My friend and reader, Deidre Blair, is no stranger to the funeral industry.

A widow at the age of 36, Deidre used her experience as the owner of Awesome Events, an event planning company, to plan her husband’s memorial services.

Held at the first hole of his favorite golf course at sunrise, Deidre’s husband was honored and memorialized by friends and family who drove golf carts to the service.

After a few months had passed and Deidre had some time to reflect, she noticed that few funerals were as personal and specialized as the one she was able to provide for her husband.

So she did some research, readied a new division of her company and prepared to launch Final Reflections to the general public. 

A few years ago, when Deidre was launching her new service, I got a call from her.  She wanted to bounce the idea off of someone in “the know.”  To be fair, I’d never met her and was a little wary of this “outsider” pumping me for details about how funeral professionals think and how the general public would relate to her service.

At the time, Deidre was planning to sell her event services directly to the consumer.  She thought she could work as a liaison between the family and the funeral home.

I shared my misgivings with her.  And I asked her to consider a few things:

People already have enough to do when it comes to planning a funeral in a few short days.

Most people have never hired an event or wedding planner.

Most people are already wary of the price for a funeral.  Add in a special event that might cost thousands and you’ve got huge sticker shock.

No funeral director wants to split his possible profit with an outsider.

Funeral directors don’t take well to being told they don’t know how to plan funeral events.

I can’t imagine any funeral director will want to recommend you to a potential family.

Deidre listened and still chose to sell her service directly to grieving families.  She had hopes that funeral directors would share her brochures with their clients.

I got a call from Deidre in May of 2007, updating me on her progress.  Turns out some of the things I said were true.  Others, not so much. 

But instead of giving up her plans, she altered them.  She figured that she needed some experience, so she went to work for SCI at their largest area location, learning how funeral homes (at least SCI) run funerals and how they interact with potential clients regarding special memorialization options.

She also found a few areas where her expertise would come in handy.

So she’s relaunched her service, this time making funeral homes her prospective clients.

Deidre Blair and Final Reflections now offer event planning advice (through her great blog) and provide turnkey systems for funeral directors who want to offer post-funeral receptions and specialized funeral services.

Check out Deidre’s blog here.  And if you’ve been thinking about offering receptions to your clients, give Deidre a call at 866-254-6691.  She’s got some great ideas and the skills to back them up.

(Editor’s note:  Deidre has graciously agreed to write some short articles for Final Embrace.  Look for those in the coming weeks!)