Women have long been leaders in the death industry, but in recent years they have also pushed the industry to look to alternative burial practices.
When people walk into Kerry Potter-Kotecki’s business in Nyack, New York, they could mistake it for a spa. A pebble-covered wall fountain bubbles and chandeliers hang overhead.
But then people notice the wicker casket. That’s because this isn’t a spa—it’s a boutique selling urns, biodegradable caskets and other items for natural burials. The natural death movement, which Potter-Kotecki champions, uses environmentally-friendly practices and materials to recycle the body back into earth.
“It’s really important for my store to not look scary,” says Potter-Kotecki, who opened her Dying to Bloom boutique in February. A green cemetery, which prohibits embalmed bodies and requires biodegradable caskets, stands in stark contrast to the traditional funeral Potter-Kotecki remembers attending when her mom died, an experience she remembers as harrowing.
“[Today], when I visit her, it’s uniform marble or granite headstones. They want everyone to have the same height, and it’s perfectly cut green lawn, possibly chemically treated,” Potter-Kotecki says. “In comparison, a green cemetery feels so natural.”