Simple Direct Funerals

Simple Direct Funerals is a boutique funeral business based in Richmond.  It has been running for 3 years and serves both the Nelson and Tasman areas.

Although being the newest business Simple Direct Funerals has made a huge difference by offering set price funerals that have no hidden costs.  This also means we do not keep adding services or products that increases the final price.  We offer a service that covers everything a person needs for a simple cremation or burial.  The competition has followed suit in part with direct cremations.  But with the difference of being able to charge much more by trying to offer additional services or products.

We have found that our service also frees families to arrange a memorial service that they want to do at a later date. When a funeral happens soon after the death often the family is dealing with grief and organising a funeral.  Then at the funeral, with so much going on it can be difficult to take in what people say and the people and family who attend.

Having a memorial service a little later gives family space and time.  A private or small service at the cremation or burial can also include a larger gathering at a later date.

These memorial services are as unique as each individual.  Families can do what they want to do in the place they chose.  It could be a church service, sports club, bbq at home, restaurant, picnic – whatever the family decides.

Simple Direct Funerals priority is always on service and doing everything we can to help families during a challenging time.  That is why our pricing is simple and clear and allows families to focus more on other things than the finances.

With Simple Direct Funerals you are not part of a huge business that processes many funerals every week. You are treated as family.  We keep the process informal and supportive, professional and caring throughout.  At the end of the day meeting your needs is our goal.

Making your hardest time a little easier is what we strive to attain each and every time.

The Beginning

In 2017 my job was made redundant.  After working in the church for many years I had to make some major life decisions.  I didn’t want to leave Nelson and so my options seemed limited.  Although I applied for over 50 jobs I barely got any interviews and ended up working part time at a Service Station.

I went to all the local funeral homes because I thought I had the experience of working with families that related to their industry.  But they weren’t hiring at the time.  It was disappointing, but at the same time it started me thinking about the funeral business.

One of the things I came away with was how complicated the funeral process can be for some families.  At a stressful time with so many other things happening, trying to organise a funeral would be difficult.  Not only were there many things to decide, but there were also the costs involved.

My background had been supporting families through the funeral process.  I was with them before, during and after the service.  I knew a little of what funeral directors did, but learning the details from the paperwork to the mechanics of moving a person took a little time.  The most important thing was that I wanted to do things well and professionally.

Over a year I slowly built my business model.  There were two things I kept at the fore.  Make the process simple for families to follow AND keep the costs down.  One of the things I kept hearing was the unseen costs that kept getting higher.

I wanted everything to be clear cut from the start so that families would know how much it would cost from the start – no surprises.  I wanted them to be able to focus much more on their loved one than being distracted by things that probably didn’t matter in the long term.

When I was a minister I knew that there were two things people remembered most at a time of death and the funeral.  One was being with family and friends and two the stories they shared about the person who died.  This is what people talked about afterwards – not how great the coffin looked or the hearse or the other things.

So after a year of talking with heaps of people, taking plenty of small steps – like getting business cards, making a website, buying a car, getting the right coffin and all the hundreds of other little things I needed, it got to the stage where I just needed to bite the bullet and advertise and start serving my community.

Simple Direct Funerals began under the name Purely Cremations. To be honest I was terrified when I first started because I was it.  I had all the responsibility.  But from the very first family I was able to do things the way I wanted.  Supporting families through a tough time.

Although price is an important aspect it does not come at the expense of service, professionalism and care for all. In providing a simple funeral service it removes any pressure or need to spend more money. It also removes the stress of countless other aspects that can arise at this time with other services.

I don’t have expensive facilities that need to be paid for by customers. And at the same time still offer a service that meets the needs of many families. The funeral service provided throughout Tasman and Nelson in many ways feels more intimate as we work hand in hand with the family throughout every step of the funeral process.

Simple Direct Funerals is local through and through. From sourcing the wood for coffins, local craftsmen making urns and having locals help out when needed.  I’m pleased that I had a small carbon foot print and that at the end of the day the buck stops with me.  This means I can go out of my way to meet the needs of families as best I can.

The final thing I learnt was that many families wanted to celebrate and remember the life of their loved one their own individual way.  So even though a cremation may happen quickly, they had time and space to organise a memorial service or get together in a way that meant something to them.

Simple Direct Funerals has been going for a few years now with around 150 funerals.  I am so pleased that the feedback I get is positive and reassuring that they way I’m doing things is what families are wanting.

Simple Direct Funerals is here for the long term.  It will keep the pricing from other companies more honest and continue to offer open and supportive service to anyone who needs us.  I continue to grow and learn all the time.  But the thing that remains the same from the very start is providing the best service I can to the community at a fair and competitive price.

Owen Haring – Owner

Owen Haring

I grew up on an apple orchard in Redwood Valley.  I went to Appleby School and Waimea Intermediate and College.  After living in the North Island for many years, I returned home to Nelson in 2014 and began this business in 2018.

For over twenty years I have worked with families and communities taking many funerals and supported families and people throughout the death of a loved one.  My experience has been primarily working with families to farewell loved ones, rather than the “business” of funerals.  Therefore my focus is naturally upon the needs of the family. 

My career started as a youth worker in churches and then I became a minister for over ten years.  I love to help people and especially providing a service – be it wedding, funeral, church service that people not only enjoyed but was also meaningful.  I thought I was going to work in the church for my entire career, but things changed.

My job was made redundant in 2017 and I looked at many options.  I didn’t want to leave Nelson again and I needed a change from church, but at the same time I still wanted to help people.  The funeral business was something I was interested in and I believed I had the skills for.  However no one was hiring at the time.  But more than that was the sense I came away with from some companies that seemed more focused on sales and profits rather than service.  This didn’t sit well with me and I thought how I could provide an alternative here in Nelson and Tasman that was user-friendly and cost efficient.

During this time I worked part time at a service station while slowly planning and implementing my business model.  In order to work to my strengths and keep things simple I didn’t look at embalming at all and focused on direct cremations.

Over the few years I have seen the impact I have had on the industry with other companies new offering services at a much reduced price.

I wanted the families to have as much say as they wanted in the process and work with them.  For some it meant keeping the person at home until taken to the crematorium.  For others it meant we took the person into our care almost immediately as they wanted their final memories to be when they were alive.

Every family is different and working with them is such an privilege.  I feel incredibly fortunate to own and run this business and meet wonderful people from all corners of the community.

Thank you for taking the time to read about me.

Camille Visser

I’m originally from Nelson, moved to Wellington where I then set off to travel around the world before settling and working in Melbourne for several years.

I have since moved back to Nelson and am really enjoying the outdoors and the mixture of relaxed and adventurous lifestyle Nelson has to offer.

As a counsellor, my passion is working together with the client to celebrate and life of their loved one. Also offering support to help process the grief of one’s loss.

People can contact me directly through my website Elevate Counselling and Wellbeing.