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[Interview] A day in the life… John Stubbs, CEO and Founder YesColours

John Stubbs, Founder and driving force behind YesColours, brings a diverse and extensive background from various design-related sectors to his role. At the helm of this… View Article


[Interview] A day in the life… John Stubbs, CEO and Founder YesColours

John Stubbs, Founder and driving force behind YesColours, brings a diverse and extensive background from various design-related sectors to his role.

At the helm of this innovative, award-winning sustainable paint brand, John’s day is anything but typical, fueled by a passion for creative problem-solving and a commitment to making a positive impact on both people and the planet. TRB sits down with John to understand more about his unique approach to leadership, his vision for YesColours, and the dynamic and colourful world of sustainable design he navigates daily.

John, what’s your background?

My background is extremely broad. I tell people I’m a career project manager in the design sector as I’ve worked in so many roles whether it be product design, engineering, interior design, retail, branding, digital marketing, and the single most important thing for me thorughout my career is to bring talented and like-minded people together to bring creative design-led solutions to challenges that we might be facing day-to-day. Whether thats home, work, travel, rest or play — I’ve taken great pride in bringing designers together to solve problems and produce results that affect real positive change for people or the planet, or both. It’s what drives me forward, finding that creative spark and allowing it to grow to its full potential.

Such a fast-moving role. Are they working on anything cool or trying anything new?

The (very) short answer is yes, LOTS. When we launched 2 years ago we knew that we had to have a plan to stand out in the market as it’s very competitive, with lots of established brands with great products and some new brands launching with ecommerce-first approach with big funding behind them. Our strategy has been all along to do things slightly differently, and we’ve got quite a few things coming up in the next few months that are going to push YesColours in a new direction both in terms of product and services.

What’s a typical day look like?

There really isn’t a typical day. But I’m very much used to that and wouldn’t want it any other way. The challenge…building not only our own business but making sure that we are on-track strategically as well as in terms of making a positive mark on people’s lives is the key driver. As a paint business sometimes we forget that the paint we produce is a product that goes directly into peoples homes and stays there (hopefully) for years to come.

Colour is such a personal choice and an important one, so it’s even more important to produce and deliver a product that people can not only feel positive about, but inspired. Colour is energy. And we’re building our business all around that concept and the positive effect that it can have.

What are the key skills or knowledge areas that are essential for success in your role in e-commerce? And what are some of the main challenges?

Grit and determination, always being inquisitive and finding new ways to reach our customers. Staying on course, keeping your energy levels high and making sure that the bad days don’t weigh you down is super key, at least for me personally. I hope my optimism and belief in doing the right thing, as a brand and a business, has kept and is keeping us all (our team) motivated to keep moving forward.

Building a team and being a decent human being goes a long way too. Also, I’m so glad that we have developed a brand that has lots of flexibility to be creative – and that’s key to making us stand out, but also keeping our options open when is comes to marketing as ecommerce moves so quickly — you’re either a trend setter, or in the back seat.

What aspects of your job bring you the most satisfaction or joy? Can you share a particularly rewarding achievement or project you’ve worked on?

100% it is building the team that we have at YesColours. We’re in such a priveldged position to have some amazingly talented and dedicated people within our colourful walls, it’s the one thing that gets Emma (Co-Founder) and I emotional every time… because their belief in YesColours and our mission, is in turn a belief in us.

What do you envision as the future trends or developments in e-commerce?

Broken record alert but AI is already having a massive impact on our content, services and how we go about conceptualising things. It’s an exciting time and something that we are fully onboard with as a complementary tool in our armory to be creative. I do think however we need to treat it with caution, and not let AI do the ‘thinking’ for us, it’s a tool to be used — and it is to be used carefully, and strategically. Roles in this area will be, and already are in some circles, critical to how a brand executes its customer service and their content production. It’s going to be interesting to see how the technology moves on into moving images, even film. I think it’s fair to say the way we create content is never going to be the same again and people that aren’t afraid to experiment and learn in this area will be evermore important to ecomm businesses in the future.

Traditional retail has been such a challenging sector for so long now, but we feel like there are avenues for innovation there to engage with customers in new ways so, like my old friend Mary Portas says, the high street is definitely not dead. We need to support our high streets, and there’s ample opportunity to use retail in new creative ways to engage with customers which is also exciting.

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial. How do you decompress or relax after a demanding day?

This one is a hard one to answer as before YesColours it’s safe to say the balance wasn’t there, but I was working for someone else’s business… it’s so different now. A lot of the time YesColours doesn’t feel like work, and I’m a believer that you need to find your own work/life balance and to some that might still be 80 hours working weeks and coffee breaks, and for some it’s 40hrs. For me I find my balance when I know I’ve kept on top of my priorities and I can take some time from the day to day at the weekend and enjoy time with my loved ones. I’m able to do that most weekends thankfully, bit of a boring answer !! I’ll pick up on the hobbies and holidays when I “retire”…whatever that word means!

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