By Liz W.

Most parents hire a clown or a magician for their kid’s birthday party. Thanks to Atlanta Girl Scouts Hannah P., Olivia P., and Claire R., a new party entertainment trend is emerging for parents who want to go above and beyond: mermaids. That’s right. Mermaids.

These three Atlanta area Girl Scouts Ambassadors turned the mythical creature into a successful business venture that revamps an average party into an undersea dream. What gave them this idea? How do they do it? I got the chance to learn about the ins, outs, ups and downs of “mermaiding.”

Lime Green Giraffe: Describe your mermaid business.

Hannah: The Mermaid Experience is basically a party business, but with an added twist! There are mermaids! Basically, we are hired for around 2-3 hours to swim around the pool as mermaids with the kids from a birthday party, who are usually around ages 5-8. We swim and play games (Mermaid Says, Swim through the Hoop, Find the Jewels on the Ground etc.) for about an hour. Then, usually the mermaids “transform” back into humans (hopefully with no kids seeing us) and help the party moms pass out food and cake. Then, we normally do face paint and temporary tattoos for the kids, and that’s it. 

LGG: How long have you been running your mermaid business?

Olivia: Five years.

LGG: How did you come up with this business idea?

Olivia: When I was in 5th grade I was in love with mermaids, and I stumbled across a youtube video that describes how to make your own mermaid tail. I convinced my mom to let me buy fabric and make one, and when it worked, I made one for my sister and my friend, too. We knew we wanted to start some sort of business venture, but we weren't quite sure how to do that. We toyed with the idea of selling or renting mermaid tails, but quickly realized we wanted something more memorable and personable. It wasn't long before we sat down to have a discussion about the possibilities of a mermaid business, and the idea of the mermaid experience was born when the three of us started talking about the different themes children's birthday parties had. We all instantly loved the idea and the possibility that we would get to bring to children the joy we'd always had concerning mermaids.

LGG: How did you get it started?

Claire: Once the idea was in place, the three of us had to learn how to run a business. With the help of our fabulous mermaid mother (my mom), we learned and grew through plenty of trial and error, eventually creating a website and shooting a fun promo video. Eventually we were able to set up a trial party with the child of a family friend, and it took off from there.

LGG: Has it always been just the three of you?

Claire: For the most part, yes. We made the tails, came up with the ideas, and put it all into action. However, a friend of ours, also a mermaid fan with her own tail, would occasionally help us at parties where only one or two could attend.

LGG: Do you envision this business expanding in the future?

Olivia: I would very much like to see the Mermaid Experience continue to grow and expand in the future. However, with college looming ahead, it's easy to see how we might not have enough time to invest in the business in coming years, or that all three of us might not be in the same side of the U.S. once we leave for college. That being said, the connections we have made in community only leave room for more growth, and so I hope that we will be able to continue in the future to support the Mermaid Experience and find ways in which it can grow.

LGG: What are your future plans for the mermaid business?

Olivia: In the future, we would like to not only increase our venues, but also to look into possibly doing other sorts of parties besides birthday parties, as well as diversifying our costuming. For example, for a party last year we went as fairies instead of mermaids to tailor to the customer. As well, we are thinking of hiring another mermaid to help out when our schedules get busy, and we are currently in the process of creating mermaid T-Shirts (and possibly other merchandise) which will be for sale on our website later this year. With the money made from the business, we are also interested in creating higher performance and more realistic tails for the parties, to help enrich the experience for all the children.

LGG: What obstacles have you overcome in conducting your mermaid business?

Hannah: Working as a mermaid is pretty simple, with few obstacles, but like every business, we do encounter some. The biggest obstacle I would say is learning to be flexible. When we first started out, we had a set schedule for exactly when we were going to do each activity and how long it was going to take etc. What we have all learned is that, particularly when working with kids, you have to be flexible schedule-wise. Unexpected things will happen at a party, so not everything will go according to plan, and since we’re working with kids, they tend to get distracted pretty easily, so some things might have to move quicker, and that’s ok. Being flexible is one of the most important things to remember when being a mermaid at these parties. 

Claire: In the beginning it was hard to just get it started. But once we had some parties lined up, it was a lot easier. One of the biggest parts of running the business was learning to take responsibility for everything. Emails, Phone calls, Advertisements, Publicity, Thank you notes, crafts. It was intimidating, but now that we've been working on it for almost five years, it's gotten a lot easier.

LGG: What makes it fun?

Claire: For me, everything. The gasps of "MOM! That's a MERMAID!" When the kids get into the pool, letting them sit in your lap and brush their hands against your fins with awe. Playing games, and laughing with the girls, as well as spending time with my mermaid friends. The money is nice, but it's not the reason I ever started doing this. I love swimming and being in the water, and being a mermaid has been a dream of mine forever. It’s the combination of all of it that makes it such an incredible job for me.

LGG: What is your most memorable mermaid experience?

Hannah: MY most memorable mermaid experience would have to be when we all had a float in the Dunwoody 4th of July parade. It was an amazing, exhilarating experience with everyone staring at us, and in awe of us. All of the kids and even some of the parents were amazed by our mermaid tails, and when we looked at them, it seemed that they had never seen anything so magical. During the parade, we even passed a little red headed baby who was bawling his eyes out, but when we passed him, the baby stopped crying and just stared at us with amazement. It was the best feeling in the world.

Claire: Probably the best thing that's ever happened in my opinion was going to a rather large indoor party. There were a lot of girls there, and many of them were older, but they all believed 100% that we were real mermaids. After the party was over, one of the older girls ran over to her mom and begged her to let the mermaids come to her party. Her mom said, "Well, the Mermaids live here in Dunwoody. That would be a long way to go." And she looked at her mom like she had just said the most ridiculous thing ever, then scoffed, "No Mom. The mermaids live in the ocean. Duh."

LGG: What Girl Scout norm does your entrepreneurship exemplify?

Hannah: It exemplifies responsibility, as when we are doing these parties and being mermaids, we are responsible for making sure that the kids at the party have fun, and that the party goes well, in addition to trying to make sure that none of the kids hurt themselves. Running this business requires a lot of responsibility.

LGG: What skills have you learned while “mermaiding?”

Olivia: What skills have you learned while “mermaiding?” Mermaiding of course requires learning how to swim with a monofin, but more than that, it has taught me a lot about communicating with people (parents and children) and the importance of attitude when working. It has also helped build my work ethic, as, since it's a business which I helped found, it's very important to me for it to continue to grow and do well, and that's just not possible if you don't invest yourself in it 110%.

Hannah: The main skill I’ve learned while mermaiding is communication. In order to run our business, we have to be able to interact with the parents to figure out party details, the kids who we are playing with, the party planners, and our advertising outlets, like the Aha Connection, and magazines like yours.

Check out The Mermaid Experience online at

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