The Story Exchange, Esmerelda Kent, KinkaracoYour Name: Esmerelda Kent

Business Name: KINKARACO, a provider of natural biodegradable shroud for funeral services

Type of Business: Design/Deathcare

Business Location: San Francisco, California, United States


Reason for starting
After working 25+ years as a costume designer and a sincere Buddhist practice, I wanted to do something more meaningful to help people. I began working in CA’s 1st green burial cemetery and the most requested service was for shroud burial but all shrouds wee of religious nature and I saw the need for a constructed shroud “unit” that would be easy for families at home and busy funeral homes to prepare easily that would work for carrying and lowering in the cemeteries.

How do you define success?
The process of having a new idea , being able to manufacture it aesthetically to my satifaction while growing continually ,hiring talented people , getting the word out to the public who receive it happily and express their appreciation for its existence and the services we provide them – being able to keep the business going financially while taking care of myself mentally, physically and spiritually without going into debt or becoming unhealthy. How well I am able to sleep at night and my ability to meditate no matter what is happening externally- in other words my most treasured success is a peaceful mind.

Biggest Success
Being able to help people when their loved ones are dying. “SIX FEET UNDER” purchasing my first prototype in 2005 BUSINESSWEEK centerfold article in 2008 EILEEN FISHER women in sustainable business grant 2010

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Capital! I live very simply and put everything back into the business. I don’t use credit cards or borrow money. I write articles and submit them to trade magazines, send pictures for their covers, and tried to be creative while we were growing. Never making decisions based on profit.

Who is your most important role model?
1.My spiritual teacher 2. Steve Jobs 3. A lot of women