Leav­ing on a high note

Business Spotlight - - WORKING WORLD -

Aretha Franklin’s flashy fu­neral has breathed new life into the fu­neral busi­ness. The singer, who died in Au­gust of 2018, re­ceived a send-off wor­thy of the Queen of Soul. Of course, few of us will make our fi­nal jour­ney ac­com­pa­nied by 100 pink Cadil­lacs or wear a se­lec­tion of cock­tail dresses in our cof­fin. Yet Amer­i­can fu­neral di­rec­tors say that Aretha’s fu­neral was in­spir­ing. “Hope­fully this gets peo­ple think­ing about their own ser­vice a lit­tle more,” fu­neral-plan­ning di­rec­tor Cas­sidy Iw­ersen told the Fi­nan­cial Times.

“We’re all ex-wed­ding-in­dus­try peo­ple,” ex­plains Erin Furey, co­founder with Iw­ersen of Go­ing Out in Style. The firm asks po­ten­tial clients to fill out a ques­tion­naire, an­swer­ing ques­tions such as whether they would like to have their fu­neral take place on a boat, or whether in­vi­ta­tions should be sent via so­cial me­dia. Other sug­ges­tions in­volve turn­ing the de­ceased’s ashes into a di­a­mond or giv­ing fu­neral guests a printed magazine about the dear de­parted.

The fu­neral in­dus­try is worth an es­ti­mated $16 bil­lion (€14 bil­lion). Baby boomers es­pe­cially are will­ing to pay for in­di­vid­u­ally de­signed funerals. Mean­while, Furey says that funerals de­serve at least as much prepa­ra­tion as wed­dings do. “It’s a day you can’t do again,” she com­ments. “You never get a sec­ond chance to make a last im­pres­sion.”

Stylish to the end: Aretha Franklin

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