12 things you might not know about Poppy's

Poppy's team sitting in mortuary, all smiling, coffins in background

Four minute read

It’s 12 years this month since the first Poppy’s funeral took place. Poppy’s has grown and flourished since then, so it felt like a good time to share 12 things that you might not know about us.

1. We’re not named after a flower.

Although poppies do have an association with remembrance, Poppy’s is named after a person, not a flower. Poppy Mardall founded Poppy’s in 2012 driven by a belief that funerals could and should be better. Read her story here.

2. Our mortuary is our most beautiful space.

Our mortuary is a converted burial chapel, just a stone’s throw away from our offices in Lambeth Cemetery, Tooting. It has high ceilings, plenty of natural light and an atmosphere of calm. We’re so proud of this space that we invite people in on open days to explain how we work. Read more about Poppy’s open days.

3. We can arrange funerals anywhere in the country.

Yes, that’s right. Although we are based in south west London, we have supported clients to hold beautiful, meaningful funerals as far afield as Norfolk, Dorset, Wales, Oxfordshire, or even… north London.

4. Poppy’s is not a depressing place to work.

In the words of funeral director Hannah, “The really hard and sad times are outweighed by the moments of joy, happiness and warmth.” Find out more about why people choose to work at Poppy’s and how you can join our team.

5. We were one of the first funeral directors to offer unattended cremations.

In 2012, when we first started, people who wanted a funeral that was very simple, or affordable, or both, were not getting their needs met. So we launched Poppy’s as a simple cremation service to help those people have the funeral they wanted and needed.

But right from the start, we were contacted by others who wanted something more. When they asked for our support with a natural burial or a traditional, religious ceremony — we said ‘yes’ and we've been saying ‘yes’ ever since.

We now offer all kinds of funerals, including direct cremations, listening and helping you make choices that are right for you. Find out about the options.

6. We have a majority female staff team.

Funerals don’t have to mean men in black top hats. You’ll find women in every role at Poppy’s — driving our hearses, caring for people in our mortuary, talking you through arrangements on the phone, making the strategic decisions behind the business and directing the funeral itself.

We are a mixed gender team, and proud to be, but you will definitely see more women taking the lead at Poppy’s than you would at most other funeral directors.

7. You can talk to us any time.

You don’t have to be recently bereaved, facing a terminal diagnosis or needing to plan a funeral right away to come and talk to us. We’re ready to talk about your funeral wishes, answer your questions or to share our resources and experience, wherever feels like the right time for you. Find out more about My Funeral Wishes.

8. We don’t say ‘deceased’…

…or ‘fallen asleep’ or ‘loved one’ or ‘passed away’ or any of those familiar euphemisms around death and dying. Instead, we call people by their names, just as we would if they were alive, and we use clear but compassionate language to talk about the work we do. Want to understand more?

9. We have (literally) rewritten the rules.

In 2022, we changed our company articles of association — the written rules about how a company is run.

Our objects as a company are now equally to benefit our stakeholders and to have a material positive benefit on society and the environment, reflecting our belief that Poppy’s as a business has to benefit people and the planet.

10. We find alternatives to embalming.

It’s hard to find out what proportion of people are embalmed after they have died in the UK. The most recent estimate we could find is around 50-55%. Whereas at Poppy’s, we embalm less than 1% of people in our care.

Why the big difference? Because we believe there are gentle, natural ways to care for someone who has died, without offering embalming as standard. Read more.

11. We have a great selection of make-up, aftershave and nail varnish.

When we look after someone at Poppy’s, we check with you what clothes you’d like us to dress them in. We can also wash their hair, and even do their make-up and nail varnish if you’d like that. You’re, of course, always welcome to come in to help or simply to spend time with your person before their funeral. Read more about visits.

12. We are the first B Corp certified funeral directors in London.

To keep it simple, a B Corp is a company which meets high standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Poppy’s has been externally assessed to help us to stay true to our mission of serving our clients, while caring for people and planet too. Read more about our B Corp journey.

We’ve come a long way in twelve years, and we have plans to keep growing further. Not just for its own sake, but to bring our compassionate care and fresh approach to funerals to benefit more people.

Stay in touch with our journey by signing up for enews from Poppy’s.

Discover more articles