What It Is...
A FinTail Fusion is a hybrid silicone and fabric swimmable mermaid tail for men, women, and children of all ages who desire something more elaborate than a spandex tail, but can't quite justify the expense of a full silicone tail. The Fusion is custom-made to your specifications. Sizing, colors, tail and fluke styles are all configurable through our website.
Why It's a Promising Idea...
Let's face it. As ethereal as they are, a silicone tail isn't the ideal solution for everyone. For a child or a less experienced swimmer, they can be a bit cumbersome. For many of us, they're simply too expensive. Even the lower cost, mid-range options available to prospective customers, such as neoprene, half-silicone, etc. may be outside of many budgets.
But to me, what really makes a silicone tail spectacular is the amazing, hand-sculpted, ornamental tail fluke. The fluke, coupled with decorative dorsal and ventral fins, bring a tail to life in a way that nothing else can--turning it from functional swimwear to a work of art with the flick of a graceful fin. My hybrid concept retains those beautiful aspects of the tail, but will reduce the overall expense by replacing the silicone body sheath with a vibrantly printed fabric. This will allow me to provide visual detail and texture while significantly reducing cost and weight.
How it will work...
The FinTail Fusion is comprised of two basic components: the Fluke, and the Tail Sheath.
Step 1: Choose Your Fluke
Using our interactive website, you choose a fluke style from the designs available. My flukes are made from an excellent quality, heavy duty Dragonskin silicone, which encases a commercially manufactured monofin. If I meet my primary goal, I will create additional fluke designs on various types of professional monofins. That way, you can choose the fluke that works best for you!
Step 2: Submit Your Measurements
You would then enter your measurements for a fitted lycra (spandex) tail sheath. One might say that stretch fabric is fitted by definition, but take it from a costumer--it can always be fitted better. These measurements will take into consideration the length of your body, your individual shape, and additional specifics that the standard S-M-L range doesn't address. The more accurate the measurements you provide for me, the better your tail will fit.
Step 3: Choose Your Scale Pattern
Once you've chosen the shape and size of your tail, you'll be able to choose a printed scale texture. The website will give you a variety of scale patterns to choose from that will range from whimsical to realistic. Here are a few initial possibilities, but if my funding goal is met, the website will provide many more options.
Step 4: Paint Your Tail
You won't need to be an artist to paint your tail! My interactive website will allow you to apply combinations of colors, gradients and motifs. Maybe you want stripes, or spots, or both. Subtle colors, earth tones, rainbows, or monochromatic. It's all up to you!
Step 5: I Get to Work!
Your leg sheath will be custom printed on a swimsuit quality 4-way stretch spandex in your size, with the patterns and colors you've chosen. Your hand-crafted silicone fluke will be airbrushed to your specifications.
The Result: A One-of-a-Kind, Swimmable Mertail Made Just for You!
Great for Adults, Great for Kids
Due to the modular nature of its construction, the FinTail Fusion mertail is particularly well-suited for growing merkids! No parent wants to purchase a full silicone tail for a child that might grow out of it in a season. The FinTail Fusion is a great choice for children because...
- It has a much lower initial cost.
- The children's monofins I work with fit ages 6-12 (approximately) up to an adult woman's size 7.
- The Fusion's tail sheath is made from a four-way stretch fabric that will accommodate growth, and can be inexpensively replaced and used with the same fluke again and again.
- For convenience and safety, the tail can be quickly and easily removed.
To make this into a viable business and meet a consistent demand, I need to have certain assets in place.
Studio Space: Adequate space for sculpting, silicone molding, painting, and sewing on a business scale.
Web Development: I have high expectations for the interface to order your tails. I want something that works smoothly, intuitively, and without any glitches.
Materials: Mold-making equipment and materials, silicone, commercial monofins, fabric, etc.
Labor: I can't do it all! I'll need to hire professional web designers, and assistants for sewing, molding and painting.
Advertising: I'll need proper equipment for underwater photography, models, ad listings and travel expenses for trade shows.
Shipping Costs: Believe it or not, these things don't fit in standard size boxes...
Development with Your Input
My primary goal includes the making and testing of three new fluke designs, in addition to the one I've already made. (The "Naiad" fluke.) I'd also like to work with different types of professional monofins to provide athletic as well as decorative options.
Another exciting possibility is to create dorsal and ventral add-on fins to make your tail even more exotic and unique. The more money I raise, the more options I can provide, but what to make first?
That's where you come in.
Be a part of my Mertail Think Tank!
With even a minimum level of Kickstarter support, you get a voice. As production ramps up, I need to know what my customers want. Your feedback will guide the types of flukes and accessories I develop next.
Frequently Asked Questions
I've already received several questions on the project. I'll be updating my FAQ section regularly. Check it out if you're looking for answers or clarification.
Due to the custom, hand-crafted nature of this product, it's difficult to make concrete predictions. However, I should be able to meet the following timeline.
If I meet my primary funding goal, the website will be ready to accept orders on the initial product offerings by no later than May of this year, which should allow me to deliver FinTail Fusions with the Naiad fluke in time for the summer season. Additional fluke styles may take a little longer, because what I make will be dependent on feedback from backers, and will also require testing before they can be sold.
If I exceed my primary goal, additional designs and accessories will be made available on a schedule and scale proportionate to the excess funds. In other words... as quickly as I can, and hopefully in time for the holidays!
All designs and content copyright © 2017 Rae Bradbury-Enslin
Risks and challenges
Considerable materials, construction, and stress performance obstacles existed during the prototype development phase. However, with the proof of concept successfully completed and tested, the only remaining challenge will be my ability to scale up to meet unexpectedly high demand.
Of course, this would be a welcome problem for me to solve! My funding tiers include earmarks for expanded facilities, equipment and staffing to address that concern.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)