“I love woodworking, I had never done it before I started Pahiki. It was jump into the deep end, on the job training myself. Honestly, through YouTube,” says Cortney Gusick, Pahiki Eco-Caskets Founder.

Cortney Gusick wanted to make a difference after dealing with her father’s end of life battle with pancreatic cancer.

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“We sort of came to this natural conclusion as a family of why would we bury this steel thing in the ground? So, through that process and really researching and investigating how we could have a more eco-conscious end for my dad for his eco-conscious life, we came across a place that does something very similar to what we’re doing now,” says Gusick.

Four years ago, Gusick quit her job in the high-tech industry to start Pahiki Eco-Caskets in Waimanalo.

“We just use salvaged trees. That is defined as trees that are intentionally removed so we don’t harvest or poach trees ever. It’s especially critical for us here being on an island of course, to not only be decreasing our dependence on imports but to be leaving a very little light, gentle touch on the earth here that’s so precious and so vulnerable,” says Gusick.

It takes her about three days to finish a casket which is priced anywhere from $2,000 to $4,300 depending on the wood.

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“It’s the most environmentally friendly option across Hawaii, hands down. Our supply chain is completely locally sourced, locally crafted, and locally buried. We have caskets for burial as well as cremation. The one thing that I do want to add, that we don’t often talk about is that we have a keiki casket program. It’s an open revolving fund on our website. Families, corporations, etc., will donate to the collected fund and are able to provide keiki caskets and urns to families for just one dollar. So, it subsidizes the cost of the materials and labor, so it decreases the burden for families that have lost young children,” says Gusick.

For more information on Pahiki Eco-Caskets, visit their website.https://www.pahikicaskets.com/