Halifax Mermaids wants to make a splash with grant money
Above Watch: A unique Halifax business is hopeful a small business grant will help it expand beyond the waters of Nova Scotia. Julia Wong reports.
HALIFAX – A small Halifax company has an ocean of opportunity ahead of it after winning a small business grant competition.
The company uses mermaids with realistic and highly decorated tails to educate and entertain children and adults at birthday parties and corporate functions.
Co-owner Sean Norman said the new money will allow the company to grow.
“The $10,000 is going to be used to expand the business first of all by getting a tank and moving inland if we can,” he said.
Norman said Halifax Mermaids is a one-of-a-kind company in Canada.
“There’s no one else who does what we do,” he said. “We’re taking something that’s mythical and that a lot of kids enjoy and we’re turning it into something that’s a business.”
The mermaids entertain guests while also teaching them about environmental issues, such as plastics in the ocean, climate change and ocean acidification. The business has a mantra of “imagination, inspiration and information”.
Mermaid Victoria Pinsent, 19, started working for the business last month and said the allure of mermaids helps get the message across.
“We talk to the kids a lot about saving the ocean and making sure they’re putting the trash in the right places,” she said.
“Obviously we’re telling the kids we’re in the water a lot. I think coming from the someone living in the ocean, it packs a bigger punch.”
Mermaid Lindsay Macaulay, who has worked for the company for two years, said mermaids have a “wow” factor that grabs people’s attention.
“When we’re giving presentations about ocean conservation or whatever we’re presenting about, people remember it and learn about it,” she said.
“You don’t see mermaids very often. We don’t come up on land very often so when you do see them, you remember it.”
The company also uses the mythical creatures to inspire imaginations.
“Everybody is telling [kids] fairy tales don’t exist and that their dreams can’t come true. I think it’s a really good thing for kids to see us doing this and see that they can do it too,” Pinsent said.
“The ocean is very magical for people. We haven’t explored very much of it,” said mermaid Krista Hill, who started working for the company in July 2014.
“It holds a lot of mystery for us and the mermaid is one of those figures that could be hiding in the ocean.”