I have the pleasure of creating memorial crosses that are unique just like the people who buy them for their loved ones.
Sometimes customers will tell me who they are for, but most of the time I never know, and I never ask. If they wanted to talk about their grief they might consider someone else to talk to than a woman who has a small Etsy shop.
When someone does tell me about the loved one they lost, I consider that to be a great honor that they share with me.
I started my small online business in September of 2014. I was worried, frustrated, and somewhat confused about selling my handmade crosses online. I survived the first year and have enjoyed ever year since. The best part for me is the creative part of business. Unfortunately the other “stuff” (ie; finances, social media, marketing, shopping, ok maybe not shopping since it’s fun too) all come with the job. I have learned so much and have never been as frustrated with myself all at the same time. So much of what I have learned is from customers, other sites, competition, and trial and error.
I try to learn new ways of creating because I want to improve on my product and make the buying experience enjoyable for my customers. Today I took a trip down memory lane and looked over my past catalog. Yes, it took an hour. I have sold over 5000 crosses since my start in late 2014 and have made no two alike. My crosses are 100% one of a kind
So as I’m looking through I notice a few things about my designs. Maybe I have paid too much attention to my competition and haven’t always stayed true to myself. Is better always better? While trying to keep up with volume have I lost my nerve to be more creative? Is was worth the trip down memory lane. I learned something new today, to stop and think, “is this really my best?”
Six years ago my daughter gave me a gift that transformed my life. I realize that is a bold statement but I genuinely feel that way. The gift was an iPad. Now understand that I learned windows on a desktop with lots of tears and bad words. I could email, look at the internet, and do some graphics but nothing like my iPad. It was easy to use, I never felt like the iPad would blow up if I hit the wrong key, and no tears were involved. No I understand you might think that my daughter helped me learn but no she told me I was on my own after setting up my email and cloud account and showing me where I could find apps to download. I taught myself and opened up an online store. I worked social media and with three different printers over 4 years I could master anything. I do almost EVERYTHING online. The reason I tell you this rather long winded story is this: I’m not young. I cringe when I have someone tell me that they can’t learn computer, they can’t keep up, or they don’t want to. I cringe because I am the same age as the people telling me this and all I hear is fear. I help when they ask a question in regards to “online questions” and I even go so far as to do a lot of things for them online which I don’t really mind at all. I do worry how isolated seniors will feel as technology flies at the speed of sound these days. Each year a senior doesn’t learn the more they will not understand what the generation below them is talking about, the more they won’t understand the world and how to function within it, and the more they will be afraid.
March, April, and May are busy months for me as are the holidays. My customers are loyal and kind. All of my family are buried in small country cemeteries or Catholic cemeteries. I realize that some of the larger cooperate cemeteries have strict rules on what you can or can’t place on graves. There are cemeteries that have timelines stating when how long grave decorations can remain on a grave. Here are some pictures of my husbands family graves this Memorial holiday.
They were having some mowing problems at the cemetery where two of my brothers are laid to rest. My youngest brother’s favorite color was orange so I made this cross for him while working on my Fall Crosses. The bright colors help me to locate his grave until this mowing disagreement is over.
Cemetery names are often the same as the small town the cemetery is near. Often cemeteries will have religious or saint names. Some make reference to water or flowers such Riverside or Rose Hill. Greenwood and Evergreen are very popular names for cemeteries. You would be hard pressed NOT to find an Evergreen or Greenwood Cemetery in every state of the United States.
These pictures are of one such Greenwood Cemetery. The difference is this Cemetery is on Madeline Island, Wisconsin. The Island is on Lake Superior and is beautiful. The Island has a population of 300 – 1500 depending on the time of year. I spotted this cemetery ( the only one on the island ) and wanted to take a look. I might have missed it if it had not been for the iron fence entrance. I did not enter any further than the gate which was open and welcoming, it just didn’t seem right to disturb such a small peaceful place and moment.
