Getting To Know You: Ross Peet, managing partner, Yes&Pepper

Ross Peet

Business Matters caught up with Ross Peet the managing partner from ideas agency Yes&Pepper to find out what was the inspiration behind the business and why it is essential to enjoy what you do on a day to day basis.

What do you currently do?

I’m a partner in a London-based ideas agency – Yes&Pepper. We help brands from start-ups to blue chips build their business through ideas and marketing, turning the traditional client-agency relationship inside out by allowing clients to become part of the creative process and enabling them to enjoy real ownership of their projects.

The brands we work with, including Disneyland Paris Direct, Sky, Hive to name but a few, enjoy a more inclusive, collaborative, engaging experience which focuses on creativity that sparks an emotion, a community or a way of life for the consumer.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

My business partner and I have always believed in the power of ideas; ideas that make us jump out of bed in the morning, ideas that make us scared of just how big they could be or what they could do. An idea sent us to the moon and back, so why should we attempt anything less?

If I was to sum it up, ‘Yes&’ is the cornerstone of our business. We put optimism at the foundation of how we work because building on fresh and new ideas is so much more powerful that cutting them down before they’ve had a chance to show their potential.

Starting from the concept that ‘the simplest idea is a lazy notion’, we facilitate the building of ideas through an inclusive approach, celebrating leadership and the value of joint work.

What defines your way of doing business?

I’ve always had a belief that ideas can come from anyone, at anytime, from anyplace. But having, creating and delivering ideas is really hard work. So I have little time for the rubbish and politics that a lot of businesses get embroiled in. I prefer to be up front and transparent. As a company we work with people who we enjoy working with – we don’t mind an ego, but we prefer an ego that’s inclusive. Ideas are precious, so we’re not.

Who do you admire?

Tough one. There’s not one person I would call a favourite but those who have taken an idea and seen it through… Elon Musk x 3; Ed Catmull and his dream of computer animation that led to Pixar; Coco Chanel; Victoria Beckham, who dreamed of being bigger than Hoover – as a brand I’d argue she isn’t far off.

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

I would have trusted my instincts and been a little more fearless earlier on. I’ve learnt that when faced with a choice, choose, stick to it, then push it to the max. When we started out and there was just five of us, we had one goal: to survive. Pulling in one direction made life easier. It’s simple to forget as you grow and bring more people in, that eventually that goal/need disappears and new goals are needed. We set new goals but we didn’t take new staff on a journey every day, leading to different teams and people setting their own hierarchy of importance and agendas. If I could go back nine years, then I’d have started out with a firmer eye on the future and made sure all our energy was firmly aligned to reaching that vision.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?

The saying that ‘You start a business with optimism of success and run it on fear of failure’ is all too true. My advice would be to enjoy it more as it’s easy to get lost in the day to day. Be proud of the fact you’re doing something a lot of people dream about but don’t have the courage to do, play to your skillsets and trust your gut (it’s like becoming a father for the first time – everyone wants to tell you how they raised their kid and how you should raise yours the same way) and finally realise that time is a business commodity that has a value to it that’s just as important as your bottom line. You control it; use it wisely.