For anyone wondering, The Uncommon is a Libra.
Now 5 years old, like a real child, The Uncommon is able to discuss simple feelings and count to 10.
So, we sat down with Chief Uncommoners Alex and Henry to find out what they’ve learnt, where we’re going in the next 5 years, and, most importantly, what type of biscuit they are.
Let’s get to know you first, what’s your favourite part of the job?
Henry a.k.a ‘The Business One’: Problem solving and the unknown. I wake up to a new ‘emergency’ most days. This used to be my least favourite part of the job but now I secretly quite like it!
Alex a.k.a. ‘The Branding One’: Another one is hearing the lovely things people have to say about us – particularly at our pop-up bar in Covent Garden earlier this year. Not in an egocentric way, we’ve all worked so hard to get to this point and sometimes it’s nice to be able to take stock and soak up some love.
The Uncommon is 5 years old! What’s been your proudest moment so far?
A: Holding our little can for the first ti …. Nah, it's not going to be one of those cheesy moments. In April 2018, we were hand-delivering samples to a big festival in Bristol, we were told we had until 5pm to drop our first ever Selfridges delivery by 5pm. After 12 hours driving, we made it with 2 mins to spare. That has set the standard ever since.
H: Our first wine, first listing with Selfridges, there are so many firsts. But the proudest would have to be the first time I saw someone in a park drinking our wine (that wasn’t my mum).
And the most challenging?
H: Trying to stand up after 12 hours of grape picking in Burgundy. We did a couple harvests across France before starting The Uncommon. Thankfully, we were supplied with some spectacular (pain-numbing) wines at the end of the day.
A: Every day brings a new challenge. The biggest challenge is dealing with those challenges. Sounds cliché but it’s true!
Starting a business with your best friend must be intense, what one thing do you like most about working with the other?
A: I can be myself, good or bad.
H: Exactly, I don’t have to be anyone else but my true self around him. He’s seen the good, the bad and the ugly.
Very in sync. If you could have one trait from the other person, what would it be?
H: Planning and organisation. I rush into things, but Al is very measured and methodical.
A: Persistence. Henry is pretty annoying to the point that you end up just saying “Okay! What do you want?” It’s a good thing. He knows what he wants, and he goes after it.
What made you confident enough to jump into this together?
H: We had two obstacles at the start. First – convincing people English wine is good (back in 2017 it was still pretty niche). Second – convincing people that good wine can come in a can.
I had seen Al create brands for other people and I knew he could create something that would have people leaping over those hurdles. The majority of new Uncommoners buy our wine because it looks pretty. They then come back because it’s delicious.
A: Henry is a hardworking, motivated and a very intelligent chap. Like me, he’s happy to take risks and has a strong gut instinct. It’s good having a business partner that shares this mentality. If something goes wrong, at least we tried.
Looking forward to your 10th birthday, what would success look like?
A: Creating a working environment where our team are happy and love coming to work every day, together. Because if we have that then we will achieve far more than Henry and I have ever done previously.
H: In my old job, I used to wish away 5/7ths of my life. I loved Fridays and hated Sundays. Success to me is enjoying the week as much as the weekend (and I’m nearly there).
What’s the one event or partnership you’d absolutely love to secure?
H: Wimbledon! The Uncommon + strawberries and cream… COME ON! (That’s a reference to ‘come on Andy’.)
A: I’m a big sports fan so any football (100% Arsenal Emirates Stadium), Golf, Tennis or Cricket venues would make me unbelievably happy.
Moving onto the more personal… what’s the most recent photo on your phone?
A: My 2-year-old daughter (Matilda) eating a poppadom in the bath. Don’t even bother asking…
H: Ha, I was hoping it would be either my wife or son but sadly it’s the current fridge of a large customer we’re trying to get a listing with!
If you had to get on stage at the O2, what would your skill be?
A: [long, long pause] I’m pretty good at organising and tidying spaces. So, if people are willing to sit and watch me organise a small house on stage then I’m in. A cross-sectional one that opens like a doll house.
H: Play Titanic on the piano. Show stopper! Quite literally, people would abandon ship and the show would stop.
Finally…if you were a biscuit, what biscuit would you be?
A: Crumbs, this is a tough one. Probably a Digestive because I’m plain and simple. But reliable.
H: A Hobnob – it will take more than a stiff brew to break me.