You know how proud I am to proclaim that I’m imperfect. Yes, over the years, I’ve come to own my imperfections and get more and more comfortable with who I am. This is why I’m thrilled to be introducing you to a wonderful project and asking your support for it.

Perfect Reject

Perfect Reject was invented by artist Nina Salerno when she rescued an abandoned toy and recreated it to reveal a surprisingly poignant vulnerability. From that unexpected insight came the understanding that what we think of as imperfection can actually be a source of strength and joy. This vision, which aligns with Nina’s artistic study of impermanence, has propelled her efforts to create unique sculptural pieces that blur the distinction between art and toy. Since launching PERFECT REJECT®, she has gained recognition through sales to private collectors as well as outlets such as the MOCA Store, l.a. Eyeworks, and Fallen Fruit.

“I always like to say that imperfect means that I’m perfect, you’re perfect just the way we are,” says Nina. “With Wonder the Vegan Wolf, I wanted to create a character that seems like a contradiction, but really reflects the need to be ourselves even when we have to stand apart from the pack. And from that conviction, we can come together by accepting rather than rejecting our differences.”

What inspired this project?

“One day I found a box of discarded plush toys thrown out from an estate sale. The toys looked so vulnerable, rejected and abandoned. Something motivated me to take them home to my studio and turn them into something else. It struck me that they still had value, even if someone else had failed to see it.

I created my first toy and loved the final result – by being a little odd and different, it was distinct, not flawed. I called it a “Perfect Reject,” and it was that particular creation that started my journey of compassion and empathy through play. When I shared it with some friends, they loved the idea too. I received requests to make more, which I did. Pretty soon I was making dozens of Perfect Rejects, and I realized that what I liked about them was really resonating with others too, so I decided to turn the idea into a business.”

What do you hope to communicate?

“As humans, we often react to diversity by labeling the things that make us distinct as “imperfections.” They’re not, and when we celebrate our diversity rather than condemning it, we foster joy, strength and empowerment.

As I work to expand Perfect Reject from one-of-a-kind art pieces to a line of fun and affordable toys, I’m building on this idea. My first mass-produced toy, Wonder the Vegan Wolf, is (as the name implies) both a wolf and a vegan. That’s pretty different. And he’s a little odd-looking. He’s unusual, but the world is a better place because of it.

My hope is that this principle of belonging will inspire compassion, courage and empathy – things that we can all use more of. And as I’ve worked to expand Perfect Reject, I’ve myself been inspired by others. Many have written me about how a Perfect Reject brightened their day, even when their circumstances weren’t very hopeful. Some of these letters are shared on the our website, and it’s experiences like these that I hope to continue making possible with my toys.”

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Wonder the Vegan Wolf – A Perfect Reject

A Kickstarter campaign launched on February 16, 2015 will raise funds to take PERFECT REJECT out of museum stores and into the retail market, while engaging vital social causes. The retail collection will begin with Wonder the Vegan Wolf, a new character designed to raise awareness about wolf welfare and vegan advocacy while embodying the PERFECT REJECT® philosophy of compassion and diversity. Funds raised will support manufacturing in large enough quantities to offer Wonder at retail rather than collector prices. (Collectible art pieces can sell for as much as $450.) With 10% of every plush toy sold donated to Wolves Offered Life & Friendship (W.O.L.F.), a wolf sanctuary and educational non-profit, the new PERFECT REJECT® retail collection will make it easy and fun to support a great cause.

Celebrate imperfection and difference as a source of joy, strength and empowerment.
Imperfect means I’m perfect/you’re perfect – just the way we are.

nina r salerno

Nina Salerno the creator of Perfect Reject

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Back the Perfect Reject Kickstarter Campaign now!
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