I have a tail... to tell.
Hey, you! I know your secret. Those human feet and boring lungs can't fool me, you also belong under the sea, don't you? And you came here looking for a way to live your best mermaid life whilst stuck on land? Well, you came to the right place! Welcome to Merpola.
My name is Toby King and I make things for us. I make clothing and accessories. I design illustrations and prints, and I write about stuff I think you'll care about. Nothing makes me happier than creating things inspired by the sea and raising awareness for causes affecting the ocean. I celebrate and protect the waters and everything that lives beneath the waves.
Merpola began in 2015 whilst I was living in London. It was just a bunch of ideas scribbled in a notebook; to use my passion for the sea and my untapped creative energy to build a community who also believe that it's better down where it's wetter. I took the notebook and dreams to The Prince's Trust, who encouraged and supported me to build the business plan. I then threw myself into the deep end, studying, creating and preparing for a 'Dragons Den'-style funding panel which led to winning a small business loan to buy fabric and equipment with... and that's when Merpola was born! :)
A: That's not a question, but hello!
Q: What is Merpola?
A: Merpola is an independent creative label and online boutique that creates and sells stuff made by me, paying homage to pop culture, weirdos, nautical mysticism, forward-thinking and oceanic hedonism. And fish.
Q: Why that name? And how do you pronounce Merpola?
A: The name is made up, a mix of the words 'Pola' (a family name) and 'Mer' (meaning "of the sea"). You can pronounce it any way that you like, but I say it like 'MUR-POH-LAH'.
Q: I'm a MAN and I only want to buy MENs' stuff!! None of your stuff is for me?
A: Nope, my stuff is for everybody. I purposefully make unisex/non-binary/all-sex things that everyone can enjoy. The cut and fit of the t-shirts, for example, means that anyone can wear them and still look smashing. The only requirements for a Merpola tee are having two shoulders and a neck.
Q: That's so weird?
A: So is gender tbh, and so is making people feel weird about their choices or identity. If you like it, get it. Proudly queer over here, if that's an issue you're probably on the wrong website right now :)
Q: Where are you based?
A: Merpola started off in London, spent some time in sunny Brighton, and is now in the West Country of the UK. I work from a studio that's right by the seafront!
Q: How do I find you on social media? I would love to follow you.
A: Cheers! At the top or bottom of this page you should find icons which lead you onto various social media platforms. I'm especially fond of our little (but growing!) Instagram community, definitely look for me there first.
Q: Do you accept Paypal?
A: Yep! Merpola accepts Paypal, along with Shopify checkout AND Apple Pay, all of which are extremely secure.
Q: How secure is this store?
A: Like I just said, extremely secure, you've got 99 problems but this website isn't one. You can read more about the security stuff here.
Q: How long will my item take to get to me?
A: Generally speaking, I try to get items created, labelled and ready to despatch ahead of time, so within 1-3 working days it'll be sent off and your order should easily be with you within a week or so of clicking 'pay now', especially if you're also UK based. It can take several weeks for your parcel to find its way to somewhere far away from me like New Zealand, please be patient if the postal service is being rubbish. More information can be found on the Shipping & Returns page. If you haven't received your purchased item within 28 working days, please contact me (Toby) via email so I can investigate.
Q: One last question: has it been fun interviewing yourself?
A: It's been a bit stressful tbh.