The ins and outs of smashing the wine industry
Co-founder of NICE, Lucy Wright is well-versed in start-up founder life. Having started her first company Cuckoo straight of uni, we chat to Lucy about co-founding first jobs, and how the company have firmly situated themselves within the wild world of wine.
What was it like finding your first job?
Following graduating from Newcastle University, I launched straight into the startup world and set up a business called Cuckoo with my best friend from school which made on-the-go Bircher muesli pots which we supplied into Selfridges, Tesco, Waitrose and Ocado.
How did you get into the wine business and was it always a dream of yours?
Not at all! Following Cuckoo, I ran a consulting business for two years helping food and drink brands build their sales strategy in the UK. During that time I met my now business partner Jeremy who was also a consultant having left PROPER where he set up their international business. We decided we'd like to launch a food or drink business together. One week later I discovered canned wine in the USA and immediately became obsessed and knew it was a product I wanted to bring to the UK. I could imagine all of the different occasions one would drink it and it was absolutely something I knew I'd consume. I felt that wine was quite stuffy and old school and needed a bit of a shake up.
The wine industry probably feels a bit out of reach to a lot of younger people, do you feel NICE is challenging this?
Absolutely, we're here to make wine much more inclusive, less intimidating and more understood. We're not so much of the “loamy soil, charred herbs, pencil shavings, roasted hazelnut” and much more of the simple ‘Pale. Vegan. Dry.’
How can someone impress you in a job interview, do they need to love wine?
When it comes to a job interview you don't need to know lots about wine, liking wine would be a help but we're more interested in finding the right type of person. For us, that is someone who is a real self starter, a go getter, hard grafter, team player and someone who can take feedback on board really well. You don't need to be experienced in wine or consumer products, but you need to want to really learn and grow with our brand. We also love it when people think outside the box in interviews and do something a bit different, we're all about leading and not following.