Mermaid Top Review 7: Merbella Silicone Ariel Top

Top #7 Merbella Silicone Ariel Top

Custom made.

Price:

$295.00 + $12.21 shipping = Total $307.21

Production Time:

  • Purchased 12/6/17
  • Email received with finished photo 2/17/18
  • Shipped 2/23/18
  • Delivered in Tampa, FL USA 2/27/18

Customer Service:

I responded to an announcement on Merbella’s Facebook page that she was accepting a few top commissions. I asked if she could make an embellished Ariel shell silicone top to match my Mertailor Spellbound tail. I received an email back saying she could with quote with the price.

I paid the invoice and gave some suggestions about what I wanted and a photo of the tail. Then waited. It took less than 3 months for Merbella to make and ship my new top.

I received and email with a final finished photo. Then received an address confirmation email. Merbella’s studio is located about 30 minutes I offered to come pick it up but they sent a tracking number right away. However, it took a few days for USPS to pick it up & scan it. It took a full week for the top to be delivered. I wish I could have just picked it up instead of waiting & stalking my post man every day for a week until it arrived. * I’ve learned that Merbella rarely (if ever) allows pick up but meeting locally for delivery is possible.

Quality/Durability:

The Ariel Shells are constructed with a very thick silicone. They are attached to a nude bra that is very soft and comfortable. It has black fishnet halter straps that have been cut to look tattered. The fishnet is a high quality and thick netting.

The paint is well done. I sort of would have liked to see a little more detailing around the contouring of the silver parts of the shells. I’m also a bit afraid of how the paint will hold up with wear. It looks like it could easily peal or be scratched. (NOTE: After 8 months of owning it and a few photoshoots later, the paint has held up beautifully! And now I love the paint job. It’s like the longer I have it the more I realize how perfect it is for me.)

It has several gorgeous embellishments. In the center is a silver star and there is a large pink tear drop crystal and several pearls and rhinestones. All well sewn onto the bra base. It also has plastic seaweed sewn along the bottom of front of the top.

One of my favorite parts are the silver scales that go along the sides of the top. These small details bring the top together as a true piece of art.

I have wore this only a handful of times for photoshoots both on land and in the water. These photoshoots lasted several hours and the top has held up very well.

Fit/Comfort:

The bra base is very soft and comfortable. The top has Seaweed embellishments on the bottom of the cup that initially were very painful and dug into my skin. I had to twist and move them around so they would lay outwards instead of inwards. Now it fits much better. I’ve also since lost some weight and the top fits A LOT better.

It fits just like a normal push-up bra. I am a 36B and this give fair/medium coverage with some cleavage.

Pros:

  • Gorgeous paint job. Looks like mermaid armor.
  • A lot of beautiful details in the workmanship
  • Unique one of a kind top

Cons:

  • I feel it’s a bit overpriced and it has a lot less detail then some of her other tops.
  • I’m worried about possible ruining it or it loosing some of the rhinestones. (This has not happened at all.)
  • Initially, it doesn’t fit me as well as I’d like but after I lost some weight it fits perfectly.

Lessons learned:

  • I wish I would have specifically asked for more silicone embellishments and no seaweed.
  • I LOVE Merbella tops!
  • I have very sensitive skin especially to plastic seaweed that comes into contact with my skin.

Unboxing

Photo from Merbella

Photo from Merbella

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Mermaid Top Review 6: Marine Magic Silicone Stingray Top

Top #6 Marine Magic Silicone Stingray Top

Custom made.

Price:

Part of a BOGO Black Friday deal. (x1 Silicone Wrap & x1 Top) $240 + $12 shipping. Total $252.

(Marine Magic Tops are usually $160-180 & wraps are $130-160.)

Production Time:

  • Purchased 11/24/17
  • Finished photo sent but I requested she make changes 12/19/17
  • Shipped 2/15/18
  • Delivered in Tampa, FL USA 2/20/18

Customer Service:

I had been watching Marine Magic on Etsy because I initially wanted another silicone gap/waist wrap. I hadn’t decided whether to try out Marine Magic or ask MerNation to make me another one (that I knew I’d like). When Marine Magic posted that they were having a Black Friday BOGO sale, I thought I’d give her a try.

