This month, we're chatting with Jen Palmer of Brides Do Good, an ethical and sustainable bridal brand based in London, and introducing our bespoke wedding collection in support of the charitable efforts.
What are you known for?
It’s important to me to make a difference, in the lives of the people I love and in my work – in how I spend all my time. It’s been a deciding factor in the jobs I’ve chosen, which are all focused on helping social impact organisations to grow. I’ll help a friend at the drop of a hat, although the pandemic has taught me to spend more time on myself too. I also have a very strong sense of adventure and love exploring what the world has to offer. When people ask me what I’ve been up to recently they generally expect a creative answer!
Last person you sent a card to and why?
My 91 year old Nan. She’s fairly isolated so I try and send her bits and pieces in the post regularly. She has learnt to text and uses her iPad, but I think there’s something so special about receiving physical post that you can hold. It allows us to feel more connected to the sender and I know it’s the highlight of her day.
Go-to karaoke song?
Bonnie Tyler, Total Eclipse of the Heart. My girlfriends and I loved this song so much when we were at university that we spent two weeks making our own music video for it, and it gets resurrected at every wedding! I suspect we spent more time on that song than we did our degrees.
Weapon of choice - fountain pen/sharpie/pencil/biro?
I love a refillable pencil, they remind me of school and I like the faint rattle they make when I’m writing, it’ definitely my go to when I’m scribbling furiously. I switch to ink when I’m writing letters or cards though – I like to think the recipient may take me more seriously that way!
Digital diary or paper diary?
Both! Which is terribly confusing, and means I have to work twice as hard to keep up with where I’m meant to be. I love the feeling of flicking through actual paper, but these days most people send calendar invites via phone! It’s a bit of a risky strategy! Conflicting appointments is not a rare occurrence for me.
Have you ever sent a love letter?
My first love lived in Canada. We had two diaries and during our time apart we would write in the one we each had, and then swap them when we reunited. It was comforting to be able to read back over each other’s words when we were separated. The impressions made by our own hands in the paper felt like a connection. The relationship didn’t last, but I look back on those diaries and smile.
If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be and why?
A Christmas Tree! I love Christmas. I like to spend time choosing the right card for everyone I care about, a thoughtful present, and pretty wrapping. It’s such a wonderful time to be with the people that mean the most – and to really spend time thinking about them. I can’t wait for Christmas this year. Is it too early to start listening to Mariah?
Describe the colour yellow to someone who has no concept of this shade.
Yellow is the colour when the sun hits your face on a Spring day, and warmth spreads throughout your body, waking your limbs after an English winter. It is the colour of laying, face upturned on the grass, when a bee buzzes past and someone is cutting grass in the distance. It’s the colour that seeps into your skin and turns your forearms tan and puts freckles on your face.
What is your spirit animal?
A lion! During a difficult time in my life I adopted ‘little lion girl’ as my mantra, and it helped me get through it. I had a wonderful personal trainer at the time, Britt, who would chant it back at me when I wasn’t feeling my best. It helped me visualise courage, even in the face of vulnerability and hardship, and put one step in front of the other. I have two kittens now – two little lion girls racing around my house!
If you could write a letter and receive a reply from anyone (dead or alive) who would you write to and why?
Oscar Wilde. So many of the most brilliant quotes reused today originate from his books, and I think a letter from him would be littered with acerbic pearls of wisdom. I’d love to hear more from his fascinating brain. If I could have a second I’d write to my teenage self, I think once we hit our thirties we could all be useful fairy god mothers to our younger selves! In the words of Wilde I’d tell her ‘just be yourself, everyone else is taken’.
What was the last gift you gave someone?
I sent a rude keyring to my friend who is about to have her second baby when she needed a bit of a boost. I can’t repeat what it said, but it made her giggle and now she can carry a little piece of our silly, shared humour with her wherever she goes!
Are you a keepsake-er or a recycler?
A keepsake-er for sure. I feel so guilty when I throw anything away that has an attachment to someone I care about, it certainly presents a problem for my storage space! Recently, I’m learning how to use a sewing machine so I can mend and alter things myself, and actually turn my old clothes into new creations to wear again. I think we all have a responsibility to lives carefully, and to incorporate sustainability into our everyday choices.
Would you rather have the ability to be invisible or have the power to fly?
Definitely fly. I’ve spent most of the past 18 months of various lockdowns wishing ‘if I could just be in (insert sunny country here)’. If I could fly, I wouldn’t need a plane, or Boris to tell me where I could go! My best friend moved to Vietnam at the start of the pandemic and I’m desperate to see her, so that would be my first destination. Perhaps then I’d fly south every winter!
Desert Island meal?
I’m sushi obsessed. I’d have to eat it quick before the sashimi got hot in the desert sun, but I have no problem with that!
What is your star sign?
If you could only wear one colour (apart from black and white) for the rest of your life, which would it be?
Forest green. I have red hair and blue eyes so it works well with my skin and my hair, and I’m wearing it right now so I’ll stand by my current outfit!
Dress up or dress down?
Can I be awkward and say a little mix between the two? Growing older has made me realise that dressing for yourself is the only thing that matters. My clothes support me in what I’m doing and what I need that day. Sometimes I need to feel powerful and confident in ‘strut your stuff’ boots and a striking dress, other days I’m comforted by soft materials, or cheered up by a bright colour.
Only available from R&J as part of our ready to wed line, we have designed a bespoke range to benefit Brides do Good. 10% of all sales of this range will be donated to the charity.