SUNDAY TIMES - Meet the maker: Jennifer Bradley of Damn Good Looking
Sunday Times Decor By Roberta Thatcher, 2017-03-12 00:00:00.0

Meet the maker: Jennifer Bradley of Damn Good Looking

Damn Good Looking founder Jennifer Bradley says it was important for her to remove the brand from herself.
Image: Annalize Nel & Koos Groenewald

Jennifer Bradley's known for designing sleek mirrors and graphic textiles that are right at home in modern, minimalist spaces. We find out more

Mirrors and textiles aren't products you normally find being produced together. How did you end up choosing these?

It's an odd combination that came about by chance. I started off making mirrors and needed beautiful packaging for them.

I'm always drawing patterns and I decided that screen-printing my patterns onto fabric bags would be a good idea. Turns out it wasn't a good idea, but maybe I just needed an excuse to get started as the textile side of what I do came to life from there.

Damn Good Looking. What's the story behind the name?

In my head you say "damn good looking" with a strong American accent as you catch a glimpse of yourself in a mirror - it isn't meant to be taken too seriously.

It was important to me to remove the brand from me personally, so it was never going to be Jennifer Bradley Designs. It still gives me a kick watching people's faces as they see the name and smile or laugh - then I know they've got it.

The best thing about owning your own business?

Being able to pursue whatever ridiculous ideas I can come up with and knowing that I am responsible for its success or failure. The learning curve is incredibly steep, and I am constantly having to figure things out.

The biggest challenge?

I often feel like I have no idea what I am doing, which can be frustrating and even frightening at times. I have to remind myself that I am the grown-up in this business. There isn't anyone else who is going to wear the big-girl pants.


Talk us through your design process.

I am constantly noticing things around me and always have a sketchbook nearby. I will see something or draw a quick sketch that may turn into an interesting design immediately or may take months or even years to get there. Sometimes ideas are resolved quickly and sometimes they go around and around and are undefined for a while, but everything starts with a drawing.

Three homeware products you couldn't live without?

A great chair, a pile of books and a cup of tea, in no particular order.


A trend you're excited about now?

I am not big on trends as passing interests, but there does seem to be a movement towards caring more. About each other, about how we spend our time and about what we consume and produce. I think it is long overdue.

A local design product you'd love to own? 

Local design seems to be gaining momentum and it's hard to narrow it down to one thing. If pushed I would have to say one of Porky Hefer's nests from his Monstera Deliciosa series, or The Kassena Server by Dokter and Misses. You see, I couldn't narrow it down!


An international design product you'd love to own?

I would love an original Hans J Wegner PP503 chair. It is a beautiful object but, more than that, it speaks to everything that good design should be. It is timeless, it is refined, it is comfortable and it is exquisitely made.