top of page

smArt Talk: An Interview with Hayley Belisle of Hayley Ann Design

This is the last of the smArt Talk series for now, but I hope you've had a chance to read them all--I've learned so much from each of these incredible artists and I have been so humbled and grateful that they have each taken the time to answer some questions for me (and you!).

Out of all the women I've interviewed, my background most closely matches that of Hayley. It's been so amazing to learn from a variety of backgrounds and remember that we all have our own paths--many times they're not linear.

Hayley is a licensed artist with a line of fabric at The Textile District, coloring books available through Amazon, and a beautiful Spoonflower shop. She's fun, amazing, and hard working and I'm so glad you get to hear from her.


smArt Talk Interview with Hayley Belisle of Hayley Ann Design

Can you tell us about your background and how you first became interested in design?

Ever since I was little, I have always spent my time either outside or making whatever my creative brain could come up with. From beading, to sewing, to making a fort over the creek, to photography…I have always loved making things. The things I would make though, were always tangible and became a product that typically had a use, I never really enjoyed art (as in drawing, painting, etc). I live for the tactile experience. The idea of art absolutely sounded great, especially since having two young kids, it seemed way more accessible. I started dabbling in watercolor when my oldest was 6 months old, but I still wasn’t super into it UNTIL I found surface pattern design many years later. It hit me that making art could, in fact, lead to a physical product and I was sold.

Tell me about your art practice–what got you started, what tools or techniques do you use, what makes your work special?

These days I have gravitated a lot more toward the iPad (going back to that accessibility factor) or a pen and paper. While I started out with water color, I found I enjoy the control of a pen and paper a bit more. Typically I will sketch up an idea on paper and then either trace it or recreate it in Procreate, and then finish it up in Illustrator. Scanning in plants to use in my designs also feeds my plant obsession and has been a lot of fun!

smArt Talk Interview with Hayley Belisle of Hayley Ann Design

What would you like to see your designs on? Can you tell us why you chose to focus on this industry in particular?

As far as what I would like to see my designs on, there isn’t really “one” thing in particular. I have really enjoyed seeing my designs on fabric, and I have also had a few other products made such as journals. The experience of seeing my own designs on anything is really a thrill.

What do you find the most challenging about being a surface designer?

For me the most challenging part of being a surface pattern designer has been keeping my head down and not being worried about all of the people that are better than me and all of the absolutely stunning work that is already out there. It’s so easy to get caught up in that and for it to keep you stuck. Also, having patience to stick with it even when I feel unnoticed or ignored, that is tough.

What’s your favorite ‘me-time’ or ’self-care' activity?

While gardening and manicures don’t go very well together, those are things that I love to do to take some time for me Another thing I do, that I think has contributed to my creativity while designing, is to continue making things. Over the years I have never stopped making random projects that excite me ( just ask my husband ) the latest being leather bags. Leather bags is by far the most challenging project I have ever completed, and yes, even harder that the fort over the creek..

If you could go back and tell yourself one hot tip or piece of advice when you started out what would it be?

Don’t ever doubt your dreams. Pursuing them will not always look how you pictured, but they are important so never give up on them. There will be times when it feels like you aren’t making progress, and that’s ok. As long as you keep going you are growing even if you can’t see it yet. Down the road you will zoom out and realize where all of those little, consistent actions have taken you. Also, being yourself is the secret sauce.

smArt Talk Interview with Hayley Belisle of Hayley Ann Design

Two truths and a lie: go!

  1. I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do

  2. I have lived in Alaska and Georgia

  3. I tried out for America’s Got Talent

(Note from Lisa: Make sure you have your guess ready--I'll put the answer at the bottom of the post)

What’s the best advice you have ever received?

I recently saw this posted by @allikdesign on Instagram and it has really stuck with me - Dream. Do. Repeat. It is so simple, but that is the great part, because I tend to overcomplicate things. Keeping this at the forefront has really kept me moving forward. I am either DOing, DREAMing, or REPEATing that simple process.

As someone who has a tendency to try to figure everything out before starting to the point of moving on to the next thing before I even start, this has really helped me focus on one dream at a time. And I don’t just mean a broad dream such as - I want to get licensed, I’m talking I DREAM up a product idea or collection idea, then I DO that before I start dreaming up anything else. I definitely write down other DREAMS that come up, but the simplicity of this has helped me to stay focused on completing projects instead of getting stuck in the dreaming phase.

Let me tell you, you can DREAM all day every day, but it’s the DOing, no matter how slow, that is going to fulfill those big dreams you have.

smArt Talk Interview with Hayley Belisle of Hayley Ann Design

Finish this sentence: Wouldn’t it be cool if...

Wouldn’t it be cool if we could all do what we love/are good at and not have to worry about money.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned from your work?

I have learned that things don’t come fast or easy. Something I have always struggled with is patience. Through this journey I have come to realize that for most of us it takes a lot of consistent effort. It can be really discouraging. I have also learned that to keep going you have to value your work and understand the importance of it. Not just the importance it holds to you, but the importance it brings to the world. Just because it hasn’t gotten where you want it to be yet, it won’t ever get there unless you keep going. And most likely it just hasn’t landed on the right eyes yet.


Thank you so much, Hayley! I've enjoyed getting to know you better and learning from you. So what was the lie? If you guessed that the lie was that Hayley has auditioned for America's Got Talent, you were right!

{For the record, I was wrong.}

You can find more of Hayley's work here:

Instagram: @hayley_ann_design

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Related Products

bottom of page