hopeful that soon we’ll see a new breed of website vendor who can provide a site optimized for what today’s users want instead of just pushing flowers and memorial trees.

#2 – People will pay more for beauty

Two businesses discussed in the New York Times article are and

The Solace website features a picture of a well-known beach in Portland, which means absolutely nothing to people outside of the area. Their overall website is attractive but in a left-brain, analytical way.

The Eirene website features illustrations of a grieving woman. It’s softer, gentler, and attractive in a right-brain artistic sense. Overall, it’s a beautiful website.

Solace charges $895 for direct cremation. Eirene charges $2,500 for the same service.

Similarly, most urns sell for under $1,000, but the beautiful artistic urns I mentioned above can sell for thousands more when displayed correctly in a funeral home showroom.

Some people will always want the lowest possible price for direct cremation. But far more people are willing to pay more if you can help turn a tragic loss into a beautiful memory.

You’re receiving this newsletter on Sunday morning. Which means I’ll be enjoying my NY Times newspaper again. 

If you used to enjoy reading a physical newspaper but haven’t done it for years, give it a try. Even my millennial son now loves this old-school ritual.

Until next time


PS: If you want a line of artistic urns, contact I’m not getting anything for endorsing them, but I like the idea of offering urns that will be proudly displayed instead of stored in a closet.

Here’s the link to the New York Times article I referenced.


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