The owner of the Cricket fashion store in Liverpool has shared the secret of her shop’s 30-year success – but admits lockdown made the boutique beloved by WAGS ‘vulnerable’.
Cricket, a high fashion go-to in the city which first opened its doors in 1991, was put on the map by Coleen Rooney and other WAGS – footballers’ wives and girlfriends -, who were seldom photographed without a bag from the shop in the early noughties.
Despite having no online presence, the store has survived the pandemic two decades later.
Owner Justine Mills, who opened Cricket with her partner Gerry Mannix, told the Sunday Times she had kept the shop afloat during difficult months – often by delivering goods herself.
Scroll down for video
Justine Mills and Gerry Mannix, the duo behind the Cricket Store in Liverpool, which is beloved by local and visiting WAGs. Justine said the shop was lucky to survive lockdown without its own website
Thanks Coleen! The store was put on the map by Mrs Rooney in 2003, when she was photographed wearing a Cricket bag aged 16. She is still a regular shopper
A fan: Vogue editor Edward Enninful has been a ‘great sounding board’ for the entrepreneur
The fashion entrepreneur also revealed she’s a long-term acquaintance of British Vogue editor Edward Enninful, whom she met 15 years ago and who she says has been a ‘great sounding board’ for the store.
Talking about her Northern clientele, Mills applauded their fearless nature, saying: ‘Liverpool girls aren’t bothered about making mistakes, because they think, “Well, if it doesn’t work there’s always next weekend”.’
Mills acknowledges that she was lucky to be able to survive lockdown, even without a website.
Mills says that she has created WhatsApp groups to broadcast new deliveries. She sends pictures to all her clients and receives orders back from them when new deliveries arrive.
Mills said that Gerry and she drove around dropping off orders during the pandemic.
The store is currently working on its first website, which should launch in the autumn.
Coleen Rooney, then 16, was photographed wearing a bag from the store. This was just as Wayne Rooney made his international debut in 2003 with the England team.
This resulted in a large influx of fashionable WAGs who made the store their favorite place to buy designer glad rags.
In the early 2000s, stars including actress Jennifer Ellison flocked to the store to get their hands on designer gear
Speaking of that era, Mills said her shop was photographed by paparazzi daily during the 2006 World Cup.
Mills’ salesmanship is still a major reason why the store has remained popular despite all the media attention.
Mills said that she preferred to spend all her attention on her clients and fulfill all their requests.
Mills, a working class woman, said that while she still sells designer clothing at a steep price, they are not required to dress in a particular way to be successful in her store.
Clients still come to the store for football matches, whether they are from Ireland, London, or any other Premier League country.
The store’s distinctive bags were papped regularly in the early noughties, when WAGs like Coleen Rooney or Alex Gerrard, pictured in 2007 had been shopping
She said Coleen Rooney was still a client and came regularly with her family, including her four boys, and said it had been lovely to follow her journey.
As a young girl, Justine said she loved going shopping with her father, and was already interested in fashion.
Gerry Mannix was 15 when she met her. They were both working in retail. Justine had plans to go to university to become a journalist or a TV reporter.
Justine was just 17 when the shop opened as a menswear boutique. Later, it introduced womenswear. In 2019, just months before the outbreak of the coronavirus, the shop moved to a larger location in the Metquarter shopping mall.