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Founder of Cricket boutique loved by WAGS says store was ‘lucky to survive lockdown’

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The Liverpool Cricket fashion store owner has shared the secret to her store’s 30-year success, but admits the lockdown made the boutique endearing to WAGS ‘vulnerable’.

A high fashion go-to in the city that first opened its doors in 1991, Cricket was put on the map by Coleen Rooney and other WAGS—football players’ wives and girlfriends—who were rarely photographed without a bag from the shop in the early 1990s.

Two decades later, the store is still standing, having survived the pandemic despite not having an online presence, causing smaller stores to go under.

Owner Justine Mills, who opened Cricket with her partner Gerry Mannix, told the Sunday Times that she had kept the store afloat during difficult months – often by supplying goods herself.

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Justine Mills and Gerry Mannix, the duo behind Liverpool’s Cricket Store, loved by local and visiting WAGs. Justine said the store was lucky to survive the lockdown without its own website

Thanks Coleen!  The future Mrs. Rooney, pictured, put the shop on the map in 2003 when she was photographed at the age of 16 with a Cricket bag.  She is still a regular shopper

Thanks Coleen! The future Mrs. Rooney, pictured, put the shop on the map in 2003 when she was photographed at the age of 16 with a Cricket bag. She is still a regular shopper

Fan: Vogue editor Edward Enninful has been a 'great sounding board' for the entrepreneur

Fan: Vogue editor Edward Enninful has been a ‘great sounding board’ for the entrepreneur

The fashion entrepreneur also revealed that she is a longstanding 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.

Speaking of her northern clientele, Mills applauded their fearless nature, saying, “Liverpool girls don’t worry about making mistakes because they think, ‘Well, if it doesn’t work, there’s always next weekend’.”

She admits she was lucky to have survived the lockdown without a website.

“I have broadcast groups on WhatsApp, so when new deliveries come in, I send photos to all my customers and they come back to me with orders,” says Mills.

She added that during the height of the pandemic, she and her partner Gerry would be driving around delivering orders as it was the only way they could operate.

The store is now working on its very first website, which should launch this fall.

Cricket was put on the map by Coleen Rooney when she was photographed with a bag from the shop at the age of 16, around the same time her then-boyfriend Wayne Rooney, also 16, made his international debut for the England team in 2003.

This brought an influx of glamorous WAGs to the store, making it their go-to for designer happy rags.

In the early 2000s, stars including actress Jennifer Ellison flocked to the store to get their hands on designer clothes

In the early 2000s, stars including actress Jennifer Ellison flocked to the store to get their hands on designer clothes

Speaking of that era, Mills said her shop was photographed daily by paparazzi during the 2006 World Cup.

But even as the media frenzy has moved on, the store has maintained its cult following, thanks to Mills’ salesmanship.

The owner said she enjoys focusing all her attention on the customers who visit her store, exhausting all their wishes.

And while she still sells designer clothes with dazzling price tags, Mills, who comes from the working class, said anyone can be a potential customer and not have to feel like they have to look a certain way to be well served in her. store .

Football still brings customers who flock to the store on match day, be it from Ireland or London, or any other Premier League club.

The store's signature bags were regularly pimped out in the early 1990s, when WAGs like Coleen Rooney or Alex Gerrard, pictured in 2007, were out shopping

The store’s signature bags were regularly pimped out in the early 1990s, when WAGs like Coleen Rooney or Alex Gerrard, pictured in 2007, were out shopping

She said Coleen Rooney was still a customer and came regularly with her family, including her four boys, and said it was fun to follow her journey.

As a young girl, Justine said that she liked to go shopping with her father and was already interested in fashion.

She met Gerry Mannix when she was 15, when they were both working in retail. At the time, Justine planned to go to college and become a journalist or TV researcher.

The store opened as a menswear store in 1991, when Justine was just 17 and later introduced women’s clothing. In 2019, a few months before the coronavirus pandemic hit, they moved to a larger store in the Metquarter mall.

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