Keepsake box

The Many Memorial Market Opportunities: How and why you should sell memorial products

Brenna Walsh is the Communications Specialist at JDS Industries in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She specializes in public relations and has extensive knowledge of products along with substantial background in writing.

Note: This article appears in the May 2017 edition of A&E magazine. To ensure that you can access this and other industry-focused pieces, be sure to subscribe today!

Approaching the memorial market can be a bit intimidating at times. You want to help customers cherish the memory of their loved ones in the easiest way possible, yet it’s a sensitive subject to approach. But keep in mind that memorial products are not only for the loss of a family member or friend, but also a pet, a friend who is moving away, or to honor someone special in their lives, among many other things.

For those in the awards industry, offering these products is a simple way to add business to your bottom line as well as help your customers remember their loved ones. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.


There is no shortage of products that can assist you in helping your customers. A few common ones are crosses, flag cases, urns and keepsake boxes. Religious items tend to be popular, with sublimatable or laserable crosses as a favored item. Crosses can be adorned with pictures, names, dates, and bible verses. Plaque mounts, such as praying hands, are also favored religious pieces that can be attached with adhesive to plaques, urns and gift boxes.

Another religious memorial item to offer customers centers around the memorial service. Often at services, there are programs or memorial cards. Instead of a card, try a bookmark that is personalized with the photo of a loved one and includes a favorite saying or prayer. This timeless tribute will provide a lasting keepsake for family members and friends.


With more than one million active military members, recognition for the armed forces is a large market that can be touched by the awards retailer as well. Flag cases and shadow boxes have always been quite popular in this area. Don’t be afraid to add a personal touch with medals and ribbons, along with personalized plates. For cases with glass, they can be sandcarved directly on the front for an added honor.

Another option for the military is plaques. A military seal or quote can be engraved onto a plaque while coins and medals can be attached or embedded for a prestigious look. Some companies also have plaques with approved branch seals already on them that simply need a personalized plate for adornment.


Let’s take a look at our furry friends now. Our pets are often times a part of the family and closer than our dearest friends. They run up to us when we open the door and snuggle in close at night.

Urns are a popular memorial item for pets, with more owners wanting to cremate their furry companions, especially since many large cities have regulations that do not allow burial of animals within city limits. Urns can be laser engraved, and some include a tile that can be sublimated for a full-color photo. Personalized frames are also a great idea. Engrave the pet’s name along with dates, or an enjoyable saying that reminds your customer of better days.


Memorial products are not just for loss, but also for donor recognition and life events such as a family member or friend moving away. These types of keepsakes are often treasured for years and are an enjoyable way to look back on the past.

Ornaments are popular and can be personalized for any of these types of occasions. A crystal ornament can be sandcarved with any message. Crystal ornaments are not only great for a Christmas tree, but can be hung from windows for an elegant look. There are a variety of sublimatable ornaments, as well, for full-color options, along with the ability to decorate on both sides. With this option, you can utilize as much space as possible with photos, dates and messages.

Sublimatable magnets are another smaller, full-color item that have gained popularity and can be used for a variety of memorial events. From a Save-the-Date to a Thank You, magnets are often in the line of sight and seen every day.

Keepsake boxes are a great choice for commemorating a person or event as well. There are a variety of options in different sizes, finishes and process abilities currently available. From laser engraving to sublimation, keepsake boxes can be used to capture those lasting memories not only through personalization, but through their use as well.

The diversity of the memorial market is truly only limited by imagination. Remember to keep your customer and their needs as your focus while trying to express their loss or event in a truly memorable way. In doing so, your business will grow and your customers will thank you.