As the COVID-19 pandemic has raged on, our world has been flipped upside down. But while much of the world has slowed down, if not outright stopped, due to the pandemic, the funeral industry has not.
Learning to grieve and mourn during the deadliest pandemic since 1912 has been a lesson in mortality and the temporary nature of life. As life continues its slow shift toward normalcy, with vaccinations on the rise, families around the world will be looking for a way to grieve, mourn, and grow with their losses.
Eterneva is a grief wellness company based out of Austin, TX. Originally gaining mainstream attention due to an appearance on Shark Tank, Eterneva offers to transform the cremated remains of deceased loved ones into diamonds, memorializing them forever following an inclusive and wellness-focused eight-month journey. An honest and potentially insightful new approach to grieving, Eterneva is laying the groundwork for an entirely new industry.
Origins of a Grief Wellness Campaign
Eterneva would come to life under the care and guidance of co-founders Garrett Ozar and Adelle Archer. Launched in the wake of a loved one’s passing, Adelle would come face-to-face with how underwhelming current memorial options were. To honor the passing of her mentor, Adelle would have her mentor cremated and her ashes turned into a black diamond.
Adelle says of her decision, “I chose to have them turned into a black diamond to capture her sparkling spirit, and ensure that her legacy lives on.”
From the experience she shared with her mentor Tracey, Adelle and Garret were able to manifest the formation of Eterneva, but they didn’t do it without help. Adelle and Garrett would appear on an episode of “Shark Tank” in 2019 where they would pitch their business idea to Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. Cuban and Eterneva would sign off on a $600k agreement.
An Eight-Month Journey Into Grief Wellness
To better offer sensitive services to those in need, the team at Eterneva would need to develop a process that was at once inclusive and healing. As a result, Eterneva would develop what would become an eight-month journey through grief, walking clients through each step of the process from carbon purification to diamond cutting and placement.
This multi-stage process was developed in conjunction with a company-wide effort to ‘elevate the branding, photography, videography, and even ‘storytelling’ of the experience. Let’s briefly outline how this multi-step journey works as well as what clients should expect throughout the process.
Stage 1 — The Welcome Kit
Each process begins with a Welcome Kit. The Eterneva Welcome Kit features an informational video, instructions, return postage, and the required tools to transport your loved one’s ashes to Eterneva.
Stage 2 — Carbon Purification (1.5 – 2 Months)
At this point, Eterneva will isolate the carbon found within your loved one’s ashes. While the majority of carbon burns off during cremation, some carbonates remain. It can take several weeks to properly purify and extract these remaining elements. Eterneva customers will receive a video of this part of the process to see the amazing transformation take shape.
Stage 3 — Diamond Growth (2 – 3 Months)
Eterneva utilizes diamond growth facilities throughout Texas and Germany. Utilizing state-of-the-art machinery, Eterneva replicates diamond growing conditions from beneath the Earth (2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, 850k pounds per square inch). As each person has uniquely different carbon combinations, this process itself requires a personalized approach.
Stage 4 — Quality Assessment
With the raw diamond finally fully formed, Eterneva will scan the diamond-like an X-ray to ensure proper size, shape, and fit. At this point in the process, quality overshadows speed, and perfection is the expectation.
Stage 5 — Diamond Cutting
Upon passing quality inspections, your loved one’s diamond will be cut and formed by a master cutter with a focus on care and precision. With over 45 years of experience crafting diamonds, customers can expect to get a diamond that is sparkling with the quality that they deserve.
Upon finishing the diamond cutting process, shoppers can inquire after diamond coloration or custom grading & engraving. These optional services may require excess time and additional funding to complete.
Expanding Into New Spaces
Adelle Archer and Garrett Ozar have set out to create a more meaningful experience in the grieving and funeral-care space. By focusing on memorializing loved ones through a grounded keepsake, Eterneva is providing its clients with the opportunity to anchor their grief. Candi Cann is a Professor of Religion at Baylor University where she also performed grief research for Eterneva. Cann pointed out that diamonds are both ‘palatable’ and ‘portable’ which makes them ideal for anchoring grief, similar to a grave or a burial site.
Adelle and Garrett have long believed that their business was on the precipice of ‘hockey stick-like growth’ and it appears that they are operating under that guidance, as well. Eterneva recently announced several major operational changes both at a consumer level and at a corporate level.
On the consumer side of things, Eterneva would launch in May 2021 The Little Things campaign, celebrating the lives of loved ones who have passed by sharing the little details, quirks, beloved stories, and cherished habits of loved ones, while also supporting customers and community members through their unique grief journeys. By The other major announcement about daily operations involved the Eterneva HQ receiving major computing upgrades. Eterneva currently grows all of its diamonds in South Austin at 4115 Freidrich Lane. Originally in possession of just one diamond growth machine, Eterneva aims to order a total of 15 machines by the end of 2022.
Funeral Spaces & Eterneva
As Adelle and her team continue to focus on growth, with up to 80 employees expected on the roster by 2022, Eterneva continues to underscore the importance of ‘in-house expertise’. Adelle wants Eterneva to sit at the front of the bus when it comes to leading the grief wellness revolution. This thought process was amplified by a round of significant C-Suite additions during the fourth quarter of 2020. To date, Eterneva has raised a total of $6.7 million with eyes on $10 million during the series A round of investing.
With this explosive growth and investment turnaround, Eterneva sees that funeral homes have become a ‘major enterprise segment’, at least according to Adelle. She would go on to say, “They represent about 16% of the company’s customer acquisitions.” Adelle believes that by 2022, funeral homes will account for more than 50% of customer acquisitions.
At the time of this writing, Eterneva is currently partnered with funeral homes at more than 120 locations throughout North America. Adelle believes that Eterneva will eclipse the 1,000 location mark by the end of 2022’s fiscal year. Stats are supporting this optimism as well with the National Funeral Directors Association revealing that nearly 53% of Americans were cremated since 2010.