What is the secret of Ugly Dolls’ success? It’s not just the handmade styles, or the gruesome, teethy cuteness. The real secret is that Ugly Dolls have captured an elusive toy market: dolls that boys like.
Think about it: when was the last time an eight-year old boy could be seen walking down the street with a doll clutched in the hands? Not an action figure, mind you, a doll.
The closest trend coming to mind here is Garbage Pail Kids, which were not even dolls, but trading cards popular in the 1980s.
Boys love Ugly Dolls for the same reason they loved Garbage Pail Kids: self-identification. The toys reflects back to them that being gross is part of being a boy. But Ugly Dolls go further, really capturing the essence of childhood. Practically every Ugly Doll is a happy-go-lucky young male who pretty much just wants to eat snacks and hang out.
Ugly Dolls are also clumsy, good-natured, and well-aware they are in an awkward stage. Also, for both Uglys and boys, girls are few and far between, and they all are brainy and somewhat sophisticated (comparatively speaking!). Sound familiar? It does to the thousands of boys who are proudly bringing their Ugly Dolls to show-and-tell.
It’s no secret that boys are called, almost on a daily level, “little monsters.” Ugly Dolls is a way for boys to own that label and find social acceptance. Just like Garbage Pail Kids, Ugly Dolls show boys that it’s okay that they are a little rough around the edges. And that they like snacks.