MATT: Firstly, please tell me about your app My Fantastic Funeral. What were the project's main motivations, and how did it come about?
LEIGH: My Fantastic Funeral is an app designed to solve two problems. It enables you to create the send off you want and relieves the stress for the family and loved ones left behind. You simply:
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Then share this information with family and friends to ensure your wishes come true. It is like an extension of your will with all the finer details included.
Above all My Fantastic Funeral is all about making your final farewell one to remember. Gone are the days where funerals have to be morbid affairs. Funerals should be personal,memorable and above all fun. It is a celebration of your life here on earth. The My Fantastic Funeral app was created to make funeral planning effortless and to assist you in making sure you go out with a bang!
The idea came about when a friend and I heard a song on the radio and thought we want this at our funeral but had no way of making sure our loved ones would play it so we decided to make an app and include a lot more detail. You can even use the app to tell people what dress code you would like as well as what charity you would like donations made to, where you want your ashes scattered and who should speak during the service.. We have tried to cover all bases.
LEIGH: Let’s face it we plan and celebrate all big milestones in our life such as birthdays, christenings and weddings. We believe your funeral should be no different. In fact it is even more important to get the details right because funnily enough “you won’t be there ...”
The topic of funerals has been a bit taboo over the years but I think that attitude is changing. There seems to be so many more cases of cancer and other illnesses so people are starting to think about getting their affairs in order and I think the funeral planning is part of that process.
I know my dad who is a baby boomer felt a little bit strange about discussing funeral arrangements but once he understood the concept behind the app he changed his view. When he found out we would have played a song he didn’t want he soon cottoned on and realized why the app is important and what purpose it is there for.
I also asked some Gen-Y kids what they thought and they seemed not to be phased by the concept and thought it was a good idea. We also got some good feedback from an article that was featured in the Border Mail from some older readers so I think its slowly catching on.
MATT: Apps are huge business and amazingly popular. But do you need much technical skill to create them? If you aren't "geeky" enough to do it all yourself, how do you go about realizing your vision?
LEIGH: Initially we looked into building the app ourselves but discovered it would take us a long time to learn how to do it so we opted to have someone build it for us. We used the internet to make enquiries and got 3 or 4 quotes from different capital cities before deciding on a company. It was only supposed to take 2-3 months but in the end took about 6 months.
MATT: What advice would you give to anyone intending to create their own apps?
LEIGH: If you have the knowledge and skills then sure go ahead and build it yourself but if you are like us complete beginners I would suggest to outsource it to a professional.. I think it saved us a lot of headaches in the long run.
If you have a good idea for an app get some advice and give it a go. it is a little bit scary but you have to take risks to be successful.
MATT: What promotional methods have been the most effective, and why?
LEIGH: We started out on Facebook and Twitter and they have been working well for us. We are slowly building a following. We have just had a few articles published in local newspapers which seemed to have created some interest. We are hoping to feature in some big newspapers and on some current affairs programs in the future to further promote the app.
The app has been downloaded in 11 countries so far and we are hoping that word of mouth will assist us in spreading the news about the app. We have a website: myfantasticfuneral.com.
MATT: Do you have plans to create other apps in the future. If so, what are they?
LEIGH: At the moment we will just concentrate on this one. We have plans to further develop My Fantastic Funeral so it will enable video.
I would love to create more apps in the future. I have been chatting to my niece and nephew about a fun game app so we will have to wait and see if we can get that one up and running..Its all about having fun on the journey..after all thats what life is about.