A 28-year-old from Cwmbran who suffers from a chronic pain disorder has made the final of the National Young Trader of the Year.

Leah Kelly founded Malfie & Cro in 2021 as a coping mechanism for her condition, as well as out of a love for crochet.

Having learned to crochet at 18 after being taught by her mother, Mrs Kelly then dabbled in the craft on and off for a few years before being diagnosed with fibromyalgia at 22.

Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes unexplained pains in all areas of the body. Sufferers can feel very tired, have trouble sleeping or have memory problems. 

She chose to name the business after her beloved dog, combining it with the craft that has become a “huge part” of her life. “The business has gone from strength to strength, and I couldn’t be happier with how it’s going,” she said. “This craft has helped me find a purpose in life again.”

Having already been commended at the Swansea Young Trader Regionals and been named Young Business Person of the Year 2023 at the Torfaen and Monmouthshire Business Awards, Mrs Kelly has shown she is well-deserving of her place in the final.

South Wales Argus: Leah has already won numerous awards at local eventsLeah has already won numerous awards at local events (Image: Leah Kelly)

She has already won her local heat of the Young Trader Awards, held in Merthyr Tydfil earlier this year, but now must face 95 other traders to be named National Young Trader of the Year.

Mrs Kelly says getting to the National final for Young Trader of the Year is “an honour”.

She said: “Attending markets has allowed my business to flourish, and for that to be recognised by getting to the final is amazing. No matter the result, it has encouraged me to constantly improve my stall set up, my products, and the customer experience.”

As something so personal to her, Leah creates each of her toys with passion and dedication to her art, with the quality of the toys being a specific point of pride for her as a professional. They are all UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) tested and certified, which means they are suitable for all ages, young child or adult.

South Wales Argus: Some of Malfie & Cro's products on saleSome of Malfie & Cro's products on sale (Image: Leah Kelly)

The final will be held over two days between 25-26 August at the Waterside Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon.

If you would like to get in touch with Leah or find out more about her products, you can visit her social pages on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, by searching for Malfie & Cro.