Lauren Hope is more than a survivor. She finds a way to thrive in the midst of challenge. Lauren Hope is the owner, designer, and artisan behind Hope Design, Ltd ®.
A military spouse herself, she carefully handcrafts unique military jewelry and accessories to honor our country’s service veterans and heroes. Her creations are available online, and in selected not-for-profit, military spouse mission-driven gift shops.
Lauren has created custom pieces for Anna Blanch Rabe & Associates, and I have given at least half a dozen as gifts to friends and family. I have long wanted to share an interview with the founder of Hope Design Ltd. – we are all in for a treat!
Tell us about Hope Design Ltd. Ⓡ
My name is Lauren Hope. I design and hand craft military jewelry and accessories. As a military wife and mother of two boys, creating jewelry is an oasis of sanity in our otherwise unpredictable military life!
Tell us about you? What attracted you to social entrepreneurship?
My mother led by example; giving to others at every opportunity. She taught me that this world is greater than oneself and that any chance to pay it forward is worth taking. I have always followed her lead.
I suppose that I was attracted to social entrepreneurship because it simply felt like the right thing to do. Owning my own business, I answer to no one but myself. As long as I can be at peace with myself at night, and know that I did the best I could possibly do, I’m happy. Nothing else matters.
So, instead of having a marketing budget for Hope Design Ltd., I make donations to Spouses’ Club’s non-profit fundraising events, and gold star families.
Also, at least 30% of every sale at the West Point Spouses’ Club’s gift shop and the Bragg Unique Boutique go to the non-profit’s Grants and Scholarship Funds. One dollar of every USMA sale goes directly to the Cadet Activities Fund at the Academy.
I firmly believe that by paying it forward, I generate word-of-mouth that’s more powerful than any traditional advertising.
Have you had a mentor or an influential person in your life who encouraged you?
I have been lucky enough to have several! It’s fair to say that I have had a tribe of creative, confident leaders within the military spouse community. I supported Elizabeth Boardman as she followed her dreams through the Milspo Project, radiating team spirit through the community. It was Lisa Daniels who encouraged me to persevere through a difficult career change and loss of individual identity. I landed firmly on my feet on the other side thanks to her. I have long looked up to successful military business owners Cameron Cruse and Lisa Bradley of R. Riveter, as they overcame difficulties within our military lifestyles and adapted to the demands of the business.
If someone is developing a social enterprise what one piece of advice would you give them?
The feel-good stuff: Give from your heart. Be authentic. Be proud. People have a sixth sense for disingenuous behavior. Give without reservations; give without expecting anything in return.
The honest and not as easy to hear stuff: While social entrepreneurship is wildly rewarding, it is still, in fact, a business. One does not stay in business long by giving too many things away. I say this because it took me a very long time to learn that it is okay to say “no,” even to great causes. I learned that if I didn’t set guidelines for donation requests and stand firmly by my boundaries, donations would quickly put me out of business. It doesn’t feel good to say “no,” but the way I see it, if I’m profitable this year, I’ll be able to give more next year.
What has been your greatest success?
I have had the privilege of commissioning several unique pieces for the first and second lady of the White House over the last few years. That’s pretty cool. However, my greatest success has been being a well-rounded role model for my sons. It is pretty powerful stuff to have them look up to me for all that I do. Someday, I hope to be an amazing person that my small children think I am.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Asking for help has been my biggest challenge both in business and in life. From the very beginning, military families learn that this isn’t an easy way of life. It’s forged into our foundation. We learn to do the impossible and to be strong in moments of difficulty. After 12 years of moves, multiple deployments, and life-changing events, I still struggle to ask for help.
How can people support your work?
Sharing is caring, my friends!
If you or someone you know be interested in Hope Design Ltd. military jewellery, share and shop the website www.HopeDesignLtd.com.
I have been honored as a semi-finalist in the StreetShares grant competition and I could really use your help. This grant competition is BIG, as in $15,000 to grow my business and hire more military spouses big! If I make it in the top 3, Hope Design Ltd. is guaranteed a grant. This is the only public voting round and I could really use your help.
Cast your vote for the StreetShares Foundation Female Founders Veteran Small Business Award! Your vote determines which finalists pitch live at the Virginia Department of Veterans Services virtual Women Veterans Summit and compete for a $15,000 grant from the StreetShares Foundation!
Scroll to the bottom, select my name and enter your vote. It takes only 20 seconds.
Pro tip: Subscribe to Hope Design’s email list for the inside track on bespoke pieces, sales, and events, sent in a monthly newsletter.
And don’t forget to add HopeDesignLtd@gmail.com to your contact list to ensure you receive my updates.