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Success stories

Conwy-based businesswoman wrapped up in export success

Lucy Hay

From a small craft stall in Llandudno, to major distribution deals in the Middle East, Lucy Hay is proof that any business idea can gain international success with the right support.

Founded in 2017, Art on Scarves is a luxury scarf brand featuring hand-drawn designs by Welsh and British artists, handprinted on a range of cashmere, wool or eco-blend scarves.

What began as a small-scale business, appearing at craft fairs and trade shows across the UK, Art on Scarves has quickly developed into an international export business boasting six accolades in 2023, an annual turnover of £100,000 and over 250 clients worldwide.

It was thanks to the support of Business Wales that Lucy has taken her exporting dreams up a stitch, wrapping up a deal with SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, featuring four lines of eco-friendly scarves made from recycled plastic bottles, and closing a deal with the largest omnichannel retailer in the Middle East, The Landmark Group, in 2023 alone.

Lucy approached Business Wales in 2020 for additional management support and advice on exporting and was put in contact with International Trade Advisor, Anthony Kirkbride.

Anthony supported Lucy in applying to join the Welsh Government Trade Mission programme’s Export Market Visit to Abu Dhabi in September 2023. The market visit saw her spend a week in the United Arab Emirates attending a range of negotiation meetings with leading businesses across the Emirates supported by the Welsh Government and arranged through the International Trade Opportunities Programme.

Thanks to the support of Business Wales Lucy, who began exporting to the US during lockdown via online export site, was able to attend her first in-person trade events in New Jersey and New York in early 2023. After signposting Lucy to the Welsh Government’s Overseas Business Development Visit support (OBDV), Anthony helped Lucy to develop a strong application, based purely on her digital exporting portfolio and research of the US trade market to enable her to conduct a series of one-on-one meetings.

Discussing the support of Business Wales, Lucy said:

Anthony has been a solid support system over the past two years. Not only has he signposted me to incredible export initiatives that have helped me travel and trade worldwide, but he has helped me to develop targeted sales pitches, review contracts and secure my biggest development deals to-date. He also helped me to implement the Green Growth Pledge, which was a huge factor in securing my deal with SeaWorld Abu Dhabi.

Accepting Anthony’s invite to Explore Export Wales in North Wales was lifechanging as it was here that I met Business Wales’ export experts who, based in the Middle East and New York, opened doors for me to take my products global. If I’d never attended that first event, this year wouldn’t have seen me attend a British Business Group of New York event in a Penthouse in New York, with 75 of Britain’s biggest exporters all calling me ‘the scarf lady’. It was amazing.

It’s absolutely unbelievable that someone from a rural village in Wales can operate a business of this magnitude. It’s truly all thanks to the support of Business Wales.

Lucy operates Art on Scarves from her rural home, nestled in a small village in North Wales, where she employs a handful of local women who are either semi-retired or unable to work in traditional working environments, to handprint and package her scarves.

Lucy has also recently signed a new contract with a local HM prison where, in return for helping Lucy to fulfil international and online orders, inmates will be trained in  various skills like product development, printing, marketing, communication, numeracy and business that will be beneficial to them on release.

International Trade Advisor, Anthony Kirkbride, said:

Lucy reached out to Business Wales with a very successful business. She had a strong customer base in Scotland, built up from a range of trade events, and had begun exporting to the US digitally. With a background in international trade, I was able to help Lucy develop her knowledge of the trade landscape in the UK, US and the Middle East, and help her to get her products into these markets with the support of The Welsh Government’s funding. Lucy is testament to how, with a passion for networking, a true belief in their products and the right support, any business can be internationally successful.

Lucy’s next goal is to tap into the Japanese trade market, before travelling the world teaching young entrepreneurs, businesses and university students how to achieve international exporting success. Lucy’s international business success was featured in a new Sky Documentary which, aired in March, acted as the first step to educating businesses looking to increase their export potential.

Business Wales is funded by the Welsh Government. For more information and support to help your business discover opportunities, and to speak to a specialist advisor, contact Business Wales. Call 03000 6 03000, rydym yn croesawu galwadau’n Gymraeg, we welcome calls in Welsh or visit

Business Wales Helpline

03000 6 03000

Lines are open 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday.

Rydym yn croesawu galwadau’n Gymraeg.
We welcome calls in Welsh.