CRYSTAL RIVER (FOX 13) - As a young boy, on a trip with his grandparents to Weeki Wachee springs, he saw them for the first time.
“I was bitten by the mermaid bug,” Eric Ducharme recalled.
And that's when Ducharme knew he was meant to live a life making undersea dreams come true.
“I’m known as the Mertailor and I make mermaid tails for men, women and children -- all over the world, of all ages,” he continued. " Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, China. You name it, we ship it there."
To some it may seem a bit silly, but for others it's a serious investment. Some of Ducharme’s custom creations are highly prized and can sell from between $1,000 to $5,000.
In the beginning, his methods were modest but his ambitions were big.
“When I was a kid, I used to do everything myself, from start to finish. But as Mertailor has grown, there is departments for specific things to happen. I have an entire line of seamstresses and designers."
Now with a team of workers by his side, Ducharme has become the tail-master to a legion of underwater acrobats, like Haley Smith.
Haley didn't start out to be a mermaid, but after trying one of Ducharme’s custom creations, she was hooked.
“His work is beautiful,” she exclaimed, showing offer her shimmering appendage. “This is gorgeous."
For Haley, being a mermaid isn't a pastime, it's a way of life. And she's not alone.
“We'll have mermaid meet-ups and stuff like that where everybody comes together and gets to meet each other and it's a really positive community because not everybody's coming from the same background,” she offered.
Ducharme has made custom tails for everyone from Lady Gaga to Disney to those inspirational mermaids at Weeki Wachee.
Even some men are getting in on the act.
"We do make tails for men,” Ducharme confirmed. “I mean, how do you get mermaids without mermen?"
Ducharme believes what matters the most is being happy with who you are.
"Be yourself. Do you. Do what makes you happy and don't care about what anybody else thinks about."
LINK: To see more of his work, visit www.themertailor.com