Why it’s Named Mermaid Walking Boutique

At my first event with Mermaid Walking Boutique it dawned on me that “Mermaid Walking” could possibly be a misleading name. Little kids would walk past the Airstream begging their parents to go in, thinking it was a mermaid toy shop. I heard comments like, “Is it all mermaid stuff?” “I’m not big into mermaids so…”

I came up with the name Mermaid Walking when having a boutique was just a dream and the dream never included plans to carry mermaid paraphernalia, so these initial reactions were quite unexpected. I suppose mermaids (and unicorns) have really been experiencing a moment of popularity over the past couple years but that’s purely coincidental. Quite honestly, I don’t really like seeing mermaid things everywhere. I much prefer to fancy rare things that are difficult and uncommon to find, like mermaid things used to be. But I digress…

Roughly a decade ago I was living on the coast in North Carolina. I spent a lot of time, like a lot of time, sitting on the beach daydreaming beside the ocean. I thought about mermaids, or rather the idea of a mermaid, more than is probably healthy for a 20-something single mother with adult responsibilities. In my mind a mermaid was the ultimate badass, so incredible that most people don’t even believe she exists. She’s irresistible but too smart and carefree to even notice how amazing she is. People have to call her magical or fairytale because they can’t comprehend how she defies so many odds.

One Sunday I was in the car with my parents driving home from church down Emerald Isle, a fairly stereotypical beach town. The road was lined with tourist traps, surf shops, and beach stores. You know the scene and all the typical store names. Staring out the car window I was bored with the predictability of the selection but inspiration must have struck because, “Someday I’m going to open a boutique called Mermaid Legs,” came out of my mouth. I thought the name was original and thought-provoking but my parents’ twisted facial expressions said, “Eeeee...” Without skipping a beat, “Or Mermaid Walking” flew out like I’d been debating the two names for months even though this was the first moment I'd ever thought of either. Confession: I’m often just as surprised as everyone around me by what I hear myself saying. But Mermaid Walking must’ve been more palatable and even induced a smile. My dream boutique was named.

She is a mermaid on dry land and the world is her ocean. J.IronwordThe idea of a mermaid walking has grown and expanded in my imagination for years since that car ride. I’ve strived to carry the spirit and qualities of a badass mermaid as I’ve moved away from the ocean to the mountains and traveled the country playing a business woman. Occasionally my anxiety gets the best of me and I feel I can’t breathe like a fish out of water; but a fish out of water can either be viewed as a slimy, flopping, helpless mess or a beautiful creature working to defy the odds—a mermaid walking. I think we all have some *mermaid (read that *badass) inside us and I want Mermaid Walking Boutique to inspire you to tap into yours more often.

Be so badass that people have trouble believing you exist.


  • Mary Jane Whyte

    Very happy for your success❤️your mom and I are soul sisters from Or Chiam and visited your Air Stream years ago in Denver❤️many blessings to you❤️loved your memorial on Salt of the earth❤️

  • Joyce

    Great story Ali. We are so excited about your dream come true! It deserves to be shouted from the rooftops! Many blessings and so much love 💕

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