Designing with Families at the Center
When friends and cofounders, David Odusanya and Keith Crawford, began the conversations that led to the founding of Solace, they shared their experiences with the deaths of their two parents — David’s mum and Keith’s father — with each other.
The pair both found their respective experiences to be “not great.” Keith recalled a “gloomy, beige funeral home” with a funeral director who tried to “upsell” him despite his father’s plan and desires. Though an ocean away, David’s experience was similarly poor as his family encountered aggressive sales tactics.
As designers, at first, the two considered redesigning the physical space of a funeral home. With a little research, they realized it was the business model of the mainstream funeral industry itself that needed to change.
They felt the idea of visiting a traditional funeral home was really obsolete since families could better use their time to grieve together at home, instead of coming into a mandatory in-person meeting.
Instead, the pair landed on a simple, modern and honest direct cremation business, one where families would be able to make all arrangements online or by phone, never having to set foot in a funeral home.
Solace was inspired by a philosophy called “design thinking” which seeks to solve problems by taking a human-centered approach. Our founders knew there was a better way, one that was easier on families. One in which no one would have to go through the lengthy sales pitches they experienced or sit in a stuffy conference room.
At Solace, there’s a simple process, digital paperwork and one straightforward price of $895 with no “upselling” or surprising fees to burden families. Direct cremation works for many families looking for a more affordable, simple choice.
As Solace has grown, our No. 1 goal has always been to continue to serve families at the highest level. The feedback from families tells us that they appreciate this new model; our families consistently rate us with five stars.
What began as an idea tossed around by two friends and business partners has since grown into a business serving hundreds of families along the West Coast. We’re inspired by the families we serve and continue to remember that they are the reason we’re here.
When we think back to our “origin story,” we find inspiration in our founder’s friendship and the love of their families which sparked an idea and continues to shape our company today.
Photo by Ricardo Nagaoka