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kc_120In today's world families are spread all over the place, making it difficult to get together when they really want to.  More and more it is harder for family members to travel to make a funeral.  A new Web site seeks to soften that pain and help families and friends connect online to honor and remember loved ones that have passed away.  The site is the brainchild of Kevin Geiger, an interactive online expansion of his Keepsake Kabinet product, a beautiful display cabinet for displaying pictures and playing recordings and tribute videos at funerals.

"The Keepsake Kabinet is an actual cabinet we are trying to sell to funeral homes.  I came up with the idea at my Mom's funeral," Geiger says.  "As nice a job as my sisters did on your typical pegboard, I thought my Mom deserved something better.  Through many prototypes I finally have what's now called the Keepsake Kabinet.  It's more desirable than your typical pictures on an easel."

The Keepsake Kabinet is a hand crafted hardwood cabinet with doors that open to reveal a velvet lined interior with a magnetic backing so pictures can be attractively mounted without damaging them.  It features soft lighting, a sound system, and a screen on which a video tribute can be displayed. adds a new dimension to the mix: an ongoing interactive online meeting place, an online Kabinet in which family and friends remember a loved one, share stories and images, and better connect with the person being honored and each other.  The site is in what Geiger calls a pre-launch phase.

One person purchases an online tribute Kabinet, then invites family and friends to join in the community formed around that Kabinet.  At launch the four main elements are a tribute blog, video, pictures, and 'pages'.  All 'friends' of the Kabinet owner can comment and view posted items.  If you have a tribute video on YouTube you can easily embed it into your Kabinet.  Alternatively you can create your own tribute video on the site using pictures you upload and a wealth of stock backgrounds and music.  'Pages' can be used to post an obituary, or stories about the person being honored.  The idea is to share stories about the person, perhaps adding elements to what other members didn't know about him or her.

"It will be great for funerals with cremations," Geiger says.  "They won't have to feel guilty about not having a body.  Our family didn't want to see our mother who had suffered from cancer, who lost so much weight... she didn't look the way we wanted to remember her.  The Keepsake Kabinet and Kabinet Connect both bring back those truly memorable times."

kc_blog400Family and friends share rememberances in a Kabinet

Geiger grew up in Lansing and graduated from Lansing High School.  But it wasn't until his mother Laura passed away in 2005 that he developed a passion for creating a better funeral display. 

"When I was looking at those pictures this emotion ran through me -- I can't explain it," he recalls.  "This was the last time I was going to see my mother, and I was never going to see some of these pictures again, because they belonged to different people.  And seeing my Mom's pictures with pins through them -- I knew there was a better way for people to honor their loved ones."

It took years to develop the final design in his North Lansing garage workshop.  It hasn't been easy introducing a new kind of product, but Geiger is creative and good at finding related businesses to partner with.  He has partnered with an online sympathy store, and plans to create the biggest online store for his members.

While he is focussing on the funeral industry initially, he sees other life events as being a perfect fit for physical and online Kabinets.  Weddings, anniversary parties, and childbirth are just a few examples.  Funeral directors and party planners and other event providers can purchase a special Kabinet online that will be featured to all members.  Geiger also has an affiliate program where other Web sites can earn a commission when their users click through to purchase an online Kabinet.  After the 'soft launch' a he plans a major push to get funeral directors on board.

kc_kevingeiger400Kevin Geiger

Kabinet Connect is the first spin-off of the original Keepsake Kabinet, but he has other ideas, some of which he is currently developing prototypes for.  He has found a furniture manufacturer to produce the physical Kabinets in a way that will maintain the quality he wants while keeping the cost down.  He says he will continue to hand craft custom orders in his garage workshop. 

"The quality will be there," he says.  "That's one of our main concerns, because our name will be on it."

You can join during the soft-launch.  Kabinets are only $19.95 per year and it is free for friends of the Kabinet owner.  It is easy to invite friends - the Kabinet owner's account can send an email with a link to register on the site.  When the recipient uses the link to complete the free registration they are automatically added as a 'friend' so they can begin participating immediately.

During the launch Geiger and his wife Kelly have been working on their own tribute to his mother, while others are also creating their own tribute communities.

"One of our members did a beautiful job on a video for his mother," Geiger says.  "Every time you see the video you learn more about who that person was.  I'll go back and look at the pictures of my Mom, literally a couple of clicks away.  You could even view it on your phone if you're feeling down and want to see that person.  You go to Kabinet Connect and there it is."

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