About And Hope Designs

Anna Hamill, owner and watercolour artist at And Hope Designs, a

Hi, I’m Anna Hamill and I run And Hope Designs, a small creative business in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

I live with my husband and our four children, who are a total delight but who keep me on my toes. They are at the age where they are very keen to help so your order will no doubt have been posted by a small human and possibly even stamped by one - please excuse any wonky sticking - they are learning to run a business and to have a good work ethic!

Why the name - And Hope Designs?

Anna Hamill Designs began sometime between November 2019 and February 2020 (it’s hard to pinpoint an actual date…) but in August 2020, as things began to take off, I had a bit of an impromptu change of name. Not me personally, my business I mean! It had been niggling at me for weeks, maybe even months that this business was not about me. Because it’s not. All we are, and everything we do is about Him. We are mere stewards. Jars of clay. My business is an outpouring of the gifts God has given me and a way to bless and encourage others as they buy prints and send cards to others (which is all I sold at the time). My mission and my vision were confirmed and even amplified as I listened to talks and Q&As by a wonderful Christian business mentoring group, which prompted a late night brainstorming session. “And Hope” came to my mind. I sat with it rolling around my head for 48 hours, and then came to Romans 5 in my quiet time on 20th August 2020. And there it was, confirmed. My mission is to use the gifts God has given me to make God greater as I write bible verses and epic quotes (I’m talking about you, Corrie Ten Boom!) and producing high quality cards with beautiful designs, provide excellent customer service, carefully wrap using materials that don’t pollute the Earth we’ve been given and are from a supply chain that cares for the people in it. This is not about me. This is so much bigger than me. I want to point to the Hope we have been given.

ROMANS 5:3-5
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, AND HOPE does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

So there we have it, And Hope Designs. I didn’t even need to change my logo, as it said “ah designs” - it has since changed to have the full word ‘hope’ in it, which I think is important, but it wasn’t immediately necessary. There you go, a small insight behind the scenes!

How did you get your mad skills?

I’ve been creative my whole life - it involved friendship bracelets, beaded jewellery and creating things from fimo as a child, creative journaling and upcycling my clothes as a teenager, and has evolved to a more mature style now I’m in my thirties. With lots of practice, I am now skilled in wedding and portrait photography (which I do in my other business, AnnaJoy Photography) hand lettering, watercolour painting, cards and small gift design. 

Why do you do what you do?

As well as a creative, I am a mother to four young children. Working outside the home was not going to be flexible enough, and my main work is caring for them.

I still feel the need to create and exercise my brain in an artistic way. I love to see progress and have a finished product, something which is not so frequent when looking after little ones, so doing something artistic was good for feeling like I’ve achieved something.

Of course, I achieve a lot as mother as well, its’s just over a longer timescale and the day to day can feel like I’m going nowhere.

I have been a photographer since 2012, but in 2019, we moved from the North-East of England to Northern Ireland, and I found out I was expecting our fourth child. Both those events combined meant I needed to have a good think about my photography business. I needed to do some marketing in a whole new location but had no time or energy to do it. So I put AnnaJoy Photography on hold, taking on work if people somehow found me, but not putting myself out there.

As 2020 rolled around, I found myself really antsy and needing to be creative. So I picked up my paintbrushes and began practicing watercolour. I then invested in an iPad and an Apple Pencil and practiced lettering. Bit by bit, I came up with some designs of cards that I thought would be a great encouragement for others to send, and so I decided to print some and pop them on Etsy. My Corrie Ten Boom quote card is what launched this whole thing. It was so popular, I had to get more printed almost immediately.

Then came lockdowns and restrictions, and it turns out pausing wedding photography was a great idea and making cards for people to send to each other while they couldn’t see each other was another great idea! Thank you, Jesus, for your impeccable timing in my life!!

So what does And Hope Designs make now?

These days, I have a large (and always growing) selection of cards for you to send to encourage others, to bring hope or joy or all of the above. I have birthday cards, Mother’s Day cards, Father’s Day cards, Christian cards, teacher cards, just because cards, thank you cards, Christian Easter cards, Christmas cards and a wide array of random cards if you ever want to tell someone they’re even more amazing than a dress with pockets or that they’re a good egg!

It is such a fun process, and I really love creating and releasing new products all made in the U.K., printed in small batches to reduce waste and designed with care and attention to detail

I also have a small selection of recyclable wrapping paper, some happy mail stickers, some postcard sets, a few notebook designs (with more planned) some A4, A5 and 12x12” prints and then I’ve diversified a little to make some letterbox gifts which include handmade soaps and wildflower seed packets. I also paint ceramic baubles at Christmas time. You can see all I make here!

What’s special about And Hope Designs?

Running this small business has now become one of the biggest joys of my life, and being able to help people share hope, comfort and love with others is such a delight. And Hope Designs seeks to be synonymous to beautiful and high quality paper goods and commissions, made in the U.K. with as little waste as possible, and excellent customer service and care.

I love to make your order feel special when you receive it - it’s not just a bog standard Amazon box, (and I make sure the box/envelope fits the contents - no tiny item in a giant box here!)

Thanks for visiting And Hope Designs - it's great to see you here, and I hope you find what you’re looking for in my shop - if there’s something you’d like, can’t see but think I could help with, don’t hesitate to contact me! I take commissions and love to hear your card and letterbox gift ideas and try to make them a reality.

Image of Anna Hamill, owner of And Hope Designs and mother of four in belfast

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