The Mertailor, Eric Ducharme
Did you ever dream of what it would be like to be a mermaid or a merman? Eric Ducharme, the CEO and creative force behind the Mertailor makes people's dreams come true. Eric is passionate in making the most realistic underwater experience for his tribe of 190,000 followers on Facebook and Instagram. The Mertailor has been the leader in supplying realistic, swimmable mermaid costumes, and his business in Lecanto Florida is growing.
Competitors from the US and China started chipping away at the business with similar products so Eric knew he needed to make changes. He reached out to SCORE mentors Kim and Jeff Janssen and over the last few years, the team has worked together to re-invent their product line to excite customers and maximize the profitability of the business. These changes led to a brand new and much larger facility in Lecanto Florida. It not only provides enhanced production capability but will offer clients the ability to experience life as a mermaid with 40’ aquariums to test new Tails!
In the Covid-19 pandemic, the Mertailor quickly converted their production into manufacturing facemasks. SCORE had access to popular patterns used in Asia and helped Eric navigate through the waters of available government programs and documentation requirements.
SCORE worked with the Mertailor to identify and prioritize growth opportunities to meet the dynamics of the marketplace using a Trend Analysis to properly assess the industry and competitors as well as a Product Portfolio Optimization tool to ensure sales, inventory, and profit margins were aligned. Eric developed an extremely realistic silicone tail called the “Spellbound Series”. The products are efficient to manufacture and more affordable than the current systems. The Spellbound tails can be custom designed and colored for the client.
To replace their existing line of fabric tails that used outsourced monofins, Eric developed a comfortable monofin called the “Fantasea”. This tail combined with a special fabric skin provides a unique experience at a great value to the client. SCORE helped file patents for these products after identifying the unique attributes of both concepts using a Prior Art Matrix tool. This information was used to draft the provisional patent applications.
Eric is also expanding his product line with swimwear, activewear, and accessories. Eric and his mother Candace have essentially reinvented their business to take a leadership position in this unique market. SCORE assisted by creating a cash flow model allowing the Mertailor to see how profit margins could be optimized with different mixes of products in the portfolio.