With her funeral home “Poppy’s Funerals”, Poppy Mardall proves that funeral services can be personalized and creative. When her father was diagnosed with cancer, her attention was drawn to a sector that seemed to “have remained stuck in the dark ages”. Lack of flexibility in handling, expensive materials and, above all, the way of dealing with the dead and their survivors were anything but ideal. Her personal experience and extensive research confirmed her feeling that there was a different and better way of doing things. While the prognosis for her father improved, Poppy was still obsessed with the vision of a funeral home in which the bereaved would feel welcomed, guided and supported. Numerous TV reports focussing on hard-sell techniques and the lack of consideration for the dead proved to be the last straw. The result was that in 2012, Poppy Mardall started her own funeral home.
All staff members of Poppy’s Funerals have one thing in common: “The commitment to provide an exceptional service which focusses on the fulfilment of the personal desires and requirements of all clients of Poppy’s.” The funeral directors follow the vision of shaping the funeral service sector in a way that it first and foremost addresses the interests of the bereaved. The concept works: “Our clients feel welcomed, listened to and treated as individuals.” The team around Poppy is convinced that a funeral has the potential to combine mourning with the joy of living. “We are passionate about helping people to organize the funeral that suits them best.” The team put their heart and soul into their work: “We treat everyone in our care with humanity and respect.”
Poppy’s Funerals is an award-winning, modern funeral home with a refreshing, honest and open approach.
With its poppy paintwork, the “Poppymobil” is a real eye-catcher. The Vito is exclusively used as a modern hearse. “Many of our clients welcome having an alternative to the traditional black hearse and are looking for a vehicle that is neither too solemn nor too formal.” The cargo space was equipped with a handcrafted oak pedestal with rollers which allow for a soft gliding of the coffin into and out of the van. Besides, there is plenty of room for flowers which can be draped around the coffin. The pleasant, colourful style of the Vito is chosen by clients who prefer a modern, informal funeral service, Poppy relates. “When we arrive at the funeral and open the doors of the Vito, light floods in. It is a very positive and welcoming environment.” The pedestal provides storage space which is used for storing the equipment.
Before establishing her funeral home, Poppy worked as an art expert at Sotheby’s auction house in London. This probably explains her preference for creative funerals: “Each funeral organized by us is creative and unique in the sense that we take our lead from our clients and help them design a funeral that is right for them.” Every detail, from the funeral ceremony to the appropriate music to the selection of the coffin and the flowers is individually selected for each person. Whether the client opts for a traditional funeral which includes worship in a historic church, or for a simple ceremony with family members on a cemetery embedded in a natural landscape – the possibilities are endless. Some families commission custom-made cardboard coffins with designs that reflect the deceased person. Accordingly, Poppy’s motto is: “We’ll do anything in our power to support our clients.”
Even though the employees are dealing with the subject of death on a daily basis, Poppy’s Funerals is a happy workplace. “It is incredibly rewarding to know that we have supported a family in having the funeral which meets their expectations exactly.” The hardest part of this work is not dealing with the dead and their survivors, but the fact working in an industry that does not assist mourners wholeheartedly. Another challenge was to find a suitable main office: After a long search, they finally found what they were looking for. Since then, Poppy’s Funerals has been accommodated in a picturesque gatehouse with an adjacent chapel from the 19th century. And what about the future of Poppy’s? “Our business is growing because we are providing a much-needed service to the people of Greater London.”