Relationships between women at work can be some of the most important connections you can make as a woman. We can be great gut checks for each other. Whether it’s an idea that you may be thinking about, a conflict with a co-worker you may have encountered or just plain old “girl talk”.
These relationships have been crucial to my survival in the corporate world. Moments of reprieve, connection and lots of laughs. Many of the women I work with, I consider friends and sometimes these friendships can birth a business. Partnerships in creation outside the office walls, also known as the side hustle.
The side hustle is an important part of a creative professional’s life. It allows them to test their assumptions and stretch their creative muscle. It offers a rotation of work that ultimately feeds other work. It keeps you fresh, nimble and motivated in your full-time job.
When Erin, Cassidy, Naomi and Colleen met working as stylists at Martha Stewart Weddings in New York City, they didn’t know that working and sitting together would lead to a fulfilling side hustle, which would lead to launching an innovative business.
They planned and styled events at Martha and also sat together in the same row of desks, so the conversations and collaborations came naturally. Sitting next to the same people 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, creates a safe space for brainstorming ideas. It’s why we see more office spaces designed for collaborative conversations.
They started discussing an idea around designing funerals. They wondered why funerals weren’t held to the same standards of style and design as weddings were. People celebrate every milestone in life, except death. It’s something that people don’t want to think about until it happens, so all the special details about this life are overlooked because the families are grieving.
They talked about an idea of a funeral design business and a vision came together after about a year. They realized that together, they could leverage their expertise in the wedding planning business and apply it to the funeral business.
Going Out in Style was founded on “The belief that life at its ending deserves a grand exit.” It started as a side hustle where they would work with families of the deceased to plan celebrations that perfectly captured the person’s individual style. Today, they find themselves getting lots of press coverage, interest from TV studios, and yes, planning funerals.
I met with 2 of the 4 founders (Erin & Cassidy) at Bardo to learn more about their business. I told them that I love the idea and have experienced bits of this concept at a funeral for one of my uncles. He was an avid cyclist and a fan of brass music, so at the beginning of the church service, his son-in-law walked a bike down the aisle to Carolina Brass’s version of Amazing Grace. I only know that because after the funeral, I immediately searched for the song so I could listen to it again.
I remember that moment in my uncle’s service like it was yesterday and whenever that song pops up in my iTunes, it makes me both happy and sad. Incorporating that bit of authenticity into the ceremony was a such a gift. I’ll remember it forever.
That’s why I think this business concept is so cool. We invest so much thought, time and money into celebrating “beginnings” like weddings, first baby showers, first home, but we neglect the moment in time when the beautiful story of a whole life has concluded. There are many reasons for that like: It’s how it’s always been done, it’s a difficult time for the family and the deceased may have never expressed their final wishes.
It’s time for disruption.
Imagine you could plan all the details so your final celebration would be a true representation of your style and included all the momentos that you cared about. The flowers could be your favorite and the playlist would express the energy you want people to remember to feel about you.
The women from Going Out In Style can help draw out design choices like color palette, fashion choices, typography for your programs and invitations, food and beverages. The ideas are endless and the value that Going Out In Style offers is that they can help you curate those choices and come to a solution that is perfectly you. The value is two-fold. One, you’re assured that the party will be just as you want it, and more importantly, your family can devote their time celebrating your life, rather than being bogged down with the details of planning and executing a funeral.
Since that moment at my uncle’s funeral had such an impact on me, I have to admit, I do think about the last impression I want to leave people with. I don’t want my funeral to be anywhere near a church. I’m thinking about a dance party, with lots of Prince music. Really high-end food with Rosé, Champagne and coconut cake (trust me). And of course, I want my guests dressed to impress.