Traverse City company designs, engraves cremation urns
Traverse City — Jordan Lindberg grew up in Traverse City. He left to study philosophy, and eventually earned three degrees in the subject. His doctorate earned him a nine-year stint as an associate professor at Central Michigan University teaching philosophy.
Lindberg turned his efforts to more worldly pursuits several years ago. He founded Stardust Memorials in 2010. The company designs and engraves cremation urns. It sells them to customers around the globe.
The Internet is key to Stardust Memorials’ success.
“I think that’s the future of retail sales and wholesale sales,” Lindberg said of the Internet.
The company’s warehouse and shipping facility near Cherry Capital Airport allow it to quickly fill orders from both individual clients and funeral homes anywhere in the world. The warehouse holds about $400,000 worth of merchandise at any one time. Products include traditional brass and porcelain urns with a variety of design motifs. Also on the shelves are wood box urns, stone urns, aluminum urns and biodegradable urns.
Jewelry fashioned with hollow spaces for ash sells well. Miniature urns allow each member of a family to share a portion of their loved one’s remains. The warehouse shelves hold a huge variety of products designed to contain ashes. Traditional designs provide a steady flow of income for Stardust. Less popular designs help it extend its sales reach.
“That’s one of reasons we’re able to make a success,” said Lindberg. “Not many people want a big camouflage urn, but we have it.”
Lindberg had experience with other Internet-based businesses before he started Stardust. He had been seeking a new business with growth potential that wouldn’t directly compete with online giants and that dealt in products that were of a reasonable price range to sell on the Web.
“I had been looking for products that fit a certain frame,” Lindberg said.
His grandmother’s choice of cremation sparked the idea for an urn-centric business. Research showed him that an increasing percentage of the population was choosing cremation over burial. The personalized aspect of engraving made it unlikely that Amazon.com Inc. or other large online players would enter the market. Urns fit the price and size range that made Internet sales possible and shipping costs affordable.
Stardust has three full-time employees and eight part-time workers. Lindberg expects sales to grow by about 30 percent in 2015 over last year.