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Meet Rachel Dahl of Miracle Memorial

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel Dahl.

Hi Rachel, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today.
Before Miracle Memorial, I started out as a DNA keepsake shop called Precious Mammaries dedicated to just nursing mothers and their babies. I took the breast milk sent to me and made breast milk jewelry out of it. I did that for a couple of years until a fellow mom reached out to me asking if I could do something with breast milk and her baby’s ashes. She told me the story of how her baby died and the grief she was going through. She had been trying for years to have a child but was not ever successful, until now, or so she thought. That just killed me. As a new mother, I could just feel the sorrow in her words. Every detail of it cut me deep.

From that experience, I realized that many women out there are unable to look at photos of mothers with babies especially around the time of their loss, including women I knew personally. I also learned that there are so many out there, for different reasons, who call their pets their children. I understand and can empathize with that notion.

From there, I decided I was going to create a separate keepsake shop that would cater to everyone, including pets.

That was how Miracle Memorial was born.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Precious Mammaries really paved the way for Miracle Memorial to happen. I had already been perfecting my art in the DNA keepsake world for two years before starting. It was streamlined as far as managing inventory, supplies and suppliers, refining methods, etc. What was difficult was trying to break into the field where I was a complete stranger. I had no history of ever working with memorial or cremation jewelry. I did not deal with ashes prior to this.

I only dealt with breast milk, hair, placenta, and umbilical cord!

I had to establish myself as someone people could trust both online and in person. I started showing up for events and getting our name out there with a face attached to it. I felt it was especially important because the nature of this business deals with a very sensitive issue, death. It was a sad and serious matter that I also had the challenge to turn into something beautiful.

Part of the challenge was to cheer people up and bring them joy when it was very hard to do so, but it seems that the work we put into the jewelry in itself and the timeliness of our communication gave them some relief. I’m very thankful for that.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Miracle Memorial is cremation jewelry and memorial keepsake shop. Also called DNA keepsakes, we use sources of life as our material to make our pieces such as ashes, fur, hair, whiskers, teeth, nails, and breast milk, among others.

It’s a way to remember our loved ones and to keep them close wherever we are. We are mostly online and serve people all over the world, but we do cater to our locality as well through in-person events. In the near future, we’ll also be appearing at your local crematoriums, funeral homes, veterinarian offices, and other establishments where they serve animals.

We are known for using mostly natural materials in our process of creating these “life” stones. Since life itself is organic, we pair ashes and other DNA inclusions with things from nature. Instead of using resin unlike everyone else in this industry, we use glass. Instead of using coloring or paint, we use different colors of real dried flowers, crushed seashells, metallic-colored gravel, and even real gemstones to add color to the ashes. With our other shop for moms, this is also the case. My husband is very chemically sensitive, so when I first started to create jewelry in our home, I had to use little to no chemicals. It was a blessing in disguise.

Since this process of ours is so unique, the stones also look very natural. The details of the ashes really come out when you just let them be without disturbing them too much. Since I’ve worked with a lot of cremains since starting this shop, I’ve discovered that ashes from different sources really look very different from each other! From the color to the texture, you can really tell apart the difference. When they appear in the stones we make, they are exactly as they were when you receive them from your crematorium but somehow more vibrant. It helps ease our customers’ minds when they wonder and worry about mixing up ashes with other customers. I don’t think other cremation keepsake shops can have that same assurance. It just says volumes about how unique we all are!

Besides all this, we also are very, very accessible. We are a very small team that’s also like a family. We come from diverse backgrounds but have a common goal, which is to serve our customers with the utmost respect and care at a very important time in their lives. It’s a good purpose to have even if we take more time than we should with every creation.

Our designs are also dainty, chic, timeless, and discreet. I say somewhat discreetly because we aren’t hiding the ashes behind a metallic little urn but instead they are proudly displayed in their natural beauty in glass. However, they are small enough and look like gemstones that people can’t tell unless they get up close!

What were you like growing up?
I was always a kid that loved to create not so much for its own sake but to invite others into. Whether it was for their reading, listening, or visual pleasure or to actually help them with something practical, I wanted to make that for them. I loved creating so much that my parents let me stay home a lot from middle school because I got so passionate about making websites! I wasn’t so much into one craft, so I admit that I was never really an expert in one thing. I wanted to be the jack of all trades wherever my interest pulled me, and that had its limitations. It meant that I was not that amazing at any one thing because my interest pulled me in different directions. Being a kid, that wasn’t so bad. I was learning.

Only secondary was my knack for making some money from it. I enjoyed the creativity behind what I did so much that I kept pursuing whatever it was I was into, even if it really wasn’t popular or making money. I just liked the idea that I was also getting something to compensate for my time. Of course, as an adult, I realized it wasn’t just enough to compensate for time! Making a living from creating I should also mention, is a huge challenge, surely for many artists. I have to constantly get back into the passion of doing it like I did when I was a child, so I don’t get so distracted by the business side of it as an adult. Consciously marrying the two together really helps me to be sincere and balanced.

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