Today we’d like to introduce you to Monica Torres.
Monica, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started my company after taking my first job as a licensed embalmer and realizing that there was a need for advancement and modernization in the funeral industry. I realized right from the get-go the old saying “This is the way we’ve always done it” was a huge problem in the funeral industry and that mentality was trumping good old common sense.
I saw that families were completely unaware of what options were available to them and most didn’t even know that alternative care was available. Most people didn’t even know what embalming was much less why it was valuable or why they should have their loved one treated with this kind of care after death. Then, other professionals had been doing things the same way for decades. It didn’t take long for me to realize that my industry was ripe and ready for change.
That’s when education became my focus. With cremation on the rise and funeral expenses at an all-time high, I decided to start my company and offer accredited education for professionals and offer families education and consulting services regarding their deceased loved one in the area of post mortem body preparation. Whether families choose cremation, full-body burial or choose to memorialize their loved one with a home funeral my company is here to help them move through that difficult process. NXTgen is an independent contractor and can be hired out by families or funeral homes. NXTgen specializes in the art and science of advanced embalming procedures and other alternative care options for the body of the deceased. Monica specializes in modern treatments of the body that make sense such as the “Torres Tummy Tuck Technique” for autopsied bodies because let’s be real, who wants to look like a canned ham in their funeral duds? She also offers alternative care such as her “No Leak Torres Technique” for unembalmed green burial enthusiasts who want to look good in death while being environmentally conscious. We are not a funeral home. We work with many funeral homes nationwide to help families and funeral homes find a middle ground. We do one thing and that is to focus on how the body looks.
Monica H. Torres is the owner and founder of NXT Generation Mortuary Support, LLC. NXTgen is a trailblazing company that offers unique and specialized solutions to funeral homes and families nationwide. Operating on a short- or long-term contract.
Monica is deeply committed to the future of funeral service and has worked in all aspects of the ministry from working in the trenches of the prep room to managing one of Arizona’s largest and fastest-growing funeral homes and cemetery combos for the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix. Monica is a Licensed AZ Funeral Director, Embalmer, Cremationist, Reconstruction Specialist, Desairologist, CFSP and nationally recognized public speaker and trainer in the funeral industry. Monica is a first-generation Funeral Director and Embalmer and has worked in the beautification of human bodies since the age of 16. After becoming licensed by the Arizona State Board of Cosmetology, Monica opened her first business at the age of 18. Having an affinity for art and being able to see the rare beauty in death, her compassionate nature led her into funeral service and restorative artistry and post mortem reconstructive surgery on the deceased. After her completion of the Mortuary Science Program at Mesa Community College, and while still an Embalming Intern, Monica had her first course; Airbrush Artistry for cosmetic use in the Prep Room accredited in 2010. Monica concentrated her efforts and focused on the fantastic art and science of post mortem reconstructive surgery at the world-renowned Fountain National Academy of Professional Embalming Skills. During her attendance at FNA Monica developed the “No Wax Torres Technique,” coined by other professionals in the field her modernized hair restoration technique has proved to be an alternative to traditional wax hair restoration. Monica was honored in 2016 by Vernie Fountain with the FNA Distinguished Professional Service Medallion for this contribution to funeral service and is one of less than 60 embalmers worldwide to complete the certificate program at FNA.
Monica’s mortuary support company was featured on the cover of American Funeral Director Magazine in 2018 and recognized as one of the funeral industries’ most innovative companies helping to shape the future of funeral service. Monica’s passion lies in the prep room but she also receives gratification from helping families, funeral service professionals and funeral homes modernize their own services, products and procedures.
NXT Generation hopes to be able to continue to develop and offer accredited education and progressive service alternatives for funeral homes such as the “Family Assisted Dress Experience” (as featured in Mortuary Management 2015). Monica’s experience in event planning stems from her education at Arizona State University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Recreation Management with Emphasis in Tourism and Event Planning.
Has it been a smooth road?
It has hardly been a smooth road. Anytime you have a different idea or challenge the standard you will get haters and naysayers. I have dealt with issues like gender discrimination, racial discrimination, age discrimination, sexual harassment and even cyberbullying and cyberstalking.
Opening up a start-up company has proved to be one of the best/worst decisions of my life! All joking aside, the biggest challenge is brand awareness. In today’s world, business takes place online and moving my mortuary support company online has been a big challenge. Since the funeral industry is so unique, it is very difficult to find web-based services such as digital marketing and web designers that understand the nature of funeral service. Most of the professionals in my industry are older than I am and can’t see my vision. It’s not like marketing a restaurant or a beauty salon. I’ve had to do a lot of it myself while balancing death calls, bookkeeping, invoices, YouTube channel production, social media management and coordinating speaking engagements nationally.
Tell us more about the business.
I am a licensed Embalmer, Funeral Director, Cremationist, Desairologist and Reconstructive Specialist. I specialize in the toughest of the tough, hardest of hard cases of traumatic death cases. I also am known on social media as “Cold Hands” and host YouTube channel that is quickly gaining momentum. It is an educational channel that produces death education content for families. I host guests on my notorious Red Sofa. Funeral professionals and families are invited to talk in a comfortable and warm environment about death, dying and the macabre. My IG is dedicated to embalming and embalming education for families and professionals. Every Sunday, followers join me for my embalming tip of the week. All @coldhandshosts.
I am known as an all-around service provider in the beautification of the deceased human body. I not only have extensive training in post mortem reconstructive demi-surgery I also am a makeup artist and nail technician and skilled at post mortem hair restoration and styling.
I am most proud of the modern techniques I have devised most notably the “No Wax Torres Technique” for hard case hair restoration and the modern funeral home management courses that I offer. They are truly one of a kind in my industry and challenge the industry standard as to what families really want from funeral service providers.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Alternative options for families such as green burial and cremation/aquamation will continue to rise and the future of funeral service is definitely female. More than half of mortuary science grads are women currently. Up until about ten years ago, the funeral industry has been male-dominated.
- Website: www.nxtgenmortuarysupport.com
- Phone: 4804330045
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @coldhandshosts
- Facebook: NXT Generation Mortuary Support
- Twitter: @coldhandshosts
- Other: follow me on you tube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtY7H-ofko71-MNcskiEDFw?view_as=subscriber
all images are my own