By James Cozzarelli
The super-successful, adorably hideous, Ugly Dolls originated more than nine years ago at Parson School for Design in New York City by long-distance lovebirds, David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim.
Following a Visa expiration, Kim returned to South Korea. Horvath sent love letters signed with a quirky little, love-born monster that was later named, Wage. Kim created a stuffed version of Wage and sent him to Horvath as a holiday gift. Horvath displayed this apron-wearing monster everywhere he traveled. Eventually, Wage crossed paths with Eric Nakamura, owner of the Asian pop culture store, Giant Robot, who agreed to sell 20 dolls.
The dolls zipped from store shelves and Nakamura quickly ordered a new batch, this time, it was Wage’s loyal buck-toothed best friend, Babo. He too sold out in a matter of moments.
To date, there have been over 1 million Uglies sold all over the world. Even many celebrities have gotten into the mix, from Snoop Dogg--who’s been seen with the short-armed magician, Ox--to Sasha Obama--who has Babo’s bird buddy attached to her backpack.
Ugly Dolls have bridged the gap between standard stuffed pal and hip, indie collectible. Some posh trendsetters even use Ugly Dolls to accent the décor on couches and furniture.
A total of 10 new Uglies will be available soon: including Pointy Max, who's afraid of blank paper and Nandy Bear, a motivational speaker who loves to give hugs. The two most recent additions are the cake-loving, Tutulu and Jrumpy, the three-eyed, baked-good fanatic. Keep your eyes open, as there are limited-edition variants and rarities as well.
You may find yourself asking the same question I asked myself, how do I pick an Ugly to come home with me? My advice is, let them pick you! Picking an Ugly Doll is not entirely unlike picking a dog or cat, just browse…the connection will be there if its meant to be. I can attest to that as I currently have the classic, long-armed Abima holding down the fort in my apartment when I leave for work each day.
So which Ugly Doll fits your style? Let us know in the comments or in the forum.
™ ® and © 2010, Pretty Ugly, LLC, Sun-Min Kim and David Horvath. All Rights Reserved.