Conwy manufacturer set to hit £1m in revenue thanks to export strategy

Posted on 10 Jan 2024 by The Manufacturer

An award-winning North Wales manufacturer of prosthetic leg covers is on track to hit £1m in revenue by 2026 thanks to an ambitious export strategy supported by the Welsh government.

With a number of export distribution deals secured and several more in the pipeline, Conwy-based Limb-art, which designs and manufactures decorative prosthetic leg covers, is on track to double its international trade over the next two years.

As part of its international expansion plans, the company is eyeing significant growth in Europe, having recently signed a new exclusive partnership with distributors in the Netherlands worth £25,000 per annum.

The contract follows another deal struck earlier this year with Empire Medical which will become an exclusive distributor of its prosthetic covers to over 250 limb centres in the US. The deal will see Limb-art make over 500 leg covers a year for amputees across the US.

Founded in 2018 by former Paralympian Mark Williams, Limb-art’s prosthetic leg covers are designed and developed using the latest digital processes and are made from robust high-grade nylon, which can be recycled. The company currently works in partnership with the NHS in England and Wales to provide its leg covers to amputees in the domestic market.

Export sales account for 25% of the company’s trade, with its products sold in Australia, the US, and the Netherlands. Currently, this equates to £50,000 a year in revenue and the company forecasts growth of 25% year-on-year, reaching £1m in global sales by 2026, as a result of its export strategy.

With an estimated 1.5 million people undergoing amputations – mostly lower limb – around the world each year, the demand for prosthetic services is expected to double by 2050. Limb-art is working with health boards and insurance companies internationally to deliver its niche product to those who need it across the globe.

The Welsh start-up, which is run solely by Mark and his wife, Rachael, is now set to expand its global presence further, with prospective partners engaged in Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden and Ireland. The company also plans to take on new staff to support the expansion, who will help with shipping, documentation, packing and administration.

Mark Williams, Founder and CEO at Limb-art said: “Exports have continued to grow each year since the company was founded and in June this year, we actually sold more prosthetic leg covers internationally than domestically, which was a first for us. It’s been incredible seeing how exporting has already completely transformed our revenue streams and we can see how international sales could fuel our growth over the years to come.

Limb-art Founder Mark Williams and wife Rachael, with a range of prosthetic leg covers manufactured in North Wales

“Our exporting success has been fuelled by trust and believability. I created Limb-art as a result of my own body image issues around my prosthetic, which I’ve had since I was ten years old. I truly want to help amputees feel confident and I think this resonates with our customers.”

Key to Limb-art’s export success has been support from the Welsh government which has included feasibility studies for target markets such as the US, as well as on-the-ground support to locate potential distributors for its niche products overseas.

Looking ahead, the company hopes to target more business in Europe, which it sees as a key growth market, and plans to access further support from the Welsh government to achieve this, including research projects, subsidised market visits, trade missions and introductions to contacts within target regions.

Mark added: “Our exporting journey has not been without its challenges. Paperwork has been a particular difficulty for us when entering new markets as our product is so unique that it doesn’t appear on custom forms. The Welsh government has been instrumental in making it as easy as possible for us to get our products to our overseas distributors, saving us valuable time and energy.”

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