Two sisters have created a new business in the funeral industry. In Loving Memory NZ provides tributes, keepsakes and accessories to help families mourning the loss of a loved one.
Co-founder Fatima Afoa says helping her community was her aim when creating the business.
“I did funeral badges only. I had a customer message me and we were messaging from 1am till 4am. She was just happy I kept her company when her dad had just passed away a few hours before, and I found joy in that, being able to be that person for her at that time. So I thought I want to do more and add more products,” she says.
In Loving Memory is the name of this Samoan-owned business set up by sisters Aoyana and Fatima Afoa, and its memorial creations range from t-shirts and banners to grave covers.
However, one item that it creates is not well known among Māori, but the sentiment of urn jewellery is one of love and memory.
“The one everyone is most excited about is the urn jewellery. The cool thing about it is, you don't have to just use ashes after the person has passed away. You can start gifting and using the necklace while your loved one is still alive if you know they're dying. You can use ash, or hair, nails, anything that fits in,” Afoa says.
The family business was officially established last year. However, although Māori and Pacific people aren't the most affluent, In Loving Memory is looking to provide to the mourning families and see their needs are met.
“At the moment our prices are really cheap, and we recognise that we are undercharging. But we're happy with it. We know that exposure isn't there for our business right now because people always come back to us like 'I can't believe I just found you guys now, it would've been nice to have you guys for whatever just happened'. So right now we're just focusing on exposure and we know that our time will come. But it's the community first, then we second.” Afoa says.
Co-founder Aoyana Afoa says her jump into the business with her sister was an easy decision given the potential it holds.
“I guess a few months ago we realised how much of an impact this business could have and the potential.”
Today was the grand opening of the new store, and the aims of this whānau are to further support their father into his retirement years, and to see families live beyond death in memories.