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Setting up and getting started

Posted On: 5th July 2023

Let’s start at the very beginning….. A very good place to start.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to actually decide to go for it? I don’t mean to dream mindlessly about what you might do in the future, when the time is right, when the stars align. I mean to sit down, shake hands, take money from your bank account, create a joint account and say, hand on heart, “let’s DO this”. It is scary, right?

Sue and I had talked about our ‘shop’ for many years. In between raising kids, adopting animals, bickering with our husbands and renovating homes here on the Wirral we often spied premises that would make a good space for our ‘little idea’ of an independent womenswear store. I was living in Little Neston at the time and Sue had moved to the ever-lovely and charmingly rural Willaston. Over the years we viewed units in Heswall, Chester, Ellesmere Port and Bebington but none were ever quite right; too small, too dark, too roomy, too quiet. The ‘little idea’ got shelved. Again, and again.

Then, one day, we saw that the former estate agents ‘Hunters’ were closing in Neston and their brilliantly placed premises would soon be up for rental. Our first viewing, with the lovely Alana, made-up-our-minds. We were ecstatic. The unit was remarkable, lots of space, but not too much, wide enough for all our wares and yet not too wide to feel bare. More importantly, there was a walk-in fridge at the rear of the store because the shop had been a florist before it became an estate agent. Hurrah! A ready-made space for prosecco and Diet Cokes – my twin vices.

The ‘little idea’ returned. Returned with bells-on. What if we could create a store that would take its place in Neston and the wider-wirral community? An independent boutique that would offer the very best in locally-sourced products (like candles from “The End of the Avenue” ) and the most exquisite, sustainably sourced womenswear our finely tuned ‘apparel hunting’ noses could source. Sue and I promptly set about doing the things we do best with immediate effect.

Sue took on the total and utterly remarkable transformation of the former estate agents – she is a miracle worker because in her former life, her ‘big career’, she led teams of 200 people and ran factories producing vast quantities of breakfast cereal. Sue Byrne is quite the operator, let me tell you. This is how ‘Wardrobe at The Cross’ came to be in its pretty pink guise at 25A Neston High Street.

I took it upon myself to begin liaising with a multitude of desirable brands in the hope that we could offer a vast and colourful array of stunning pieces for our opening at the end of March 2023. We sensed that Neston deserved the very best in colour, texture, originality and yet we didn’t want to source products that would be too expensive or only wearable on special occasions.

Sue and I share our belief in the aphorism that ‘the best should not be saved for best’ so we delight in wearing the pieces from our wardrobe that give us the most ‘joie de vivre’ on a regular basis. Sue wears fabulous dresses each and every day – looks a million dollars too – and thinks nothing of sporting faux fur and heeled boots for the Pollards pub quiz. I like to sport the most maddeningly bright colours on the greyest of days and most of our friends think I am over-dressed for pretty much every occasion. I wear brightly-hued asymmetric sweaters as an over-layer for the gym and never hesitate to wear heels to take the bins out. Black is not really in my wardrobe repertoire although Sue regularly rocks black jeans and looks irritatingly stunning.

By the beginning of March 2023 we knew we could be ready. We had made a vast number of mistakes by this point – copper rails that bend, anyone? – and met so many wonderful human beings along the way. The simply brilliant ‘Jay’ who rose to every single challenge we set. The quirky and exceptionally good humoured Adam who created our signs for the storefront, forever known as ‘sign-guy’ & the long-suffering Caz who designed our logo and branding.

On the 31st March 2023 we threw open our doors – well one putty-pink door to be precise – and waited. With bated breath. And you came. You, our wonderful customers reacted with untold pleasure and joy to discover the store they had wanted for some time. Right in the heart of Neston, Wirral.

And so, we go on. Doing our best. Sourcing THE BEST. Offering advice, words of kindness and words of encouragement. It feels good to be Wardrobe at The Cross.