The way Mermaid Kalynn makes her tops is that you can choose one main bra cover, an accent, and details. The color is custom & you choose the bra size. At first I didn’t know what to choose. I liked her top with a bra cover of a starfish but I was curious about the Vampire squid option. She said she had another customer interested in stingrays and suggested that. Since what I really wanted was the gap wrap, I decided to take a risk and get something that I normally wouldn’t consider and decided on a gray speckled stingrays with a seahorse accent and Starfish details.

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I ordered off of Etsy so all of our communication was done through that site. She kept me informed with updates and photos the entire way. She started off by sending me photos of the stringray sculpts. Then asked about eye color. We decided on pink to match my tail. She sent photos of just the sting rays & they were adorable. She even put little stars on them to match the stars on my Spellbound tail.

Then we talked and I kept mentioning that I wanted it to be simple and not too busy. I wanted the stingrays to standout as the focal point of the top.

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She allowed me to choose which direction the starfish faced. Then she suggested not putting the seahorse on it and I agreed. We decided just to add some pink & cream colored Starfish around the stingrays.

Once she was finished & it was ready to be shipped out in time for Christmas she sent me a final photo. Unfortunately, I thought there were too many Starfish and they just didn’t look like Starfish anymore. I told her my concerns and she was extremely understanding & even offered to completely redo the top. I loved those little stingrays so I asked if she would just try to preserve them but reduce the number of Starfish. I thought that maybe a different size starfish might fill it in better.

Again she sent me photos of the sculpting she did on another size starfish. Then she sent me photos of the layouts before glueing the starfish down.

The top was shipped out right away when it was finished. The top is super cute with two little stingrays staring up at me.

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She also included a little mermaid crown and extra Silicone Starfish.

Quality/Durability:

This silicone top is different from some of the other full silicone tops in that the silicone is very thin and floppy. However, it seems sealed together very well and the pieces are not pulling apart.

There is a thin layer of clear Silicone over the entire top including the nude fabric part of the bra that shows through (I’ll note that Mermaid Kalynn wanted to cover up all the nude parts but it was my request to leave them open.)

I haven’t wore it enough to see how it will stand up to a long day in the water.

Fit/Comfort:

It is a VERY comfortable top. The silicone is soft and molds to me nicely.

There is no push-up padding. For me the way this top fits (it may be because it doesn’t have padding) it gaps too much on the top for me to wear it as is. If I wear another bra under it it fits great. I’m going to try to play with adding some padding or sewing it onto another bra base to make it fit better for me because I really like the way it turned out and want to wear it more often.

I did try it out in my pool and the little stingray heads flop up and down as I swim. So cute!! It also might be the way I chose to orient the Rays. If they were turned another direction they wouldn’t do that.

Pros:

  • Very unique top
  • The stingrays are adorable and have the cutest little eyes
  • The pink and cream and white starfish are the perfect colors. They match my skin tone and my tail perfectly.

Cons:

  • This was a brand new sculpt from a brand new Silicone Top maker. It took a lot of conversation and communication to get a final piece that I was happy with.
  • The cup size doesn’t fit very well. I will need to layer it over another top or add padding
  • The silicone on the stingrays is very thin. It doesn’t give much shape or support.
  • The paint and construction feels a bit amateur to me. For the price point and the fact that it was the first time she made a stingray top it is great. In time Marine Magic has the potential to make high quality $200-$300 pieces but she isn’t quite there yet. (At least with the stingrays, some of her more current work looks gorgeous!)

Lessons learned:

  • It can be really difficult to speak up and let an artist know you are unhappy with a result.
  • Patience and direct communication is best when working with a new top maker.
  • Sometimes an artists vision and your vision are very different.
  • I’m glad I took a risk and took advantage of the BOGO sale to get this top. I don’t think I would have ordered it at full price.

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