Meet the Australian small business bringing coffins to Costco

Costco to open three new stores as Aussies opt to top up their shopping at the bulk retailer

Australians will be able to buy coffins from Costco as of this week.

While people are able to purchase a coffin from the bulk grocery chain in the United States, this is the first time burial caskets will be sold in a supermarket in Australia.

The coffins will be supplied by Scientia Coffins and Caskets, a small but fast-growing business founded in May 2015.

Scientia started off with just one employee, but in just 11 months has managed to turn over around $1.2 million in sales.

The business now hopes to bury its competition after digging up a supplier deal with Costco Australia.

There will be three kinds of coffins on offer – a ‘green’ coffin made from raw wood for those concerned about the environment, a middle-of-the-range coffin made from recycled medium density fibres, and a more expensive coffin made from solid timber.

While ordering a coffin through a funeral home can cost thousands of dollars, Costco’s medium density fibre coffin will retail for around $500.

The solid timber product, however, will cost around $3500.

The coffins will be available in Costco’s Ringwood store in Melbourne from Wednesday, and will be available from Costco’s other locations in the next few weeks.

Issac Leung, the founder of Scientia, told SmartCompany Costco is the perfect fit for his business because both companies value quality at a competitive price.

“The rising cost of death is all over the media,” Leung says.

“Cremation volumes are continuing to go up because federal land is getting more expensive. People – not through choice, but need – are looking for different avenues to save costs.”

When questioned about whether people will actually buy coffins from Costco, Leung points out the model is successful in the US.

“You’re always going to have people who want a Ferrari, you’re always going to have people who want Toyotas,” he says.

“It takes time for people to evolve. But if you’re saving potentially five thousand dollars, the value proposition changes. That’s where, strategically, we’re positioning ourselves.”

“We’re changing a really old industry, breaking down the barriers and preventing consumers from being blindsided by costs when it comes to something so sensitive.”


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5 years ago

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