KayCee Militante's Etsy store is
ApplejackApparel or you can check out her other online shop at
When KayCee Militante's daughter became fixated on
mermaids at age 3, this 33-year-old Chicago mom of two knew she'd
eventually be getting her a mermaid costume.
So Militante, who works as a special education teacher,
looked online for a waterproof mermaid costume, but was shocked at
the prices: Most were about $250. She decided she'd make one for
$40-and that once she figured out how to do it, she'd spread the
love. And she did.
At JoAnn Fabrics, I found water-friendly materials, and I
traced Nina onto a piece of waxed paper and designed a tail to
attach. Soon enough we had a real live mermaid.
I posted Nina's photo on Facebook, and the response was
incredible. I then listed some on Etsy. When I would receive an
order from a customer, they almost always told me about a little
girl who dreamed of having a mermaid tail, and I wanted to make
that dream come true.
We just fulfilled our 2,000th order.
I take shortcuts-we have our groceries delivered and we
splurge on a weekly cleaning. My mom converted her finished
basement into a shop. I now have my fabric cut in a shop, and I
recruited a friend to manage the customer service, since it was
becoming impossible for me to do everything flawlessly.
Part of the reason we have had such a positive response is
because we are small, local and personal. I love knowing who a
product is for and hearing about their reaction or seeing pictures
A swimmable shark costume for my son Jack, who is 2. I'll
start selling them, too.
We love to spend a day out walking, and take a boat ride
from Ping Tom Park in Chinatown to Michigan Avenue.
Danielle Braff lives with her two daughters and husband in downtown Chicago.
See more of Danielle's stories here.
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