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.
Let us plan your weekend with the best family events and activities in Chicagoland.
Start the week right with deals, prizes, parent life hacks and more delivered straight to your inbox.
Need last-minute ideas for a weekend of family fun? No worries. We've got you.
Get the inside scoop on the people, places and things we are loving right now.
Resources, tips, inspiration and more for parents of children with special needs.
Score exclusive offers from our fabulous advertisers.