“What would happen if there were no graveyards and, instead of graveyards, we built paradises?”
That’s the question 23 year-old Mexican college student, Daniela Núñez, asked herself.
This question would become the foundation of her biodegradable urns project and company: BioEternal.
“BioEternal literally started in one of my courses,” Núñez said in an interview with RISE NEWS. “After researching, she found several companies in Spain, Colombia and Argentina that work with biodegradable urns. That’s when she decided she could make a change by bringing the seldom used concept to Mexico.”
After validating the market in Mexico, Daniela noticed that people like BioEternal, not only because of the practice, but also because of the entire experience the product offers.
With the help of partners and guided by professors from her university, she started creating the foundations for her business.
A critical moment for Núñez and BioEternal happened during her fourth semester of college, where she signed up for an I semester.
The I semester is a unique business incubation offered by the Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores Monterrey (ITESM).
“While I was there, BioEternal started moving forward really fast,” Núñez said. “I also faced my biggest challenges. People liked my idea but they kept asking me how I would work with Mexican culture.”
Núñez spoke about the Mexican culture as one of her biggest challenges.
“Mexicans have deep roots in their culture, especially when it comes to death,”
Núñez said. “It’s rare to see practices that differ from what we are used to, or from the typical funerary companies. That part was very complicated and we didn’t know if it would work here in Mexico.”
Another challenge Núñez faced while working on Bioeternal was the Catholic Church’s strong presence in Mexico.
“Ad Resurgendum Cum Christo,” a document released in August 2016 signed by Pope Francis states that the ashes of deceased people may not be kept in unholy or unblessed land.
“But after validating the market in Mexico, I realized that people no longer have a strong commitment with the Church,” Núñez said regarding the challenge.
Besides BioEternal, there are five companies that sell biodegradable urns too in her market.
Núñez spoke about Limbo as one of her strongest competitors in Mexico.
“A company that’s already selling and has very good sales is Limbo,” Núñez said. “Their product is something like a sand ball, but their concept and idea is about reintegrating with nature.”
Another company named Colibrí not only work with humans, but also work with animals.
“My plans are to start with humans and then make an approach to the animal market,” Núñez said. “If I started with the animal market, people are going to relate or interpret this practice as something exclusive for animals and that’s not a good idea.”
For Núñez, working with BioEternal has been more than just a way to help the environment.
“It’s very pretty to think about becoming a tree, but that idea is not enough, especially when you’re going through such a complicated stage in your life,” she said.
That’s the reason why Núñez decided to link together her company with the concept of green thanatology.
Without exploring the meaning of life and death, thanatology studies death.
Green thanatology, which is related to liberation, focuses on helping people go through someone’s death with the help of nature.
Companies like Limbo and Colibrí only focus on helping the environment, and this provided Daniela with an area of opportunity.
BioEternal’s focus on healing and its link with thanatology are its main strength and something that puts it beyond its competitors.
Death is not an easy subject to handle.
This is the reason why Daniela not only wants to change processes, but also wants to change experiences.
“It’s no longer an experience of burying a person, but of planting a life,” Núñez said. “Let’s make it beautiful. I want people to be able to keep these memories. That’s one reason why Bioeternal is named that way, because it’s an eternal memory.”
Setting up her company has not been easy and, currently, Núñez’s bigger challenge is money.
Producing a large number of biodegradable urns and signing up for this year’s national funerary convention are big and necessary expenses for her.
“I’m out of resources and I’m going to need help from crowdfunding,” Núñez said.
Núñez said that her long term goals are about making her own funerary company and a Bioeternal park.
“I don’t want families to go to a graveyard. I want this to be a friendly concept in which people visit a forest and visit their own tree because that’s much more attractive and pretty,” Núñez said.
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