A KELTY couple have created an online selling platform to help artisan businesses survive in a post-pandemic world.

Neil and Annie Dawson, who both have backgrounds in the creative industry themselves, were inspired to help handcrafters when they witnessed how difficult it was for them to sell their products.

The husband and wife team had already been supporting art and crafts businesses through their online directory Art Craft Finder for the past six years.

But when the pandemic hit the couple came up with the idea to set up online shopping website Rtzanz – a way for members to sell their products in a digital marketplace.

Neil, 60, a former professional photographer and engineer, designed the website himself which has taken almost a year of hard work to achieve.

Annie, 63, told the Times: “I was an artist myself and we met through my artwork so we’ve always had an interest together in this area.

"Some years ago we decided that it was quite hard for artists of any description to get found and from there the directory was started.

“That’s built up well over the years but then lockdown closed all craft events and galleries – anywhere artisan businesses would sell.

"I just thought, what are all these people going to do?!”

After just a few short weeks, Neil and Annie created their unique Virtual Artisan Makers Markets which has proved a big hit and been well attended by both makers and buyers.

But it was Neil who thought of going a step further by creating a website where people could buy their members products.

Annie added: “I don’t think we realised how long it would take!

"There was a lot to learn and our members helped us out by testing the website.

“Neil came up with the name Rtzanz as we wanted to make it unique.

"We’ve built up the sellers to around 60 now but they are all UK-based shops.

“We’ve been in to tap into our social media followers too as we have about 5,000.

"It’s just great that we can offer this service to people.

“Artists were desperate and they were never going to survive if there was nowhere else for them to sell.”

Members are given an annual charge to sell their items on Rtzanz and are allowed to display as many items as they want.

“There aren’t many competitors, we sell totally handcrafted items where nothing is mass produced,” Annie said.

“Everything on the site is made by an individual maker and they’re all vetted so people know they are going to get something good.

“We want to be more approachable so if someone is needing help we will take our time with them.

“People can also get lost in the bigger sites but we don’t want loads of people selling the same thing.

"We want to give everyone a chance.”

You can find out more and view what's on offer at www.rtzanz.shop.