A former police officer has found a new career path in coffin-making to tap the growing funeral services business. Boniface Wanguku’s journey began when he purchased a hearse to transport dead bodies. However, Mr Wanguku soon realised there was growing demand for coffins. “I bought a vehicle that would help transport bodies and later started making coffins,” says Mr Wanguku.
The new venture became an instant success thanks, he says, to his dedication and passion for providing “dignified funeral services.” Through his craftsmanship and attention to detail, Wanguku says he has become a trusted name in Murang’a Town and beyond.
According to Mr Wanguku, while crafting a coffin involves using materials such as wood, chipboards, and handles, he ensures that a coffin fit well. To this end he mortuaries to take accurate measurements of the body to ensure a perfect fit. “Sometimes we are forced to visit the mortuary and take a look at the condition of the corpse and then decide how the coffin will be made,” he said.
When it comes to the design and style of the coffins, Wanguku reveals that, like furniture industry, he keeps a close eye on current trends. “We search the internet to see trending designs in order to be up to date with the current designs,” Mr Wanguku says, adding they offer a variety of designs to cater to different tastes.
He said quality and durability are of utmost importance when it comes to designing and making the coffins. “I ensure that each coffin is built to withstand the test of time. This includes using sturdy materials and employing expert craftsmanship in the construction process,” he said.
Mr Wanguku explained that customization is another aspect of crafting a coffin. He takes into account the individual family’s specific requests, making sure to incorporate personal touches that honour the deceased. “I put my products inside a room instead of the roadside because most of the time, you may find a child going to school daily, and seeing the coffin may not portray a good image to the child or other members of the public who may be sensitive to deaths,” he said.
While the nature of his work can be emotionally challenging, Mr Wanguku says he handles it with sensitivity and professionalism. He understands the importance of providing a respectful and appropriate final sendoff.
Mr Wanguku has encountered unique and challenging requests from customers in the past. However, he takes pride in his ability to fulfil these requests, ensuring that each customer’s vision is brought to life.
In addition to coffin production, Mr Wanguku has expanded his services to include packaging eulogies and digging graves. This comprehensive approach allows him to provide a 360-degree funeral service package to his clients. “Currently, my business is offering almost all funeral service packages, including coffin making, transportation services, selling wreaths, and printing eulogies, among other services,” he said.
As the coffin-making industry continues to evolve, Mr Wanguku stays up-to-date with new techniques and innovations. He actively seeks out information and resources to ensure that his products remain of the highest quality.