"Some kids want to grow up to become firefighters or superheroes."
"I wanted to be a merman."
Eric Jonathon Ducharme
Makings of a Mertailor
Haus of Mertailor
Some kids want to grow up to become firefighters or superheroes. Eric will tell you that all he ever wanted to be was be merman. Mermaids have been a part of Eric’s life for as long as he can remember. He grew up in the shadow of Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida’s most legendary roadside mermaid attraction. Eric became entranced by the beautiful gold-tailed creature that swam across the theatre windows, waving and blowing him kisses the very first time his grandparents took him to the underwater theater. He was no more than 3 years old. Visits to Weeki Wachee became a weekly adventure. It wasn’t long before everyone in the park came to know Eric. For his 6th birthday, Eric’s dad surprised him with a very special birthday party at Weeki Wachees’ waterpark, Buccaneer Bay. Sitting at the waters’ edge, eating his birthday cake, Eric was surprised by two glimmering mermaids as they swam up to greet him and wish him a happy birthday. They sat with him awhile, talking and giggling and sharing their stories about mermaid life with him. It was the birthday kiss on his cheek that sealed his fate.
Eric began making his owns tails out of anything he could find. From garbage bags and glue, to masking tape and the sheets off his own bed, it was not uncommon to find him somewhere wearing a mermaid tail. He sewed his first fabric tails with a needle and thread. After a few lessons from his Grandmother, Eric was soon using a sewing machine to sew his tail creations. At the age of nine, Eric attended his first mermaid camp at Weeki Wachee and finally got to swim in the Springs himself. This is where he met former mermaid Barbara Wynns, who gave him his first “real” tail. Barbara helped Eric get him scuba certified, and imparted to him all her secret mermaid knowledge. For years she picked him up after school, and often on the weekends, to take him swimming at the park. They remain very special friends to this day. It wasn’t long before Eric was performing as a merman, whenever and wherever he could, and wearing his own beautiful creations.
Eric was only 14 when he started his company making and selling fabric mermaid tails. He called himself “The Mertailor”. Because he was not yet old enough to actually work for Weeki Wachee, he often donated tails to them. Eric continues his business pursuits with the same undying passion that he did as a child. His desire to help mers worldwide accomplish their magical transformations with his realistic and beautiful mermaid tails has never waned. Known worldwide, Eric’s tails are recognized worldwide for their beautiful breathtaking beauty and whimsical designs. As he continues to experiment with new materials and designs Eric says “I won’t stop until my tails look as real as the fish swimming in our ocean reefs. I want to make my tails available to every aspiring mermaid and merman who dream of life in the sea just as I do”
Today, at the age of 33, Eric’s list of accomplishments includes magical tail creations he has made for a diverse range of clients from well-known personality Lady Gaga to Queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Mertailor mermaid tails have made appearances in movies, network TV shows such as Saturday Night Live, commercials, and music videos including Kerli’s “Ferral Heart” and T-Pain’s “I’m on a Boat”, to name just a few. Most recently Eric's story has been showcased in the Netflix documentary MerPeople. Premiers, grand openings and private events and much more have included Mertailor Tails in their programs.
But what Eric says is the most special are his everyday customers. Those men, women and children who dream about this curious and mythological underwater world as he has done for as long as he can remember. The excitement and happiness they experience when they excitedly open their package from Mertailor and see their tail for the first time.