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Five minutes with Mary Ann Rogers, artist and gallery owner

Tell us about your business

I sell original watercolour paintings, prints, cards, stationery, tableware and gifts. I sell paintings from my gallery, the Mary Ann Rogers Gallery in Northumberland, and through other galleries.

Why did you start this business?
It was a leap of faith. As a single mum with no income or qualifications, I decided to turn my passion for painting into a business. In 2009, I achieved the Fine Art Trade Guild award for ‘Best Selling Published Artist’.

How has it developed since?
For the first 10 years I managed every aspect, working ridiculously long hours. Now, I have three staff, including my husband. The growth of the business led to expansion, and I built a studio/office/gallery. This was a huge step, but it paid off. 

What’s the best thing about working for yourself?
Making my own decisions. I learn from my successes and mistakes. 

What’s the worst?
It’s easy to get away physically, but not mentally. 

What advice do you have for people starting a business?
Only take risks where you can afford to lose the investment. 

You recently had an accident. Did it affect the business?
I broke my ankle just before the biggest buyers’ fair of the year; the bone came through the skin. I had to make a lot of phone calls from my hospital bed to make the fair work for us. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done, but we came home with plenty of orders.