Today we’d like to welcome honorary WYG girl, Mandy Benoualid, to the blog. Mandy is the founder and Executive Creative Director of Qeepr, a site that brings family and friends together to honor and remember deceased loved ones by linking real life memorials to online memorials and social media.
Qeepr provides a platform for online memorial pages honoring deceased loved ones. Each page is customized and maintained by loved one(s) and, according to Qeepr, “…friends and family can leave condolences upload photos, like, share, comment, connect and remember those who are dearly missed.” They also assure the platform is “…secure, simple and flexible.” Additionally, Qeepr allows individuals to place a QR code on a gravestone, urn, or other monument leading family and friends to their loved one’s memorial online.
Here is a video explanation if you’re more of a visual learner:
Got it? Okay great.
Anyway, we thought Qeepr was a really interesting idea and, being our usual nosey selves, we simply had to hear the back story. We are extremely grateful to have Mandy with us today so let’s get this show on the road.
To start off, tell us what Qeepr is and what you offer to grievers.
Qeepr is a free social memorialization website where friends and family can create an online memorial for a lost loved one. It is “social” because visitors can leave messages, comment on and “love” all posts, and even add their own photo & video memories. Everyone has a Network page where they can stay up to date and reach out to their relatives and those within their city, for example. Coupled with the memorials is the use of QR Code plaques monuments. When scanned with any smartphone, the code will direct the visitor to the Qeepr Memorial! It’s an interactive, communal approach to memorialization, focused on providing grievers with the tools to preserve and share a life story.
Qeepr is an unusual name – what’s that all about?
People are often intrigued by our name. Qeepr (pronounced “keeper”) is actually what we call the creator and administrator of the memorial profile. You become the “Qeepr” of your loved one’s memorial. We decided to use a “Q” to represent the QR Code functionality!
What inspired the idea of Qeepr?
Well one day I was visiting my grandfather’s grave, and I came across a columbarium that had a blank CD with the words “Dad’s work” written on it. Intrigued, I reached for my phone to Google the man’s name, but nothing came up. I was so curious about this man’s life, and his son clearly wanted to preserve and share his accomplishments. So I thought- imagine you could discover someone’s life story in an instant? That’s how Qeepr flourished!
What really solidified the need for Qeepr though, was when my aunt passed away last year. There was a condolence section provided by the funeral home, but after just a month, all the messages sent by family and friends were removed! Facebook even deleted her profile, so all our memories of her simply disappeared. Now when you search her name, her Qeepr profile is the first thing that comes up.
Do you have a Qeepr page for any of your loved one(s)?
Yes! This is my Grandfather Michel’s profile: http://www.qeepr.com/profile/MichelBenoualid/
He has such an amazing story- he was the personal Ping Pong instructor to the Prince of Morocco!
I know it is hard to pick favorites but, other than your grandfather’s of course, do you have a favorite profile on your site?
I loved Linda Hughes’ profile: https://www.qeepr.com/profile/LindaHughes/
Her daughter Sarah is her Qeepr, and she did an amazing job. The whole Family Tree is completed with some amazing photos. http://www.qeepr.com/family/LindaHughes/
Being a Qeepr is a big responsibility! What will someone need to create robust Qeepr profile for their loved one?
A Qeepr can include as much or as little information they want! Basic information, including a profile picture, date of birth, date of death, city, general interests, and a short bio or obituary is already a great start. Pictures and videos are incredibly easy to upload, especially as most of us store all our photos digitally today. The milestone section requires a little more detail. Users generally include important dates such as employment history, academic history, wedding date, and birth of a child. My favourite part about creating my grandfather’s Qeepr Memorial was speaking with my Grandmother to put all this information together. I learnt so many new things about him!
How many people are on the Qeepr staff?
I am currently the only full time employee at Qeepr. I have a small but amazing team, including a part time graphic designer and SEO manager, a social media manager, and a front end and back end developer. I cannot forget our two amazing student interns of course!
What were you doing before you came to Qeepr, if you don’t mind us asking?
After receiving a Communications degree, I worked in event coordination, film and sound production so it was quite the leap of faith for me! I am still a huge media buff and do film photography (I like it old-school) in my spare time.
Where do you hope to see Qeepr in 5 years?
My vision for Qeepr is for it to become the universal platform for memorialization. Funeral homes offer basic online memorials that are meant to share funeral arrangements, but not only does this information often disappear, family members serviced by different funeral homes, or in different countries for that matter, will never be connected or found. We want to unite all this information in one place so relatives do not need to scour the internet. We are also hoping to spread the use of QR Codes in cemeteries around North America. We are almost finished developing our Geo-Location functionality which will essentially allow Google Maps to walk you directly to a monument because we know how difficult they can be to find. A cemetery in Uruguay actually just announced that they will be placing QR Codes on all their monuments with location services! We want to bring North America up to date.
Why do you think something like Qeepr is necessary in our current culture?
Our whole lives are online. We are living in a story telling society, from blogs to Facebook, and other social media. People want to share their lives, and people want to be remembered. Moreover, the predominant way to commemorate someone today is by looking at photographs and telling stories. Printed photos are becoming obsolete, so grievers need these online tools to share and preserve all these memories.
What would you hope to find in your own Qeepr (which we of course hope no one will be creating any time soon!)?
As a matter of fact my sister is my Qeepr! All users (even those of us still here) assign their own Qeepr. So I can tell my whole life story, and when I pass away, my sister will be able to publish it and manage it. I chose my sister because she knows me best. She can fill in all missing information, she will know who to share my memorial with, and will only chose the most flattering pictures of course.
Wow, thank you so much for talking to us Mandy. We have people ask us about good platforms for online memorials all the time, so hopefully a few of our readers will check Qeepr out. Readers, if you decide to use Qeepr we’d love to see the online memorials of your loved ones! Share with us in the comments below or on Facebook.
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