Good Buy, Bad Buy: Maryrose Monroe, owner of the Johnny Loves Rosie Mail Order Fashion Business

The best pounds 30 I ever spent

When she steps into her pedal-pushers, Maryrose Monroe feels "all that" - in other words a real babe and on top of the world, which can't be bad when they cost her only pounds 30.

American-born Maryrose, 37, is owner of Johnny Loves Rosie, the hip London mail-order business, and says that she has been a fan of pedal-pushers since she bought a pair for the first time when they were the latest thing in the Eighties.

"I have always loved that look. They are casual, comfy and good to wear in the summer instead of shorts or dresses." She explains that she's a "real slob", happiest in casual gear. "I like the detail on them and the little slit at the side. They are nothing amazing, but they look great and I have worn them to death."

Her business, which takes its name from her parents, was, however, founded on very different principles. Set up six years ago, it has grown from a small business based in Maryrose's Hampstead flat to a thriving company with an office in Brick Lane, and all on the back of button covers for city slickers.

For the uninitiated, a button cover is literally that. The idea is that you take a tired shirt and transform it with differently themed covers for the buttons. Maryrose started off by selling these button covers, for about pounds 15 each, door to door at various offices throughout London, and they sold brilliantly.

The business took off from there but, fortunately for fashion pundits, button covers are a thing of the past and it's tiaras, floral flip-flops and dragonfly hairclips that make up this year's more glamorous accessories.

The worst pounds 10 I ever spent

MARYROSE WAS on holiday with her family in Italy when her eyes fell upon a three-foot black-and-white photograph of the Ponte Vecchio, and she thought: "I'm going to get this poster and I'm going to frame it to remember this moment for the rest of my life".

The poster cost pounds 10 and the frame pounds 150, but with a flat full of overflowing boxes of artificial flowers and numerous other Johnny Loves Rosie essentials, the picture remained out of sight until recently rediscovered.

Maryrose, who moved to the UK eight years ago, says she has wanted to own her own business ever since she was a little girl. Today, Johnny Loves Rosie is extremely successful, and, thanks to its expansion, her flat is finally shot of everything work-related, leaving her free to hang up her Italian picture.

Things did not go to plan however. "It was on the wall a total of 30 days," she sighs, "and now it's a thing on its side on the floor, and I ask myself: `Why did I buy that?' "

Impulse buys are easily made when you're on holiday and feeling sentimental, but Maryrose is clearly disappointed with herself for what she sees as a momentary lack of judgement. "I pride myself on not doing stupid things like that and not falling for tourist traps."

Looking at the picture now, Maryrose thinks it looks tacky, like something that everyone who went to Florence brought back. She compares it to "going to Piccadilly Circus and buying a red bus, a piggy bank and a policeman's hat".

For mail order items, Johnny Loves Rosie can be contacted on 0171-247 1496

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