THE MEMORY COLLECTIVE
A SMALL BUSINESS WITH BIG PLANS
The Memory Collective was founded on April 4, 2019, serendipitously on the 8th anniversary of my beloved Aunt Pat’s passing. Right now, I operate out of my home in Irvington, Indiana, which is a little historical community inside Indianapolis. Though I have really big plans for the company, I can only do so much on my own right now. My primary mission right now is to educate families about oral storytelling and preserving their memories because I simply cannot manually document memories for everyone who needs them—but I can reach more people by educating! I want to reshape the way you think about memory preservation, how you document it, when in your life you should start thinking about doing that, and what memories you should consider including. Our mantra is “What is remembered lives on,” and even this is meant to provide a shift in mindset around legacy, heritage, grief, death, and rebirth. I believe this shift in the way we think about it will benefit every person it touches, from the individual to every existing generation from this point forward—in ways we cannot yet imagine.
KARA LONG | FOUNDER
Okay, there isn’t enough space here for a full origin story. But since you could be working with me directly, I want to assure you I’m a real, down-to-earth human being. So I’ll give you some bullet points. I’m a multipassionate entrepreneur with humble beginnings and big dreams not only for The Memory Collective, but also my other passions. I grew up in a little historical town called Irvington east of Indianapolis, and now I work out of my century-old childhood home with my husband, two cats, and two rescue doggos. When I am not developing The Memory Collective, I’m working on my fantasy fiction series, playing an instrument and singing, taking lots of photos and videos (mostly of my animals and of cool nature things), planning the details of our next travel destination, studying mindset, and learning something new every day. I’m a casual gamer, novice philosopher, and aspiring athlete (as in, I’d love to be athletic, but that’s a work in progress). I love watching basketball and football, and I’m a sucker for watching the X-games. I do what I can to fight for equality, human rights, conservation, and the planet. I strive to be a better version of myself every day. I have a BS in Music Technology where I studied digital music composition, music theory, and audio recording; a BS in Media Arts and Science from IUPUI in Indianapolis where I specialized in Photoshop and 3D modeling; and a lifetime of experience of being curious, kind, objective, and sympathetic. The people who know me best—or casually, for that matter—would tell you I’m super easy to talk to. So if you’d like to learn more about my company or working with me, please don’t hesitate to reach out!
WHY I FOUNDED THE MEMORY COLLECTIVE
I founded The Memory Collective to prevent what happened to me from happening to you.
What happened to me? The same thing that eventually happens to all of us–it just happened to me earlier than expected. When I was 12, my brother Brian died. Less than a year later, my dad died. The same year, my childhood hero Aunt Pat was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. Grandma Florence died when I was 17, Grandpa John and Grandma Josephine when I was 25 and 26.
Now, I can’t prevent your loved ones from dying. But I can prevent something else that people often don’t think of until it’s too late.
I was exposed to loss and grief and, though I didn’t realize it until much later, a different kind of loss. The memories I just assumed I’d carry with me the rest of my life of my brother and dad and aunt and grandparents–you know, because they were important to me–when I searched my mind for them years later, I was shocked to find that they were either gone, diluted, or homogenized. Guys, I’m in my 30s. This is not “old age” induced memory loss. This is just the natural process of aging. And it’s happening to all of us all the time, whether the people we love that we share those memories with are still here or not.
I thought about the memories I could have today–and, even more powerful, the voices I could still hear today–if my company had existed for my dad to record stories for me for after he was gone. I thought about what memories I’d have now if I’d recorded my memories when I was a kid, while they were fresh, and what memories my parents or grandparents might have passed down if they’d done the same. When I started talking to people about this issue, it became very clear that this was a widespread, almost universal tragedy in families.
I know what it feels like to lose people before you think you will, and to have memories of them become diluted, homogenized, or lost entirely. I understand why memories are such a precious commodity. Losing people is hard enough without also losing your memories of them. I want to help others avoid the senseless loss of those treasured memories. I believe my services are powerful and therapeutic, and that they can change lives. I saw the possibilities of how this service could help so many people in so many ways. And I realized I was uniquely qualified to help people do this with my experiences, interests, and skills I’d been honing my whole life. This was the career I never knew I wanted until it was upon me. And once it was, I knew there was no going back.