Memories of Loved Ones: Katy Samuels Hits the Road

Several years ago, Katy Samuels and her extended family took a unique business idea and ran with it — or drove with it as the case may be! Though the family works many and sometimes odd hours, together they make it work. I believe their real secret is the desire to serve others in both the best, and hardest of times. Find out more as I interview Katy to learn what MoLo is all about.

Tell us about your business, Memories of Loved Ones. Who do you serve and what do you offer?

Our products and services help people “celebrate life”. We showcase events such as a birthday, anniversary, graduation or reunion. Or perhaps a family is experiencing the pain of losing a loved one. We specialize in creating custom products – our core product offering includes custom designed and framed collages, slideshows that can be burned as DVDs or Blu-ray discs, and digital books.

Recently, we expanded our offering to include specialized products for weddings. We offer a complete package that includes everything from websites, logos, invitations, programs, table cards, collages of the bride and groom growing up, custom signature books, books telling the story of the bride and groom’s journey to their big day, signs at the event and more! We can even help after the wedding by showcasing wedding and honeymoon photos.

Part of your mission is to help families who are grieving. Tell us more about that.

Our funeral service is unique — we haven’t found a company in the US that offers anything quite like what we have to help a grieving family.

We start by meeting the family at our office or at their home in our MoLo Mobile. In either location we meet with the family and convert all of their memories to digital format. This can include loose photographs, photos in albums, newspaper articles, framed art, framed photos, 3D objects – such as collectibles, jewelry, clothing, medals, trophies – we’ve even included a car! Whatever the family considers a “memory of their loved one” we convert it all to digital.

We love to hear each person’s story. Our goal is that each collage, each slideshow we create, reflect the personality of a families’ loved one. We deliver everything to the funeral home, set it up (all collages are displayed in frames), and then pick it up after the funeral. We will even set everything up at a 2nd location if the family would like us to.

How did you come up with the idea to start MoLo?

In July 2004 my brother Scott & I lost a dear friend, Keith Noble. Keith’s wife made posters with photos for the funeral, but several years later they were misplaced. I decided to contact Keith’s family and collect as many pictures as I could and created “posters” of Keith for a memorial golf outing we hold each year. Our family and friends loved what we had done.

We researched to see if there was any company in the US that offered a service to help families put together and display photos at a funeral. We couldn’t find any! So, we sat down and brainstormed. In the beginning we focused on taking the burden off the family by preserving their photos, creating a beautiful personalized tribute to their loved one, and providing a high quality end product that would last a lifetime. We founded our company based on this simple concept — and boy have we come a LONG way since then!

What do you love best about what you do?

Every day I have the opportunity to put a smile on someone else’s face! A lot of people think our job is depressing. It’s actually the complete opposite. Yes, a family may cry while we are meeting with them. But they also smile and laugh as they share stories about their loved one. I love knowing that we are providing a valuable service that is truly helping someone in need. We go from being perfect strangers on the first day we meet, to feeling like we are part of the family just a few days later. It’s not uncommon for us to receive huge hugs (with tears) as the families thank us over and over again for what we did. It’s truly an amazing feeling and we are blessed to be a part of it.

What does a typical day on the job look like?

“Typical” and “MoLo” don’t go together very well! We love to meet for breakfast because it’s our one chance to be together and to share a meal. It’s not uncommon for us to completely miss a meal and go hours before we realize it! Our days are flexible, but also unpredictable. We make it a priority to put family first and work everything else around that.

Funerals always take priority in our job queue and we work our celebration jobs around them. We never know for sure when we will be in the office, out in the RV, or driving a child to and from school! We tend to work crazy hours and have even pulled all-nighters, but that is why our mobile office is very comfortable including several couches that are often used in shifts for naps!

What advice would you give to women who are thinking about starting a small business?

Be very passionate about your business concept because you will put more blood, sweat and tears into this endeavor than you can ever imagine. Do your homework up front. Research your idea thoroughly to make sure you understand what your competition is doing. Learn how to network in your local community and figure out how to market your idea. Know that you will make lots of mistakes but you learn more from your failures than your successes. Most importantly, follow your dream and believe in yourself. I truly believe that if you are passionate about what you do that anything is possible.

You can find Katy and the team at Memories of Loved Ones (theMoLo.com)

About Laura Harbolt

Laura's passion is helping women succeed in small business. With years of sales and teaching experience she will help you create a meaningful business so you can make money and make a difference.