Louise Winter: the Hatch Founder Transforming Funerals

Dying Matters Week takes place annually in May, bringing people together to talk about death, dying and grief. The campaign is all about breaking the stigma, challenging preconceptions and normalising public openness around dying.

One Hatch graduate working hard to start meaningful conversations around death is Louise Winter.

Louise is the founder of Poetic Endings, an award-winning, progressive, and ethical funeral service in Forest Hill, London. Before starting her own business, Louise worked as a creative strategist, helping brands to find ways to engage with their fans in new and different ways.

The turning point came when her grandfather died. She felt that the funeral they held for him was really important, but on the day it was “formulaic, uninspiring, and soulless. 

“We’re restricted by a lack of choice, told to get the funeral ‘out of the way’, and rarely taken care of during what is a chaotic and challenging time.”

She realised there had to be a better way for people to both grieve and honour their loved ones, and that the funeral industry was ripe for someone like her to really think about why it existed and how it could be done better to serve the needs of the people.

Louise said, “I found the thing that I knew I was going to concentrate on for the rest of my life.” She wanted to set up a funeral service that was creative, flexible, transparent and genuinely helped people to have the funeral they wanted, rather than a template of what a funeral should be.

“Funerals have the power to honour, heal, and inspire. A final chance to come together, learn more about a person’s life, reflect on it, and say goodbye.”

Her business has seen success and growth in the last few years, with the thoughtful and compassionate service offered by Louise and her team really resonating with people. 

Poetic Endings is a member of the Association of Green Funeral Directors, and recommended by the Good Funeral Guide and the Natural Death Centre. In 2019, it was awarded the title of Best Female Led Modern Funeral Company and in 2020, Best Independent Funeral Services Provider in London.

As her first experience as an entrepreneur Louise shared that it has been a steep learning curve. She joined the Hatch Female Founders Accelerator programme to learn more and develop in some of the areas she was less sure about, such as finance, hiring and organisational structures. 

Louise said that she really benefited from being in a cohort of people with such similar experiences who understood what she was going through, and that this sense of community gave her the resilience to deal with problems as they arose.

On the Accelerator, she was able to attend expert-led workshops on finance, funding options, and legal structures, and access 1-2-1 expert support from investment specialists and pitching and presentation coaches.

“I don’t think I’d have been in such a strong position to do this if it hadn’t been for Hatch.”

We all know how this ends: Lessons about life and living from working with death and dying

To learn more about her work you can read Louise's book, co-written with End-of-life doula Anna Lyons. 'This is a book about life and living, as much as it's a book about death and dying. It's a reflection on the beauties, blessings and tragedies of life, the exquisite agony and ecstasy of being alive, and the fragility of everything we hold dear. It's as simple and as complicated as that.'

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