Ever since I conceived of MemryStone and began sharing the idea, people have suggested I submit my project to the television program Shark Tank.
I have needed time to let this idea mature, but with an open casting cycle underway for the television show, it seemed like the time had come to push ahead and present MemryStone to the decision makers at ABC. I recorded the pitch video last week and submitted the finished application on Friday. Time will tell what the producers of the show decide to do.
Regardless the outcome, putting together the video gave me a chance to revisit the MemryStone Story and I think it’s worth sharing a portion. So below are a few excerpts from the script I wrote. MemryStones have lots of meaning to me and I expect that one day millions of people will share my convictions:
I’ve heard the one liners a million times. Yes, I’m in a dying business and yes, I’m the last person to let you down. And I get it. Everyone needs a way to whistle their way past the grave yard.
But still, when you move beyond the corny jokes and Digger O’Dell stereo types, there are deep and personal needs, which current funeral practice fails to address. And a Shark Tank appearance would help me change this situation for *millions of people *every year.
My name is Bill Hathaway, but most people call me “BT” and I’m a 4th generation funeral director who grew up in a small town called Somerset, Massachusetts, where we currently make our product.
I was taught from an early age, not how to “sell” funerals, but how to shepherd families from funeral home, to church and cemetery, with an uncommon commitment to grace, kindness, and a careful attention to detail. It was *my job* to keep services flowing like a stream as my father and grandfather used to say; so that the smooth progression of services would enhance the comfort survivors experienced at their time of need.
Those traditions have guided my family for the past 120 years, though times are definitely changing as the majority now choose cremation over burial.
And In America, cremation doesn’t flow in the same way as traditional services.
Typically, survivors sign papers and their loved one disappears; replaced several days later by an ugly black plastic box, labeled with a generic serial number.
There’s no participation, no continuity, and almost everyone wonders if the contents of the box are *in fact* the correct remains.
Now people tend to ignore or get over these indignities, but to me that just wasn’t good enough. There had to be a way to bring love and dignity and continuity into the middle of this otherwise detached and industrial process.
I considered a few possibilities along the way, and looked for someone in my industry to address this gap in service. — Nothing came along. So finally in 2012, I decided to stop waiting and start doing, which has led me to develop MemryStones.
MemryStones are ceramic markers which survivors inscribe with a message and send through cremation with the person who has died. The MemryStones return intact with the final remains and in this way provide a very personal form of identity confirmation and later become a lasting touchstone for *love* and *memory*, after services conclude.
MemryStones are affordable and simple to use, requiring only a ball point pen and a few minutes of a survivor’s time to inscribe. The process can even be accomplished by small children when appropriate …
… To recap, over a million families and survivor groups in the United States experience the disconnection of modern cremation every year. MemryStones transform that outcome so that survivors can connect with love and memory in a way never before possible. And Shark Tank, *you have the chance to bring love, meaning and peace of mind to millions of people in the US and ultimately around the world. Opportunities like *this are very rare.
So don’t miss out.
Bottom line? MemryStones matter in a world changing way. Perhaps ABC Television will decide to help us along.
BT Hathaway, Founder
MemryLane is an outreach of MemryStone, makers of ceramic markers which survivors inscribe with a message and send through the cremation process with someone who has died. The MemryStones return intact as a more personal form of identity confirmation and as a lasting touch-stone for memory. Purchases may be made through a rapidly growing network of affiliated funeral and cremation providers. For assistance finding an affiliated location, use the contact links on our website.