I have added Floralmemorial ribbons to my shop. With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month I made my first few ribbons in a hot pink color. Each memorial ribbon is 20″ in length and comes with 2 steel anchors so you can place it on the ground securely in front of a grave marker. Currently I have made red-white-blue memorial ribbons, as well as yellow and red. Check out my memorial ribbons at:
I had wanted to post something like this earlier but I simply put it off over and over. With Memorial Day a few months away I thought I should post the video BEFORE I was ready to start a new one for this year.
This is a story that could be told in any city that has an “old” cemetery. This is a story that has happened over and over with little notice or concern but for a fleeting moment.
In this story some “vandals” thought for whatever reason they had the right or pleasure to destroy graves in a historical cemetery where I live. First I should mention that the vandalism did not go unnoticed by the hardworking staff and the volunteers that give their time and talent to preserve this historical cemetery.
What did go unnoticed by the vandals were the dates, ages, and names of one particular headstone. I would hope they didn’t notice and still chose to destroy the headstone, that would make them not only vandals, but lost souls.
The headstone I’m referring belonged to the Steele family. To be specific, the Steele children;
Eliza – age 4yrs. – Henry age 3yrs. – Timothy age 2yrs.
All three children died within a few days of one another in March of 1877. That year there was an epidemic of scarlet fever and the Steele children succumbed to the fever. I can’t imagine the grief and pain this mother must have felt or the tears that continued to come that horrible month in 1877 as she lost one child ,and then another ,and another. The monument was a way of expressing that her children were here on earth, they were part of a family, they were loved, and their deaths left a hole in their family and her heart.
A few months ago someone discovered the missing headstones in a creek on the other side of town. The headstones have been restored thanks to the work of volunteers.
I can only vision a mother who wiped her tears away with the restoration of her children’s final resting place.
You can ask anyone “what is the hardest thing you have ever had to do?” And the answers will be as unique as the individual you are asking. I have had many times in my life that have been a challenge. There are two that are very intertwined and I have grown as a person the most from.
I have lost many loved ones in my life. I had lost my childhood in the passing of my brothers and my parents by the time I was thirty-eight. The most challenging was a nine month period in which my father, mother and younger brother died. I can’t remember feeling anything but scared and numb.
Scared and numb were the same feelings I had (although in a very different way) when I decided to share my memorial crosses with others.
Would anyone want them?
Would anyone buy them?
I was sure that I did not require the knowledge needed to open an online shop. Like many times in my life I just told myself to try.
Just like that moment in time when my family was dying one after the other I just had to believe that things would get better if I just tried to take life a day at a time.
Learning social media, SEO, photography ( still learning ), how to set up websites, graphics, PayPal, and the list goes on and on. All these new trials and tribulations have been scary and mind numbing but I’ve managed, and suceeded.
What have been the hardest things I have ever done have also served as the most personal growth in my soul.
I’m in the process of updating all of the photos on my E-commerce sites –
I’m changing photos because I want my customers to see my crosses in natural light without any editing. It is so important when selling online that your customers SEE exactly what they are buying, it makes for happy customers and repeat business.
These pictures give you a view of how the crosses look placed at a grave. I offer placement service for any cemetery in Sedgwick County, Kansas. Purchase crosses from one of the online markets that I sell and I can deliver and place the cross within Sedgwick county for a fee of $10.00 per placement. I will take photo of your loved one’s grave and email you a photo.
Guidelines for Cross Placement Service:
Sedgwick County only!
$10.00 per cross regardless of location.
floralmemorial purchases only
Please verify cemetery guidelines before placing order
Andover KS has a beautiful and peaceful town cemetery. Like most small town cemeteries it is peaceful, well cared for, and unique. The cemetery has trees, all sizes and shapes of monuments, a gazebo, benches, and of course a well pump for visitors to use. The cemetery is behind a beautiful white metal arch and fence and flagpoles align the street entrance.