Keith Crawford and David Odusanya are bringing death into the 21st century.
In April, the former Nike designers launched Solace (solacecares.com), a Portland company that allows the bereaved to order cremation services online in just a few simple clicks. In less than five minutes, customers can arrange to have their loved one’s remains picked up and transported to a local crematorium. Within a week, the ashes are delivered to their door in a sleek, rectangular urn the size and shape of an iPhone box.
Crawford and Odusanya went into the funeral business after dealing with the deaths of their own family members. Frustrated with the difficult and outmoded process of arranging after-life services, the pair decided to use their design and branding expertise to effectively streamline the rituals of dying.
“Unlike almost every other industry,” says Crawford, the funeral industry “has not evolved to match market preferences for a modern, straightforward, digital-based experience.”
Solace’s flat fee of $895 covers transportation, cremation, paperwork and return of the remains. Per the description on the Solace website, representatives arrive an hour after an order is placed, not in a hearse but a “discreet van,” with staff “dressed in professional attire.” And because “nothing is more deeply personal than handling the passing of a loved one,” Solace also offers support services to grieving families.
“Our guiding principle in creating Solace was to help people navigate a necessary process in the least painful way,” Odusanya says. “If we can make that journey easier for people and make a positive impact on their lives, there’s nothing more gratifying than that.”