retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Terrific piece from Bloomberg about a new and potentially disruptive business looking to upend how one industry does things.

In this case, the death industry.

Bloomberg writes that "with the arrival of Covid-19 in America, traditional funerals were suspended to reduce crowds and slow the virus. In response, mourners held services over streaming video or postponed them. That led to more cremations, which as a cheaper alternative to caskets and cemetery plots had been an increasingly common choice before the pandemic."

But the greater number of cremations meant that people had to decide what to do with all those ashes.  Store them?  Scatter them?  And the fact is that a lot of people have horror stories about dealing with loved ones' ashes.

“We don’t accept this type of poor experience in any other part of modern life, so why are we accepting it around what should be one of our most treasured possessions?” says entrepreneur Justin Crowe. “It shocked me that for all of the inspiring stories I heard about people’s lives, there were these really tragic stories about living with cremated remains.”

And so, Crowe created a new company - Parting Stone, which for $695 will take your loved ones' ashes and turn them into smooth rocks in a variety of colors.  The number of stones depends on the size of the person and the volume of ashes. "Parting Stone’s lab reduces the ash to a fine powder and then adds water and binding material to make a claylike substance that’s molded into stone shapes," the story says.  "They’re then baked in a kiln that would be typically used for ceramics."

The process takes about six weeks.

Even better, for $345, Parting Stone will perform the same service for your pet's ashes.

The company promises "100% individual batch processing" (that's reassuring), an "anytime money-back guarantee," and "step-by-step process tracking."    And if you're not satisfied, Parting Stone says it will turn the rocks back into ashes and return them to you.

Bloomberg writes that "Parting Stone is part of a growing category in the nearly $16 billion funeral industry. It’s winning converts as religious observance and ties to traditional houses of worship experience a decadeslong decline. Americans seeking new forms of spirituality are looking for alternatives to celebrate the passing of their loved ones."

Parting Stone has already raised almost $2 million in capital.

I have to say that I love this idea … and I'm already forwarded the company's website to Mrs. Content Guy and my kids.  Maybe they could toss a few rocks into the ocean, or lay a couple on the edge of a nice Oregon vineyard.

Or maybe they'll come up with some other Eye-Opening idea for how to deal with Dad's rocks.  (Insert your own joke here.  I'm sure they will.)