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National Funeral Exhibition 2024

Angela Young Managing Director of Serene Funeral Planning
Our Managing Director, Angela Young, shares her experience of Serene's first time exhibiting at the NFE2024.

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When the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) proposed regulations for the funeral planning market, I saw a prime opportunity to launch my own business, Serene Funeral Planning. I have always supported regulations to ensure top-tier service for customers.

Before founding Serene, I spent eight years as a Senior Business Development Manager at Anderson Maguire Funeral Directors, gaining deep insights into the industry and the crucial role of funeral plans. Despite my experience, I underestimated the rigorous process of gaining FCA approval. As an independent start-up, I quickly learned to create a clear brand message and effective marketing materials.

I chose teal and gold for our branding to convey trustworthiness, reliability, warmth, and authenticity. I meticulously studied industry elements and FCA regulations. After 18 months of intense effort, I was authorised as SMF1 – Executive Director and SMF16 – Compliance Oversight. In May 2023, Serene Funeral Planning was one of only 28 out of 110 applicants approved by the FCA, highlighting our ethical business model. I am proud of this achievement, demonstrating my tenacity and dedication.

I began the company with a soft launch to ensure our systems, procedures, and processes were working, as real-world applications can differ from theory. I expanded the team, ensuring that everyone who joined shared our values and ethos. We strive to offer a service where customers feel the same level of personal attention they would receive from their local funeral director, enhancing their experience with pre-need funeral plans.

With the biannual National Funeral Exhibition (NFE) scheduled for June 2024, I decided this would be the official launch of Serene Funeral Planning, to introduce ourselves to the industry. Having only ever been a visitor at exhibitions, it was somewhat intimidating to consider all the logistics. Based in Glasgow and the exhibition held in Kenilworth, we couldn’t simply return to the office if we forgot anything.

A special thanks to the NFADUK for our promo video.

For the official launch of Serene Funeral Planning, we chose the National Funeral Exhibition (NFE) in June 2024. Our stand was in Hall 1, stand 44. My heart swelled with pride as I saw ‘SERENE FUNERAL PLANNING’ prominently displayed. I, Gordon, and Gemma (some of the Serene team) set up our display. The vision I had nurtured for the past eight months was finally becoming a reality, and thankfully, we did not forget a single item.  We did however unanimously agree, we look forward to the day someone else is in charge of the setup.

Upon arrival, the venue was relatively quiet, with workers scattered about adjusting stands and assisting with setup.  As the day progressed, more exhibitors arrived, and the atmosphere became livelier.   We encountered a minor issue with our stand, but Kyle Daley from the NFE resolved it immediately. He was exceptionally helpful and encouraging, and this helpfulness continued throughout the weekend

On the first day of the exhibition, our Non-Executive Director, Susan Walker, joined us, ready to put Serene Funeral Planning on the map. As soon as the doors opened, the venue was bustling with a throng of people, which continued steadily throughout the weekend. We had the pleasure of meeting many funeral directors and suppliers, engaging in stimulating conversations and putting faces to names. Unexpectedly, we also forged strong connections with other nearby funeral suppliers, enriching the experience further.

The exhibition featured a wide variety of funeral products and services, which I found both interesting and fascinating as did many of the visitors I spoke to.  Visitors appreciated the event’s breadth, suggesting they would attend for two days in the future.

Jenny Gilbert -Trigg, the president of the National Association of Funeral Directors, visited our stand and agreed to draw the winning ticket for our free prize draw.  The prize was one week’s holiday at a 5-star luxury lodge on the west coast of Scotland.  The lucky winner was Mr Gudlam Teladia, Chairman of Birmingham Muslim Burial Council (BMBC).  He and his family will be enjoying a week’s holiday in sunny Scotland (do those words even work in the same sentence?) at the end of July.

The event featured many informative talks from industry experts about a broad range of current topics within the sector.  Despite the sore feet, (yes, I completely ignored the advice to bring ‘flat shoes) and the lack of appreciation of how tiring the weekend would be, it was incredibly rewarding.  Our team loved every minute, and although I was initially nervous, I quickly relaxed and enjoyed the experience.  It was a privilege for Serene Funeral Planning to be part of the exhibition and sector.

The team and I learned a great deal and we are looking forward to 2026 when Serene Funeral Planning will be a well-known name in the funeral planning sector.

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Serene Funeral Planning Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as a Funeral Plan Provider. Registration Number: FRN 975199

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